Summer Orff at Eastman: Last Call!

May 2, 2019

Orff Schulwerk at Eastman, Year 1 (1992): The inaugural Level I class, with Jim Solomon and Mary Helen Solomon at back right. (Levels II and III were added in later years after students completed Level I.) Photo by Donna Brink Fox.


By Andrea Schuler, Summer@Eastman Program Coordinator

For more than 25 years, teachers have participated in Orff Schulwerk teacher education courses at the Eastman School of Music. The courses have been taught by the same team of instructors every year. We’re sad that Eastman’s Orff program will be ending after Summer 2019, but happy that students will have one last opportunity to learn from our Orff dream team. We hope you will join us in July as we celebrate the “end of an era” with these Orff specialists!

Instructor Mary Helen Solomon sends this preview of this year’s classes:

The Eastman Orff Schulwerk Teacher Education Courses

Levels I and III

July 15-26, 2019

 With music and movement sessions guided by Orff experts:

Jim Solomon, Mary Helen Solomon, Karen Medley and Janet Robbins

Course Director: Dr. Donna Brink Fox



The Orff Level I Basic sessions, guided by Jim, will introduce new and veteran teachers to the Orff process, which integrates music, movement and speech in creative ways that engage young and old learners alike. Rhythmic work, pentatonic melodies, pentatonic accompaniment forms, and creative processing are the primary focus of this level.

Karen will lead the Level I students in movement and recorder classes, demonstrating how to create lessons for children using these elements. Karen will also teach the Level III recorder classes. Get ready for full recorder SATB ensembles!

The Level III Basic class, led by Mary Helen, will cover the rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic elements traditionally included in the original Orff literature and pedagogy. Students will work with pentatonics, modes, and traditional diatonic music with emphasis on functional harmony. The creative-intuitive process and pedagogy will be highlighted as well.    

Janet will guide the Level III movement class in experiencing more advanced concepts and reviewing the overall curriculum that includes improvisation, creative-intuitive movement, choreography, and folk/traditional dance.

Our “tutti” hours, where both levels come together for practice and inspiration, are devoted to drum work, choral styles using the Orff approach, story-telling, world music and dance, and more. 



For more information on this summer’s Orff classes, visit the course webpage or contact the Summer@Eastman office at Registration is open until May 15, 2019.


Beginning in 2020, the summer Orff program will move to Nazareth College of Rochester. More details about dates, faculty, and registration will be announced this fall.


Year 25 (2016): Celebrating 25 years of Orff at Eastman! Students, all four instructors, and Dr. Fox. Photo by Amanda Sharpe.