Hey you music teachers out there! Want an amazing pedagogical practice that will transform your teaching, make kids happy, feed your own artistic and spiritual life and keep you fresh and excited about teaching after 40 years of non-stop classes? Of course you do! Who wouldn’t?
But there is a price. You have to work your tail off every day of your teaching life, constantly hit the walls of your limitations and be expected to keep trying to climb over them, write apology letters to all your former students for your less-than-stellar teaching. Once you get through the door, it’s a great show. But you better be prepared to pay the price of admission. And you don’t get to sit in the center orchestra seats and watch it. You’re at once the director, the conductor, the theater tech crew, the stage set-up and clean-up crew (non-Union wages) and often the composer, arranger, screenwriter, producer as well. It ain’t easy. But it sure is rewarding! And when everything is clicking— ie, happy, engaged children— there’s few things finer or more fun.
So went my talk with a music supervisor thinking about who to send to the summer Orff training. As much as I want the world to see the beauty and wisdom of the Orff approach to music, movement, education and life in general, I recognize that it’s not for everyone. You have to have a certain predisposition to this way of working and thinking and a hearty appetite for improvisation mixed with precision.Though I base my life on the belief that all people are capable of such high-level development of mind, body, heart and spirit, I’ve lived long enough to know that many will decline the journey. And many more will find other journeys that fit their style better. And so Orff never will be a mass movement and that’s just fine with me. But for those who are intrigued, the door is always open and my hand happily waves you in.
Just be prepared to pay the price of admission!