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Orff Schulwerk, Levels I, II, and III

Orff Schulwerk is a philosophy of music education, which is based on the work of German composer and music educator Carl Orff and his colleague, Gunild Keetman. During this course, students will explore music through singing, moving, playing unpitched and pitched percussion instruments and recorder, and improvising. Level I students will be introduced to basic Orff techniques, including a study of pentatonic melodies, drone accompaniment, ostinato, and elemental forms. Level II students will be introduced to hexatonic and modal melodies, drone and chord accompaniments, and changing meters. Level III students will begin with a review of the diatonic modes, followed by a study of functional harmony. 100% attendance is expected of students who participate in this certification course.

  • Dates: June 15-26
  • Times: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. weekdays
  • Noncredit Cost: $800
  • Graduate Credit Cost: Additional $1,500.00 for 3 hours of graduate credit (Paid separately to SMU)
  • Housing Cost: $850 for single; $650 for double (No meals are included. Single rooms are available on a first-come, first-served basis.)

Level I is a prerequisite for Level II. Level II is a prerequisite for Level III.

This certification course is approved by the American Orff-Schulwerk Association (AOSA) and follows the guidelines of AOSA. There will be nightly assignments as part of the course requirements. Please allow a minimum of two hours each evening to complete your assignments. In addition, 100% attendance is required to earn credit and to move on to subsequent levels of training. Absences will be considered on an individual basis. Due to the intensive nature of this program, participants are strongly encouraged to avoid scheduling additional activities during the course.

A bachelor’s degree in music or a strong background in music theory is required for this class. Participants must be able to read and write music notation in order to be successful in this course.

Orff Schulwerk Faculty: Michael Chandler, Paul Cribari, Andrew Ellingsen, Amy Fenton, Paul Hallsted, Richard Layton, Beth Melin Nelson, Jacqueline Schrader, and Meg Tietz


Michael Chandler, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Music and Coordinator of Music Education at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. Michael taught music and movement to children in Texas public schools for 16 years, mostly in Lewisville ISD, where he was named Teacher of the Year at two elementary schools. His student ensembles have performed by invitation at TMEA conventions in San Antonio in 2013, 2007, and 2005. Michael has served as president of the North Texas Chapter of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association (AOSA), as a Regional Representative on the AOSA National Board of Trustees, chaired the AOSA Research Interest Group, the AOSA History Committee, the AOSA Apprentice Application Review Panel, and has also served on AOSA’s International Outreach Committee. Michael has presented workshops and sessions in 38 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Australia. In addition to teaching Orff levels at SMU, he teaches in the Orff certification program at the University of Memphis and in the San Francisco International Orff Course. Michael earned the Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of North Texas. 

Paul Cribari, D.M.A. is an Orff Schulwerk teacher in the Cherry Creek School District in Colorado. There, he is the Coordinator for Performing Arts, K-12. Paul received his MA with a concentration in Orff Schulwerk from the University of St. Thomas, and his doctorate in Music Education from Boston University. In addition to his work with children Paul teaches levels I, II, and III of Orff Schulwerk at SMU, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and the San Francisco International Orff Schulwerk Course. Paul is a regular clinician for local chapters of AOSA and has presented sessions at state and local conferences, as well as numerous national conferences of AOSA. Internationally, he has taught in Italy and Hong Kong. Paul, along with co-author Richard Layton, recently published THE ELEMENTAL STYLE: A Handbook for Composers and Arrangers, Part I.

Andrew Ellingsen teaches elementary music and works as an instructional coach in Decorah, IA.  He earned his B.A. at Luther College and his M.A.M.E. at the University of St. Thomas with a dual concentration in Kodály and Orff Schulwerk.  He has served on the OAKE national board, a committee for AOSA, and has held leadership positions in state and regional organizations for both Orff Schulwerk and Kodály.  Ellingsen also teaches in the Orff Course at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, has taught movement at the University of Memphis, and has presented at both OAKE and AOSA national conferences.

Amy Fenton is a music and movement teacher for children in grades 1-5 in Haslett, Michigan. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance (with a minor in Flute) and Post-Baccalaureate Certification in Music Education from The University of Arizona. She also holds a Master of Education degree in Educational Leadership from Grand Valley State University. Amy was named the 2019 Michigan Music Educator of the Year. She has presented sessions at AOSA Professional Development Conferences and workshops at the local, state and national levels. Amy has taught recorder pedagogy for AOSA Teacher Education courses in Texas, Michigan and Connecticut. She has served as President of the Mid-Michigan Chapter of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association (AOSA), as well as Treasurer and Regional Representative on AOSA National Board of Trustees.

Paul Hallsted is currently teaching music at Alma d’Arte High School in Las Cruces, NM. He has been a music educator for 30 years.  During this time, he has had experience teaching all levels of students, which include pre-school, elementary school, middle school, high school, and college. He was inducted into the New Mexico Music Educators Hall of Fame in 2009 and received the New Mexico General Music Teacher of the Year Award in 1996. Paul is a member of the Rio Grande Early Music Consort where he plays recorder. He has served as president of the New Mexico Chapter of American Orff-Schulwerk Association (AOSA) and as a Regional Representative for AOSA. In addition to being a faculty member for many Orff Schulwerk Teacher Education Courses, Paul has presented numerous workshops at local, state, and national levels.

Richard Layton, Ph.D. is the Upper School Performing Arts Chair at The Key School in Annapolis, MD.  In addition to the SMU Course and his work with grades 8-12 students at Key, Rick has been on the faculty at the University of Maryland teaching music theory since 1992.  For the past three decades, Rick has been an active clinician and presenter for MENC state conferences and for the American Orff Schulwerk Association's chapter workshops and yearly National Conferences. Rick’s international teaching includes Taiwan, Australia, Canada, Dubai, and twice at the Orff Institute in Salzburg, Austria. Rick, along with co-author Paul Cribari, recently published THE ELEMENTAL STYLE: A Handbook for Composers and Arrangers, Part I.

Beth Melin Nelson teaches K-5 music and movement at Saint Paul Academy and Summit School in St. Paul, MN. She received a master’s degree with a concentration in Orff Schulwerk from the University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul, MN, where she currently serves as an adjunct faculty member for the Graduate Program in Music Education. In addition to teaching movement in the Orff Schulwerk course at SMU, Beth has taught at MSU in Denver, and is the Director of the Orff Schulwerk Teacher Education Program at the University of St. Thomas, where she teaches Level II. She has presented and performed at national AOSA conferences, state MEA’s, and is a frequent clinician for chapter workshops across the country. Beth’s international teaching includes work in Canada, China, Germany, South Korea, and the Orff Institute in Salzburg, Austria. She is currently serving as Region III Representative on the AOSA National Board of Trustees.

Jacque Schrader has experience teaching music and movement to children grades 1-7 at the Key School in Annapolis, MD. In addition to teaching Level II at SMU, Jacque was the movement instructor at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN for 27 years. She spent a semester studying at the Orff Institute, where she was later invited to be a guest lecturer. Jacque has presented internationally in Dubai, Taiwan, Slovakia, Poland, Germany and China. She is an active clinician, having led workshops at a dozen AOSA Conferences, TMEA, and local workshops in 35 states. In 2012, Jacque co-led the Teacher Education Master class for movement teachers at the AOSA Professional Development Conference. In 2016, Jacque’s students were the featured performing group at the AOSA Professional Development Conference in Atlantic City. She served on the AOSA Board of trustees as regional representative for five years. She has chaired the AOSA Apprentice Application Review Panel and is currently serving on the Movement Teacher Educator Apprentice Panel.  


Meg Tietz teaches music and movement to children in kindergarten through 5th grade at Raven Stream Elementary in New Prague, MN. She completed her master’s degree, with a concentration in Orff Schulwerk, at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. Meg currently serves as a Region III Representative on the AOSA National Board of Trustees.  She is a frequent presenter for local Orff chapter workshops and the national AOSA conference. Meg teaches Orff Schulwerk Levels at Southern Methodist University, Metro State University in Denver, and the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.

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