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Agreement signals new note in music education

Agreement signals new note in music education

A memorandum of agreement, signed recently between the University of Waikato and Orff New Zealand Aotearoa, signals a major initiative in postgraduate music education at the School of Education.

It is also the first time that the University has entered into a formal, collaborative agreement with a professional association of teachers.

One of the University signatories, Professor Noeline Alcorn, Dean of the School of Education, said that the agreement was an important step in establishing a postgraduate research culture in music education.

“In developing three, Masters-level papers in the theory and practice Orff Music Education, our Arts and Language Education have established a clear and unique pathway towards thesis work in music education,” said Professor Alcorn.

Orff New Zealand Aotearoa (ONZA) is an association of primary and secondary teachers and teacher educators with an interest in an approach to music education known globally as Orff Schulwerk.

Established by German composer, Carl Orff in the 1920s, Orff Schulwerk is a way to teach and learn music using songs, dances, rhymes clapping games and other activities that children like to do as the basis for constructing their own music and learning to read and write music. There are Orff Schulwerk associations in 30 countries.

Signing the agreement on behalf of ONZA, Linda Locke, who is music specialist at Henderson Valley School in West Auckland, said that the organization was delighted that the University of Waikato should see fit to recognize the potential of Orff Schulwerk in New Zealand schools.

“Many people in New Zealand, not to mention inspirational music educators from Australia, Austria and the United States, have contributed to the development of ONZA and have made this development possible,” said Ms Locke.

In terms of the agreement, ONZA has endorsed the University of Waikato as its preferred provider of 500-level papers in Orff theory and practice. In addition to its collaborative role in helping design courses and recommend presenters, the organization, through its regular workshops for teachers, will help provide potential participants with the skills required for courses at postgraduate level.

Interest is high in the first Orff course to be offered in January, 2007 as an eight-day intensive workshop complemented by an online component with participants from throughout New Zealand already committed to the course.

The three papers offered in Orff theory and practice invite participants to develop an in-depth experience based knowledge of both the musical content and the pedagogical ideas embedded within the Schulwerk. Students will be invited to critically examine these ideas and practices in a way that is informed by other pedagogically based approaches to music education as well as by historical perspectives, educational philosophy and learning theory. Students will be asked to explore issues such as multiculturalism, creativity, and the role of language and engage in action research, in which their own practice is examined.

The January presenter will be Christoph Maubach, from Catholic University, Melbourne, who has an international reputation and has previously run courses in New Zealand. He will be assisted in the online component by Linda Locke and Clare Henderson of Waikato University, who will be coordinating the paper.


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