Karl Orff: A Musical Humanist

Dr. Daniel C. Johnson
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Composer and educator Karl Orff (1985 – 1980) originated Orff-Schulwerk, an approach to music education that has a transformative and humanizing effect on students. In this presentation, the connections between Orff-Schulwerk and humanism will be explored. Social factors associated with music have a fundamental importance in making and finding meaning in musical experiences. Humanism supports the importance of social factors in music education because there is no absolute determinism in matters of human behavior; people freely choose the behaviors that are the most rewarding and personally satisfying. The goal of education is to help each person reach his or her own potential; in other words, all people have the natural potential to learn for themselves. Since its inception in 1949, Orff-Schulwerk has provided active and experiential models in music education while emphasizing the elements of music such as rhythm, melody, and form. Orff-Schluwerk strives to encourage joyous music-making through imitation, exploration, improvisation and creation of music. Evidence of the Schulwerk's success includes its use in countries worldwide as well as extensions in other musical idioms. As an alternative to authoritative and prescribed approaches to music education, Orff-Schulwerk provides for teacher-directed yet mutually collaborative interactions between the instructor and the students, based on freedom of ideas and celebrating creative expressions. The Orff-Schulwerk process highlights the need for cooperation and mutual respect as well as leadership and creative problem solving. By understanding Orff-Schulwerk in terms of humanism, researchers may better comprehend and value its humanizing influence on students. By including benefits to students beyond musical growth, educators may expand the possibilities for music and music education in the lives of their students.

Keywords: Music, Education, Humanism
Stream: Aesthetics, Design, Language, Linguistics, Teaching and Learning
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Carl Orff: Musical Humanist

Dr. Daniel C. Johnson

Assistant Professor and Assistant Chair, Department of Music, University of North Carolina, Wilmington

Daniel C. Johnson, Ph.D., is the Assistant Department Chair and an Assistant Professor of Music at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington. A graduate of the University of Arizona, the New England of Music, the St. Louis Conservatory of Music, and Emory University, Dr Johnson has researched music cognition, critical thinking, music listening, and educational psychology. He is a certified Orff-Schulwerk instructor and a multi-instrumentalist with over fifteen years of teaching experience. Dr Johnson has presented his research at state, regional, national, and international conferences hosted by: the Music Educators National Conference, the International Society for Music Education, the College Music Society, the American Orff-Schulwerk Association, the National Collegiate Honors Council, and numerous state music education associations. He has published articles in: The Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education, Contributions to Music Education, The International Journal of the Humanities, The International Tuba and Euphonium Association Journal, The Kindermusik Educators Journal, The Australian Band and Orchestra Directors Association Journal, The Queensland Kodály News, and on-line at Musicstaff.com.

Ref: H05P0842