Session Descriptions

Dr Michael Chandler

Back to the Basics: Using Keetman’s Elementaria

Gunild Keetman's 'Elementaria' (1974) serves as a "fundamental, practical handbook for Orff-Schulwerk." Participants in this session will engage in a variety of meaningful elemental music and movement learning activities suitable for children in the primary to intermediate grades (K–6). The activities—found within the pages of this primary source of the Schulwerk—will introduce and reinforce the most fundamental elements of music: rhythm, melody, texture, expressive elements, and form. Session activities will demonstrate techniques for including improvisation, composition, understanding basic concepts of orchestration, and combining creative movement with music. The session will focus on a return to the basic tenets of the Schulwerk while also serving as an introduction to teachers of any experience level who are new to elemental music and movement pedagogy.

Peta Harper

Crack the Code

This session is all about being a secret agent.  In their training participants will learn how to move, crack musical codes made up of 5 and 3, and create their own.

All-Out Session & Main Session details coming soon!

Christoph Maubach

Orff Pastiche: Music, movement and arts integration


Beginning with listening activities participants will experience Orff teaching processes, which incorporate gesture, dance movement, speech and instruments. Speech, songs story and imagery jump-off points for artful experiences in process and outcome. Pastiche strictly speaking refers to a way of imitating arts work. In this session the term is used to describe an amalgam of the old and the new. Throughout the session playful explorations facilitate a feel for the sound of voices and instruments.

Singing and saying creatively

This all-in session provides activities, ideas and theoretical footings for creative vocal activities. Body movement and vocalisations, perceptive listening and pitch exploration form the bases for vocal improvisations with appropriate song materials. The use of speech and other media bring our vocal work to a complete Orff experience.

Andrea Ostertag

Dancing Animals – How animal movements can help us to improve expression in dance

The topic of "animals" can give us a straight approach to the child’s lifeworld.  Many lesson plans, stories and movies are about animals.  We see animals everywhere around and we have the opportunity to observe their habits and movements.  What can we learn from them?  What can we transform to human beings?  What is the importance of animal moves for dancing?  Together we find out the essentials of animal movements and how to bring it to dance.

Moving Pictures - Famous Art Works as Inspiration for Dancing

Art works of famous visual artists as paintings or sculptures can inspire us to interpret an atmosphere or colours, postures, shapes or abstract forms.  How can we bring it to three dimensional shapes and movement in space?  Different approaches of dance composition for different stages of experience and age will be explored, practiced and brought to a movement form or small compositions.

"Kolo kolo"/ "Moko moko" -  Two Japanese picture books with onomatopoetic words

We play with words, nonsense words and sounds in combination with movement.  How can a story of a picture book be an inspiration for movement in accordance with sounds?  We improve our articulation, discover the connection of breath and movement and add music instruments to bring together all three elements of the Orff Schulwerk: music, dance and speech.

The Queen of Colours" (by Jutta Bauer) -  A picture book as an inspiration for a dance piece

This picture book provides a wide range of possibilities in performing the story.  Together we will create a realisation plan which can be filled with dance, music and voice - according to the specific target groups.

NOTE:  Some of these sessions will be repeated & Andrea will also present an All-in and All-Out Session - Titles & Session Descriptions coming soon!

Andrea Ostertag

Dr Julie Scott

Body Percussion: Sing, Say, Move, and Play!

Chances are, you have experienced body percussion in Orff Schulwerk. Teachers stamp, pat, clap, and snap “echo patterns” as warm-ups, as preparation to introduce or review a rhythm duration, or as a way to gain students’ attention.  Although the latter of the uses can be unmusical and even punitive, body percussion can be artistic and expressive, providing opportunities to serve as a music-making medium.  Once students are adept at patting, clapping, and walking to the steady beat, they can begin performing ostinatos on body percussion to accompany poems, chants, and songs. In addition, they can perform artistic, motivating “stand-alone” pieces from sources such as Rhythmische Übung by Gunild Keetman.  This hands-on session will include a demonstration of the pedagogical process and final performance of: 1) a song with body percussion accompaniment; 2) a speech piece with body percussion accompaniment; and 3) a stand-alone body percussion piece that will be performed on its own and on unpitched percussion instruments with movement and improvisation.  Suggestions for modeling body percussion artistically will be discussed, modeled, and practiced.  Ideas for sequential teaching of body percussion skills will also be discussed.  Come prepared to join in the fun with pieces that students of all ages will love!

Julie Scott &
Michael Chandler

Recorder Ready: Artistry, Creativity, and Literacy

Playing the recorder provides upper elementary-age students (Grades 3–6) many opportunities to experience musical artistry and creativity while developing music literacy.  Julie and Michael will demonstrate teaching strategies for effective recorder instruction through a variety of repertoire accessible to all levels of players.  Attendees will participate in learning strategies for selecting age-­ and grade-­appropriate recorder repertoire that is motivating for students of varying abilities and meets their instructional needs.  Participants will experience techniques for getting the most benefit from recorder repertoire through differentiated instruction that includes adapting it to include improvisation, adding to or modifying it to make it more accessible, and using it to teach music literacy in a sequential and student­-centered manner.  Simple techniques make it possible to introduce other voices of recorders such as the bass, tenor, and alto so students can experience a consort sound earlier rather than later—or never.  This ultimately leads to children enjoying music more through recorder playing.

Manuela Widmer

Music Drama - Elemental Style – jump into the play!


In the field of arts education one should not treat all children equally in terms of standard objectives and content. A main aim is to stop working in a routine way and to take more into account the individuality of the children in the different creative activities in the wide field of the Elemental Music and Dance Education. The individual possibilities and wishes of the children should be prominent. All human beings, even when they are the same age, show very different inclinations, abilities and skills in term of music, dance and play activities.

Music Drama – Elemental Style – focus on speech and movement


Explore especially how the musical work with speech can provide scenic performances and help children to act natural and individual.  We use parts of different stories to explain the connection between speech and movement – one of the basic ideas of the Orff-Schulwerk.

Michel Widmer

Come and play – creative work with sound and rhythm

Let’s start with Improvisation and song accompaniment with body percussion and sounding materials from everyday objects.  Further Models will offer room for creative engagement with voice, material, instruments and movement to develop new skills and to expand repertoire and resources.

Creative Games with Boomwhackers

A try out with creative games that stimulate and encourage the motivation and personal responsibility of children and adolescents.  Boomwhackers will be used for rhythmical games with sound and movement, for accompaniment of songs and improvisation.



African Drumming - featuring Brianna Slattery & Kofi Kunkpe

Exploring the Diversity within the West African Ensemble

We will explore the use of djembes, dununs (bass drums), shakers and bells to create an exciting polyrhythmic orchestra that layers and weaves traditional rhythms together.The potential of African drumming lays in its accessibility and inclusivity. People of all ages, backgrounds and abilities can learn to drum quickly.  The learning curve is gentle and the music can be as simple and as complex as you like.  Basic playing skills can be learnt in a matter of minutes and the music itself can be easily adapted to any group.Drumming also encourages movement and kinaesthetic learning.  Directing and responding to the music through dance is an integral part of the West African ensemble. Moving to the music allows for further opportunities for self-expression.Drumming is about more than music.  It exercises the brain and the body together.  It teaches us how to work together, how to lead, be creative, and generates a strong sense of inclusion.

Susan-Gai Anderson
Let's Go Musos, Let's Go!

Chants and cheers are synonymous with sport games and competitions.  Without even realising the inherent musicality of these well-known motifs, crowds actively engage in rhythmic spoken, melodic slogans and war crys.


Both familiar and new chants will be explored and developed using body percussion and props gathered from sport games.  Un-tuned and tuned percussion instruments will be included to develop the chants.


In addition, class Orff repertoire will be reformulated into original chants based on the participants' favourite sport teams and subsequently reassembled into a musical sport extravaganza.


The workshop is focussed on the early Childhood classroom, but the ideas presented will be able to be extended and adapted for older students.  No prior experience required.

Michael Aquilina

Run Boy Run

This session involves taking junk percussion to a new level.  Born out of a necessity to support an ensemble of misfits and passionate young musicians, Run Boy Run will see you combining contemporary music, movement and a whole heap of junk to create a performance piece that is sure to leave any audience in awe.  Taking junk percussion to a new level, you will find yourself learning a range of rhythms that will challenge and inspire you to create a performance piece out of this world with your students.

Deb Batley

Where are the Rabbits

A session aimed at Secondary Elective Teachers.  This session examines the short opera by Kate Miller-Heidke and Iain Grandage The Rabbits, which is based on the Picture book of the same name by John Marsden and Shaun Tan.   Participants will be given a range of strategies that use movement, improvisation and performance in order to gain an understanding of selected movements from The Rabbits.  Participants will then be able to use this understanding in order to take a repertoire of strategies back to the classroom.

Virginia Esparraga

Moving out of this world

Ever wondered what you might discover in space?!  This session has a focus on using creative movement as a source for musical exploration for primary school aged children.  We will actively engage in combining Music and Movement through improvisation, experiment with movement accompaniment and will integrate all of our experiences to create a collaborative Music/Movement performance.

Paul Grosse

Aria With Efforts!

Exploring the voice, discovering opera.  Using the Orff process, participants are led to discover new ways of making vocal sounds; from Bellini to Berio via Berg.

Kaboom Percussion

Hitting things with Kaboom Percussion

We all know that kids love hitting things - so why not embrace this enthusiasm and use it to engage your students in a whole range of musical activities!  In this workshop, Kaboom will guide participants through a collection of their favourite classroom percussion activities that they have used with students all over the world.  Through the use of body percussion as well as simple and inexpensive objects such as buckets, cups and drum sticks, essential musical techniques and theory are taught in a fun and engaging setting.  These games and pieces are designed to be quick to learn and fun to play, with aspects of composition, teamwork, and choreography thrown into the mix that make them scalable in difficulty for primary through to secondary students.  Participants will leave the workshop with a collection of activities that they can apply straight away to their classrooms.  Come along and hit things with Kaboom!

Sue Lane

We need to put the Arts on the map

This presentation will discuss the perspectives of participant educators in this research, their attitudes and observations regarding Arts education implementation in their primary school teaching spaces. The researcher invited primary teachers from public schools from the Central Coast and the Central West of NSW, together with teachers from the ACT to complete questionnaires, reflecting on their own training, experience and current teaching practice in Music and other Arts areas. Many participants expressed their valuing of the Arts but also their frustrations regarding current priorities in educational thinking. They referred to levels of discomfort in different Arts teaching spaces, and perceptions of a lack of skills and confidence that inhibited the presentation of Arts experiences in the classroom. Inadequate resources and the need for ongoing professional development were discussed, together with a lack of executive support, suggesting feelings of uncertainty regarding Arts education implementation. However within different teaching spaces there were also examples of resistance to pressures and the negotiation of challenges, with a commitment to the development and implementation of Arts education opportunities for students. Learning from the perspectives of participants in this research, discussion in this presentation will focus on the promotion of sustainability of Arts programs in the primary school, considering challenges faced in busy classrooms with diverse needs, but also strategies to support Arts education in different teaching spaces.

Kirrabelle Lovell
Jelly on a plate!  A plate of jelly?

How can you create a lesson out of one simple idea? How can you combine music and movement in a lesson, as well as a bit of dance technique? Exploring approaches to teaching an elemental and creative Orff Schulwerk lesson, we will use speech, rhyme, body percussion and vocal sounds with instruments, movement and dance to create our own music.  This session is planned for Middle/Lower Primary students.  (Please be prepared to move.)

James Madsen

Jam on Toast: Slice #3

Join the composer and creator of the Jam On Toast series as he presents brand new songs from his album Slice #3.  Sing new songs, learn dances and gather ideas and activities for creative instrumental activities for the music classroom.  Ideal for lower primary teachers and early childhood.

Kailee Marshall

From Austria to Australia

In 2019 I was afforded the opportunity to travel to Austria and study at the Orff institute.  This experiential session will look primarily at the insights gained from attending the International Orff Summer School 2019 and the impact their application has had on the music program and culture of the school and students in my current teaching context. Since commencing work at Bannister Creek Primary School in 2015 the music program has grown to include two large choirs and an instrumental program, all supported by a classroom music program rooted in the Orff Schulwerk Approach. Through experiencing and making music the Orff way, this workshop will look at how the Orff Approach has facilitated the development of the school’s program and in particular how the experience of traveling to Salzburg for the International Summer School has continued to drive growth at Bannister Creek Primary. Participants attending this workshop will need an understanding of basic music theory.

Heather McLaughlin & Jon Madin

Simplified Classics for Schools & Community

In this session, Jon and Heather will share their work with familiar melodies adapted for mixed groups using classroom instruments, orchestral instruments, and some of Jon’s quirky invented instruments.  Come and try a 3-note version of Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik/A Little Night Music, and give Jon’s addictive Dingboxes (and your body) a workout with some Rossini.  These arrangements can work in one-off workshop situations such as Jon Madin offers in schools, in regular weekly school music programmes, or in sessions with older adults such as U3A (University of the 3rd Age, for retirees) groups.  Ukuleles, violins, and flutes can be integrated with the Orff instrumentarium (marimbas, xylophones, glockenspiels) and percussion. Boomwhackers, chime bars or homemade J-pipes can be used as ‘one note wonders’ if Dingboxes, Pole percussion and Musical bikes are not available. 
Vivaldi, Chopin, Rossini and Brahms are likely to feature.  Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana” may also appear – but with a rather different instrumental line-up to that usually employed.

Jane Nicholas
Back To Basics and Some First Nations Perspectives

This workshop is all about singing, saying, moving and playing and using the music of First Nations cultures as the inspiration to music making. 
It is about reaching into the past to take what we know works so well with Music education.  It is also about revealing the treasures of First Nations cultures for our Indigenous and non Indigenous students to honour and respect. 

This workshop will show how Orff Schulwerk can reveal elements of First Nations cultures and develop musical understandings respectfully and through play.   Guided improvisation and student-music making are king.  Repertoire from Gunditjmara Bundjalung man Archie Roach, Noongar Elder and singer/songwriter George Walley and from the compilation of The Mission Songs Project will be explored using the Orff Instrumentarium. 

Bring your recorders people….. and any other personal and portable instruments.

Dujon Niue and Sue Lane

Music and Dance of the Torres Strait Islands presented by Musica Viva

Music, dance and games are fundamental to growing up in the Torres Strait Islands. This hands-on, interactive workshop will explore song, dance and play through children’s games of the Torres Strait. Dujon Niue from Mua (Moa Island) in the Torres Strait, together with Sue Lane, a consultant with Musica Viva In Schools, will take you on an exploration of the music, dance, stories and language of this rich and diverse culture. This workshop is suitable for teachers of F-8 and for all levels of experience. 

In this workshop you will:

-  Explore music, dance and games of Torres Strait culture

-  Explore the stories and language of Torres Strait culture

-  Discuss ways of working with this Indigenous content in the classroom

Andy Rigby & Jon Madin

Jon Madin – instruments extraordinary…

Your chance to play the wonderful & bizarre instruments invented and built by Jon Madin.  His Echocellos are a hit in school workshops, with even young children playing the Pachelbel Canon and similar within minutes and sounding like an orchestra.  Musical Bikes are always popular and DingBoxes have been quite a craze in recent years.  Marimbas and percussion of familiar and novel design are combined for immediate involvement in group music-making.  Everyone will be included in a hands-on playing session of familiar and new music, which could include "We Will Rock You", a spot of Vivaldi, and even a bit of Orff's "Carmina Burana". Instant group participation with familiar and new tunes that are great fun and a visual delight, as well as sounding good!  All welcome for an experience like no other with Jon Madin and his wacky instruments.


Jon Madin & Andy Rigby – Big Play!

Marimbas, percussion, Jon Madin's wacky instruments and more will all be involved in a mighty jam session complete with parade.  Marching marimbas, anyone?  Music with a Southern African flavour (Homecoming song), and a hint of South America (Caderas), will involve everyone in hands-on music making.  We will do our own parade, complete with a mix of marimbas and many other instruments supplied by Andy and Jon.  Join in some active music-making with Jon and Andy showing us parts which can be quickly combined for a great sound and experience for all.

Barb Shearer-Jones & Natalie Wickham

A Trauma-informed Orff Music Classroom: How Orff pedagogy and practice can support students with trauma

Have you ever wondered about the effects of trauma on students in your classroom? And if or how music and performing arts could provide opportunities for recovery? This session will include practical trauma-informed strategies taken from current research which apply in an Orff Schulwerk music classroom, to support students with trauma backgrounds to heal and thrive. An interactive Orff workshop followed by a presentation of explicit strategies grounded in trauma research. Applicable for teachers of all levels, including secondary.


Jemma Tabet
Making it up: Improvising in the primary classroom

We make things up every day as we go about our lives, but what does it mean to improvise in music? Musica Viva Australia’s educator, Jemma Tabet, will explore the use of improvisation in music and movement in the primary classroom, using repertoire from Musica Viva In Schools ensemble Eastwinds and a variety of interactive singing, playing and dancing activities. Open to teachers F-8 with any level of experience.

Eastwinds is a multi-instrumental and multicultural four-piece ensemble, comprising an eclectic range of cultures and instruments – Japan, Iran, Estonia and Australia; didgeridoo, vocals, jaw harp, daf (drum), ney (flute) and reed instruments. Using the group’s work as a springboard, participants will explore activities and games that delve into how we can create and connect to one another through improvisation using voice, instruments and movement, based on our personal experiences. Participants will explore pathways that allow students to create their own improvisations – from making up their own music on the theme of early morning, to improvising their own lyrics based on a form of traditional Estonian song, to the improvisation of physical movements and dance.