Photo: Karoliina Pirkkanen

Don't forget to play!

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Austrian Orff pedagogue Andrea Ostertag visited Sibelius Academy for a workshop with the music education students. The main question was: how to combine music and movement. The group first approached a chosen song by going through its content, singing it and moving along with easy steps – using the song as a starting point. Another song was approached movement-first; by swinging arms and legs, thinking about breath and only at the very end taking on the instruments as well.

Orff pedagogy's approach to learning music is very different from some of the traditional ways - like learning through the sheet notes. One of the main principals of the Orff pedagogy is making music with your own body using your breath, movement and the space.

- We approach music education through games and playing – which sometimes might seem as ”just playing”. But there is an pedagogical idea behind it, an idea which helps us to learn music in a playful way. For me it’s important to understand the phrases of the music in order to remember and express the music, Ostertag says.

She points out that music is a very holistic thing which should be learned and percieved through all senses.

- We know that children are very holistic; when you watch a little child playing with a toy car, you can see him or her humming and moving around at the same time. Our approach is in some way building on that experience, says Ostertag

There's something to think about for us adults: somewhere along the way we tend to lose that playfulness, the joy of playing games.

- That’s why these classes are very valuable for the students; they get back to the playful state of mind. We all should ask ourselves: when did we last really play a game? I also learn from the students. I take on their freshness, their courage to fail an try new things, falling out of the routines. With this group I now have been working with I noticed, that they must have been been involved with these issues before, Ostertag says.