Carl Orff's philosophies in Musci Education
While Carl Orff is a very seminal composer of the 20th century, his greatest
success and influence has been in the field of Music Education.
Born on July
10th in Munich, Germany in 1895, Orff refused to speak about his past almost
as if he were ashamed of it.
What we do know, however, is that Orff came
from a Bavarian family who was very active in the German military.
father's regiment band would often play through some of the young Orff's
first attempts at composing.
Although Orff was adamant about the secrecy of
his past, Moser's Musik Lexicon says that he studied in the Munich Academy of
Music until 1914.
Orff then served in the military in the first world war.
After the war, he held various positions in the Mannheim and Darmstadt opera
houses then returned home to Munich to further study music.
In 1925, and for
the rest of his life, Orff was the head of a department and co-founder of the
Guenther School for gymnastics, music, and dance in Munich where he worked
with musical beginners.
This is where he developed his Music Education
In 1937, Orff's Carmina Burana premiered in Frankfurt, Germany.
Needless to say, it was a great success.
With the success of Carmina Burana,
Orff orphaned all of his previous works except for Catulli Carmina and the En
trata which were rewritten to be acceptable by Orff.
One of Orff's most admired composers was Monteverdi.
Orff's work was based on ancient material.
I am often asked why I nearly always select old material, fairy tales and
legends for my stage works.
I do not look upon them as old, but rather as
The time element disappears, and only the spiritual power
My entire interest is in the expression of spiritual realities.
write for the theater in order to convey a spiritual attitude.1
What Orff is trying to say here is that he does not use "old" material, but
material that is good enough to be used again.
If one eliminates the fact
that this material was written many years ago, then there is nothing to stop
that material from being any less legitimate in recent times.
Orff's work in Music Education has been astounding.
In the early 1920's,
Orff worked with Mary Wigman.
Wigman was a pupil of Emile Jaques-Dalcroze,
another very influential name in Music Education.
In fact, Orff's approach
to music is very similar to Dalcroze's, but Orff focuses on education through