Orff Schulwerk, Levels I, II, and III

Orff Schulwerk*+

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 20-July 1
  • Times: 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM weekdays
  • Noncredit Cost: $800
  • Graduate Credit Cost: Additional $1,500.00 for 3 hours of graduate credit (Paid separately to SMU)
  • Housing Cost: There is no on-campus housing available for Orff Schulwerk this summer. For a listing of local Dallas hotels near the SMU campus and out-of-state discounts, go to http://www.campustravel.com/university/smu/visit_smu.html
  • Required Materials: A list of materials will be sent to you prior to the workshop through a link to West Music Company.

Register Here

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

+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.

Orff Schulwerk Faculty: Michael Chandler, Paul Cribari, Amy Fenton, Paul Hallsted, Richard Layton, Jacqueline Schrader, Meg Tietz, Ben Torres, and Michael Vasquez


Michael Chandler, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Music and Coordinator of Music Education at Austin Peay State University. Dr. Chandler taught elementary general music to children in Texas public schools for 16 years, most of them in the Lewisville Independent School District, where he was named Teacher of the Year at two campuses. In 2013, 2007, and 2005 his student ensembles performed by invitation at the annual TMEA Convention in San Antonio. Dr. Chandler has presented conference sessions and workshops in 38 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Australia, including for numerous state MEA organizations. He is an AOSA-approved Orff Schulwerk teacher educator in all three levels of Orff Schulwerk basic and recorder and teaches courses at Southern Methodist University, the University of Memphis, and the San Francisco International Orff Course. He is a past-president of the North Texas Chapter of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association (AOSA) and served as a Regional Representative on the AOSA National Board of Trustees. Dr. Chandler was a collaborative pianist for the Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas (CCGD) for 10 years and the organist and pianist at Round Grove United Church (UCC) in Lewisville, TX for 17 years. He is the author of Everyday Recorder, Recorder Everyday!, an Orff Schulwerk approach to integrating recorder into the general music classroom. His publications have also been featured in Update: Applications of Research in Music Education, The Orff Echo, and The Southwestern Musician. Dr. Chandler earned the Bachelor of Music degree in music education from Union University in Jackson, Tennessee; the Master of Music degree in piano performance from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville; the Master of Arts degree in music education from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota; and the Doctor of Philosophy degree 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 World Music, Visual Arts, and Performing Arts, K-12. Dr. Cribari 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.

Amy Fenton teaches music and movement to children in kindergarten through 4th grade at Holbrook Elementary in Grand Ledge, Michigan. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance (with a minor in Flute) and 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 2018 Michigan Music Educator of the Year and awarded 2019 Michigan Arts Educator of the Year.  She has presented sessions at AOSA Professional Development Conferences and workshops at the local, state and national levels. Amy has been a recorder pedagogy teacher for AOSA Teacher Education courses in Texas, Michigan and Connecticut. She has served as President of the Mid-Michigan Orff Schulwerk Association.  Amy is a past member of the AOSA National Board of Trustees, having served as a Regional Representative and two terms as Treasurer. Amy has chaired the AOSA Fund Development Committee and the AOSA Post Level III Committee. 

Paul Hallsted is currently teaching choir and guitar at Alma d’Arte Charter High School in Las Cruces, NM. He has been a music educator for over 30 years, teaching all levels of students, which include pre-school, elementary school, middle school, high school, and university.  Paul received his bachelor and master degrees from New Mexico State University. He teaches recorder in AOSA-approved summer teacher education courses at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Metropolitan State University in Denver and University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

Richard Layton, Ph.D. teaches Music Theory at the University of Maryland where he has been on the faculty since 1992. In addition to teaching Orff Schulwerk Levels courses at Southern Methodist University (first located at University of North Texas) since 1987, Dr. Layton has also taught Levels courses at George Mason University, The San Francisco International Orff Course, and West Chester University. Dr. Layton has been on the faculty at The Key School since 1979. In addition to teaching Orff Schulwerk classes to 8th grade students, his course offerings include Music Theory and Chamber Choir in the upper school. Additionally, Dr. Layton served as Key School’s Performing Arts Department Chair from 1990-2020. For the last 35 years Dr. Layton has been an active clinician and presenter for NAfME national, regional, and state conferences and for the American Orff Schulwerk Association’s chapter workshops and annual national conferences. Dr. Layton’s international teaching includes Taiwan, Austria, Dubai, extensively in Canada, and twice at the Orff Institute in Salzburg, Austria.Awards and honors include West Chester University  - Distinguished Music Alumnus Award, and Lecturer in The University of Maryland's Music Theory and Composition Forum (Title:  Schumann's Dichterliebe, Large-Scale Tonal Connections In Songs One Through Four). Dr. Layton is currently Arranger-in-Residence for the contemporary choir at Holy Family Catholic Church in Davidsonville, MD.

Jacque Schrader teaches music and movement to students in grades PK-4 at The Key School in Annapolis, MD.  Her students were the featured performers at the AOSA national conference in Atlantic City. Jacque currently teaches Level II Basic at Southern Methodist University and was the Movement teacher for Levels I-III for 25 years at the University of St. Thomas. Previous to being a guest lecturer at the Orff Institute in Salzburg (2010), Jacque was a student in the Institute’s year-long special course.  She continues to be in demand both nationally and internationally, having taught children and teachers in Taiwan, China, Poland, Austria, Dubai and Slovakia.  Her canon “The Night is Over” was recently recorded by the women’s singing group Libana. Jacque served on the AOSA Board of Trustees for 4 years and currently serves on an off-board committee.

 Meg Tietz teaches K-5 movement and music at Saint Paul Academy in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Meg completed her Master of Arts Degree with a concentration in Orff Schulwerk at the University of St. Thomas.  She is an active presenter for local and national workshops and conferences and teaches summer Orff Levels at Southern Methodist University, Metro State University, and the University of St. Thomas, where she is also the course director.  Meg has served the American Orff Schulwerk Association as a member of various subcommittees and also as a Trustee on the National Board.

Ben Torres teaches K–5 general music at Woodlawn Elementary in the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System, where he was named teacher of the year for the 2020-2021 school year. Prior to this, he taught K¬–6 general music at Brentfield Elementary in Dallas, TX where he was chosen as teacher of the year and where both his choral and Orff ensembles were selected to perform at Texas MEA conventions and the national AOSA Professional Development Conferences. Ben received his bachelor’s degree in music education from West Texas A&M University in Canyon, TX and his Orff training and master’s degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He is a certified AOSA-approved teacher educator in movement and recorder and teaches all three levels of movement in the Orff Schulwerk teacher education courses at Trinity University in San Antonio, VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, and SMU in Dallas. Ben presents workshops for Orff chapters and school districts across the country.

Michael Vasquez teaches at Charles L. Kuentz Jr. Elementary in Northside Independent School District and presents across the country on Orff-Schulwerk process and pedagogy. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio where he received his BA in EC-12 Music Studies and his MM in Music Education. Mr. Vasquez has been an invited clinician at the Texas Music Educators Association, Indiana Music Educators Association, and the Ohio Music Educators Association. Vasquez is also trained in Dalcroze Eurhythmics and teaches movement and recorder at various Orff-Schulwerk levels courses.

For further information about SMU Music Educators Workshops, or to register for one of these classes, visit admission.smu.edu/portal/musicworkshops; or contact Directors Julie Scott, Lisa Beyer, and Courtney Wilson at muedworkshops@smu.edu.