Thursday, November 21, 2013

AOSA 2013 Conference Highlights - Part 2

I just returned home from the American Orff-Schulwerk Professional Development conference in Denver, Colorado. Without fail this conference always recharges my musical soul and reignites my love for teaching music. My head is still spinning, trying to process all of the ideas I gathered at the many great workshops I attended.

This year I also had the honor of being a presenter at the conference. Although I feared that my 8:00 am time slot on Thursday would deter people from attending, I was pleasantly surprised to find my session Explore, Play, Create: Meaningful Music Learning was packed to capacity with eager participants.

One of the activities I shared in the melodic direction section of my session was called Poly Spot conducting. This introductory lesson allows my students to “explore” the concept of melodic direction and helps to pique their curiosity by providing them time to experiment and make their own discoveries. A group of students, sitting at barred instruments set up in C pentatonic, follows the teacher or other students as they conduct the instrument players by stepping on 10 poly spots set up like the notes on the instruments. The conductor may indicate notes going up (moving from left to right), notes going down (moving from right to left), or notes staying the same (staying on the same poly spot). Although I have done this activity several times in my classroom, it was great to see that adults enjoyed the game almost as much as my students.

Sharing lessons that have worked well for my students with other teachers is such an incredible opportunity. I am ready to start making my plans to attend the 2014 AOSA conference in Nashville, Tennessee next November 5–8 and plan to submit another workshop proposal for the 2015 AOSA conference in San Diego, California.

Terri Scullin graduated from Boston University and received all three levels of Orff-Schulwerk training. She has taught music for 25 years and currently teaches general music, chorus, and drama to students in preschool through eighth grade at the Tesseract School in Paradise Valley, Arizona.  She currently serves as Past-President of the AZ Orff Chapter.

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