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Where the most Inspired Musicians
become the most Inspiring Music Teachers

Designed for Your Needs

Continuing Education

Music Education Center of America

Orff Schulwerk Levels 2024

AOSA-Approved Courses

Spend two weeks at VanderCook College of Music, in the beautiful city of Chicago, learning the fundamental principles of the Orff Approach. This child-centered way of learning music will encourage your students to enjoy music-making while enhancing their awareness of space, time, form, line, color, design and mood. Both individually and in groups, children must learn important concepts by doing hands-on activities that allow them to explore and create.

The Orff levels meet Monday through Friday, July 8-12 and Monday through Friday, July 15-19, classes are from 8 am-4 pm.

Housing is available through Illinois Institute of Technology. Learn more here: Housing Information

Tuition & Credits

The tuition cost of $1,520 includes all books and recorders (a $70 value), and students will earn 4 semester hours of graduate credit, which equates to 60 Professional Development hours.

Meet our Instructors

Picture of Ben Torres - Orff Schulwerk Levels Coordinator , Orff Schulwerk Levels: Movement Instructor

Ben Torres - Orff Schulwerk Levels Coordinator , Orff Schulwerk Levels: Movement Instructor

Ben Torres is in his 12th year in the Richardson (TX) school district and his fourth year as the K-6 music specialist at Brentfield Elementary in Dallas, where he also directs the Brentfield Singers, the Rhythm Cats Orff Ensemble and serves as the JJ Pearce Area Team Leader. Prior to this, he was the K-6 music specialist at Richland Elementary, where he also directed a choir and an Orff ensemble, the latter of which was selected to perform at the 2011 TMEA Convention. Torres received his bachelor’s degree in music education from West Texas A&M University in Canyon. He teaches movement in the Orff Schulwerk training course at Trinity University in San Antonio, movement and recorder in the Orff Schulwerk course at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, and other courses across the country. He is currently the president of the North Texas Chapter of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association.

Picture of Christine Ballenger- Orff Schulwerk Level I Pedagogy

Christine Ballenger- Orff Schulwerk Level I Pedagogy

Christine Ballenger currently teaches general music (PK-4) in Spring, Texas, north of Houston. She holds degrees in music education from the University of New Mexico (M.M.) and the University of Puget Sound (B.M.). Christine teaches Level I movement and recorder for the Gwinnett County Orff Course outside of Atlanta, and Basic Pedagogy for summer courses at VanderCook and UNC-Wilmington. Since 2017, Christine has served as a member of the editorial board of The Orff Echo. She has presented at AOSA National Professional Development Conferences, as well as for a variety of AOSA chapters across the country. Christine has also had training in Kodaly and World Music Drumming, and completed the “International Summer Course” in 2018 at the Orff Institute, in Salzburg, Austria.

Picture of Drue Bullington - Orff Schulwerk Level II Instructor

Drue Bullington - Orff Schulwerk Level II Instructor

Drue Bullington teaches elemental music and movement at Brownstown Elementary School in Conestoga Valley School District in Lancaster, PA. Bullington is twice a graduate of West Chester University of Pennsylvania where he received a B.S. in Music Education and a M.M. in Music Education with a certification in Orff Schulwerk. Drue holds a second master’s degree from Wilkes University in Online Teaching and Learning with an Online Educator’s Certificate of Endorsement from the State of Pennsylvania.

Drue teaches in several Orff Schulwerk Levels Certification programs around the U.S.and offers numerous professional development and workshop sessions on elemental music and movement through the Orff Schulwerk Approach, elemental music and movement applications in the classroom, incorporating technology, and integrating the soprano ukulele into the K-12 music classroom. Drue serves as President of the Board of Directors of the American Center for Elemental Music and Movement. He is also an editor on the American Orff Schulwerk Association’s Reverberations Publication Committee. Drue and lives in Lititz, PA. He enjoys an active life filled with traveling, culinary adventures, and volunteering in his community.

Picture of David Thaxton - Orff Schulwerk Level III Instructor

David Thaxton - Orff Schulwerk Level III Instructor

David Thaxton is from Sparks, Nevada where he is currently in his 26th year teaching Elementary music to pre-K through 6th grade. He studied under Elizabeth Gilpatrick, and Judith Cole at Colorado State University, UNC Greeley and the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he received all three levels of Orff Certification, as well completing an apprenticeship with Kay Lehto at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. David has presented workshops and clinics at local, state and national levels and presents to Orff chapters throughout the country. As an AOSA certified teacher trainer for Level I, II and III pedagogy and Level I and II recorder, David teaches Summer Courses for the University of Nevada, Reno, the San Diego Summer Orff Course, and is now very excited to join the team at VanderCook School of music for Level III in 2021. He has served as President of the Sierra Nevada Chapter of AOSA, as well as on the editorial boards of The Echo and Reverberations journals of AOSA. He is currently the Treasurer for the American Center for Elemental Music and Movement, and has been the Lead clinician for the Four Corners Young Musicians Camp from 2015-19. David has recently published his new book “Making Tracks: Recorder Explorations, Creations and Improvisations” through Sweet Pipes.

Picture of  Rachel Aupperle - Orff Schulwerk Levels Recorder Instructor

Rachel Aupperle - Orff Schulwerk Levels Recorder Instructor

Rachel Aupperle teaches K-12 general music, and choir at Ridgeview CUSD #19, in Central Illinois. Rachel holds a bachelor of music, master’s in music education, and certification in all three levels of Orff Schulwerk training. She is a Level I, II, and III movement and recorder instructor and has received training in Feierabend FAME Curriculum Certification: Conversational Solfege I and First Steps of Music.

Rachel currently serves as President of the Heart of Illinois Orff Chapter and President of the Elementary General Music Division for the Illinois Music Education Association. She is an active presenter and guest clinician who has presented at local, state, and national conferences. Mrs. Aupperle strives to share her love of music education with all teachers by providing a welcome, and safe learning environment for all.

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3140 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616-3731
(312) 225-6288

The mission of VanderCook College of Music is to enrich the lives of present and future generations by developing uniquely skilled music teachers who exhibit strong character, professionalism, and a commitment to excellence.

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