Music and Movement
Once a week, preschool children enjoy music and movement classes with a CAIS specialist teacher. Through singing, dancing, and playing small percussion, they use their imaginations and interact with their classmates while learning the elements of music and dance.
Kindergarten to Third Grade
In Kindergarten through third grade, we teach music and movement based on an approach to music education known as Orff Schulwerk. As described by composer Carl Orff, the creator of the approach, Orff Schulwerk offers “A music exclusively for children that could be played, sung and danced by them, but that could also in a similar way be invented by them—a world of their own.” A music exclusively for children—”a world of their own”—means that this approach recognizes the child’s need to move, touch, explore, experiment, discover and make connections in a playful, risk-encouraging atmosphere. Playing, singing and dancing ensures multiple approaches to training the musical intelligence and honors the diverse needs of the students.
Music and movement classes at CAIS provide an active, hands-on approach to understanding, practicing and creating music and movement. Using the Orff Schulwerk approach, students sing, learn folk dances, explore with movement and play pitched and unpitched percussion instruments. Our classes emphasize working together as a group as students grow to understand the elements of music and movement, and apply their understanding through creative expression.
As the students progress through the grades they explore the music and dance of many world cultures. We teach using authentic percussion instruments from those cultures; which include China, Ghana, Indonesia and others. Traditional and historical songs, dances and instrumental pieces are taught and performed.
Fourth through Eighth Grade Dance & Movement
Students experience a dance/creative movement program that is child-centered and developmentally appropriate. Through embodied experience they develop their tool (the body) for self expression. Understanding dance elements, improvisation, and compositional tools and structures students communicate what is meaningful to them (in themselves and in the world).
Students come to value dance and creative movement as an important subject to be learned and find value in this form of expression.
The program is enhanced by live performance, guest dance workshops, exploration of dance in the San Francisco bay area and other parts of the world. Over time students gain both an experience and deep understanding of the social, cultural, and spiritual role that dance plays in their lives and in the world.
The purpose of Orff Schulwerk is to awaken the artistic potential in every individual and offer a context in which this can be exercised. The Orff Schulwerk approach as a model for learning involves a much broader spectrum of artistic activity than is traditionally included in music. It is “never music alone but forms a unity with movement, dance and speech”(Carl Orff). It is not intended to develop highly accomplished performers. The emphasis is on process rather than performance; on participation by all, each at his or her own level; on the cultivation of skills for creating and developing ideas within music and dance rather than reproducing set forms. Learning results from the mutually stimulating interaction of instructor and students, the freedom and opportunity to take risks, and the accomplishment of creative tasks appropriate to each stage of development.
Active music making is the core of this philosophy, supporting both the conceptual and affective development of children. Active learners develop more thorough and better long-term understanding of the material and ideas involved. Children who regularly improvise and create their own dances and musical settings are uniquely prepared to solve problems in many other contexts.
Orff Schulwerk is a group model, requiring the cooperative interaction of everyone involved, including the instructor. It is important that artistic development occurs within a satisfying and supportive human environment. Tolerance, helpfulness, patience, and other cooperative attitudes must be cultivated consciously. The ensemble setting requires sensitivity to the total group and awareness of the role of each individual within it. Problem solving, improvisation, and the group composing process provide opportunities for developing leadership.
The critical thinking and problem solving tasks involved in Orff Schulwerk call upon both linear and intuitive intellectual capacities. The carrying out of creative ideas calls upon organizational abilities as well as artistic knowledge and skill.
(M. Shamrock/S. Kennedy)