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What is Orff Schulwerk?

Orff Schulwerk is a dynamic and holistic approach to both teaching and learning music.

It was developed by Carl Orff  (1895 – 1982) and his colleague, Gunild Keetman (1904 – 1990), in the 1950’s and is based on a structured, sequential and organic development of knowledge and skills, in line with a child’s natural abilities and development.

It involves speech, singing, body percussion, movement, dance, and the playing of melodic and non-melodic instruments.


Through these engaging, creative  and active experiences, the musical parameters of rhythm, pitch, form, harmony, beat, metre and timbre are uncovered and explored. It can be used with participants of all ages and abilities, including senior citizens and special needs children and adults, and with people from all countries and cultures.

It is an approach based on sound pedagogical principles and lays a solid foundation for a comprehensive musical training.


The Orff Schulwerk activities also reinforce skills in the areas of language and vocal development, rhythmic awareness, coordination and social interaction – and they increase children’s awareness of their own cultural inheritance and their openness to other cultures and forms of expression.

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