Essential Learning in Music…Clarifying the Curriculum: Joe Berarducci Workshop – by Lori Jane Froese

Having grown up as a music teacher with Joe Berarducci’s resources and inspiration, I was excited to be able to be a part of this BC Orff workshop. Even after teaching music for so many years, I still came away with exciting new ideas and song material to bring to my music classes the following week. For me, however, the most meaningful part was being able to share my love of these workshops and of the Orff philosophy in general with my daughter, Ellie, who is now a first-year music teacher, joining me in the life-long journey of inspiring children through music and movement. Joe’s workshop began with getting an entire gym filled with teachers to stand up, make a circle, and learn an entire body percussion piece. Many of us struggled at first but Joe would not give up on us and would not let us move on until we nailed the sequence. Then in beautiful Orff style, Joe integrated an arrangement of Mama Don’t ‘Low with the body percussion piece to create a funky, fun and challenging piece. I’ve tucked away this gem of a piece to explore with my Grade 6 students in the spring. Ellie was particularly thrilled to be given a seasonally timely piece that she used the week after the workshop. Joe shared a song that he co-wrote called Scarecrow. This simple little song in D minor evokes all the mystery of the season and her students loved playing and singing it. The B section included a game of disappearing scarecrows. Joe played a drum and instructed us to step only when the drum played. He started out playing 8 beats, then 7 beats with a rest, then 6 beats with 2 rests, etc. When we were comfortable with that, we had to inner-hear those drum beats and move accordingly. It was a hit with Ellie’s grade 3 students! Before jumping in to a jazzy rendition of Green Sally Up, Joe graciously shared his own format of essential music learning. With changes to the BC Curriculum, some teachers have felt unsure of specifics to teach at each grade level and Joe’s scope and sequence may help clarify some of these areas. He shared, with his many years of experience, what he teaches in each grade level using structure (rhythm, melody, form and texture) , thoughts, images and feelings and context as the format. I am so grateful not only to have been a part of this energizing day but also to Joe for his life long work inspiring students and teachers through Orff Schulwerk. Thank you Joe! Lori Jane Froese is currently teaching as a music specialist in the beautiful city of Kamloops. Certification in Kodaly as well as Orff has given Lori Jane a broad base of musical experiences and education to drawn upon in the music classroom.  She eagerly seeks out professional learning opportunities and rarely misses the amazing BC Orff chapter workshops. Her latest adventure in professional development led her to Ghana to study African drumming and dance with Kofi Gbolonyo. Her passion to inspire students through the love of music has led her over the years to work with children’s choirs, as a music specialist, as District Arts Coordinator, as music advocate and enthusiast and as a performer.