This course introduces and demonstrates the Orff Schulwerk model that integrates music, movement/dance and speech within the context of a 21st century educational framework. From an overview of the historical context, to the elaboration of the process of guided play, imitation, exploration, improvisation, composition and literacy, to composing for and facilitating creativity in Orff ensembles, this course guides participants through protocols for collaborative and inclusive learning, planning, developing and implementing an Orff Schulwerk-focused curriculum.

Topics include Teaching for Understanding, UbD (Understanding by Design) and UDL (Universal Design for Learning) contexts; researching and collecting grade appropriate material; developing rubrics for formative and summative assessments incorporating the National Core Arts standards; developing student self-assessments and exit tickets; strategies for providing feedback; creating and maintaining digital portfolios; and incorporating technology effectively without compromising active music making, which is the core of the Schulwerk.

During this course students will:

  • Review the history of Orff Schulwerk

  • Analyze the Orff Schulwerk process of integrating music, movement and speech in the context of 21st century curricular frameworks of UbD/Backwards Design and UDL/Universal Design for Learning

  • Review texts by Jane Frazee and Arvida Steen and customize a curricular outline of musical concepts of time, rhythm and meter, melody, accompaniment, texture, form, timbre and expression through developing the following skills: speech, performing body percussion, playing un-pitched percussion instruments, singing, playing pitched instruments, playing recorder, movement

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the basic pedagogical principles of Orff Schulwerk

  • Demonstrate elements of time (pulse, meter and rhythm pattern) in movement

  • Model the process to teach a rhythmic speech piece with ostinato accompaniment

  • Use body percussion to prepare instrumental parts

  • Model an effective sequence to teach a bordun/drone accompaniment

  • Model leading question/answer form using improvisation

  • Describe the teaching process to improvise and create complementary ostinati

  • Compose and create arrangements in elemental style for an Orff ensemble using various borduns, rhythmic and melodic ostinati, color part etc.

  • Analyze pedagogical process and teaching strategies that address a variety of learning styles, contexts and student needs

  • Create standard based assessments and student self-evaluation rubrics for an Orff-based program


Instructor: Manju Durairaj

Durairaj,_Manju_headshot_2012Manju Durairaj (MMEd ‘03) was born and raised in India. She studied in London, England, and was involved in graduate research projects on comparative pedagogical practices of Indian (carnatic) and Western Music. Durairaj is certified in Orff Schulwerk, having completed her levels training at VanderCook, George Mason University, University of St. Thomas, and at the Orff Institute in Salzburg, Austria. She currently teaches preK-5 general music at the Latin School of Chicago. She is president of the Greater Chicago Orff Chapter, has presented at ISME, AOSA, OAKE, ILMEA, ECMMA, MKMEA and NAfME (formerly MENC), and has been published in the Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education.



VanderCook Online is powered by Schoology ( Through this learning management system, you'll be able to interact directly with your instructor, students in your classes, and members of the greater VanderCook Online community.

The summer online term officially begins on Monday, June 10. The week prior to June 10, you'll be added as a new Schoology user. Be on the lookout for an email from or with log-in instructions. Once you are given credentials, simply visit to login. On the morning of June 10, you'll have access to your classroom and course material.

Some courses have specific online chat meeting times (please see course descriptions), while others have a flexible meeting schedule. You can expect all courses to meet together in a live online chat. If a live meeting time doesn’t work, you can work with your instructor to make other arrangements.

You’ll have the opportunity to work at your own pace each week while completing assignments and posting responses to discussion questions. You’ll constantly be interacting with your instructor and classmates online, and working through new material each week. We know how crazy summer schedules can get, so our instructors try to make everything as flexible as possible!

VanderCook College of Music - (312) 225-6288