Elementary Music


In FPD Elementary Music, children actively participate as partners in making music. We treat singing, playing instruments, and moving as ensemble experiences. Students are not passively involved in their education, rather the room is filled with purposeful activity.

News: FPD Introduces Strings Program for Kindergartners in Fall 2020

Elementary Music Philosophy

At FPD, we teach music in elementary using a variety of philosophies of music education with an emphasis in Orff-Schulwerk and Kodály-Inspired approaches.

The Kodály Concept:

  • Is a philosophy of education and a concept of teaching.
  • Is a comprehensive program to train basic musical skills and teach the reading and writing of music.
  • Is an integration of many of the best ideas, techniques, and approaches to music education.
  • Is an experience-based approach to teaching.

Essential and Key Elements of the Kodlay Concept

  • We should first learn to love music as human sound and as an experience that enriches life.
  • The voice is the most natural instrument and one which every person possesses.
  • Kodály called singing “the essence” of this concept.
  • Singing is a powerful means of musical expression.
  • What we produce by ourselves is better learned; and there is a stronger feeling of success and accomplishment.
  • Learning through singing should precede instrumental training.
  • It is in the child’s best interest to understand the basics of reading music before beginning the difficult task of learning the technique of an instrument.

What do we sing?

  • Folk songs and games of the American Culture
  • Traditional children’s songs and games
  • Folk songs of other cultures
  • Music of the masters from all ages
  • Pedagogical exercises written by master composers

Singing best develops the inner, musical ear.

  • “If we ourselves sing often, this provides a deep experience of happiness in music. Through our own musical activities, we learn to know the pulsation, rhythm, and shape of melody. The enjoyment given encourages the study of instruments and the listening to other pieces of music as well.”(Kodály, 1964)

Folk Music

  • Folk music is the music of the people. There can be no better material for singing than the songs and games used by children for centuries.
  • Folk Music has all the basic characteristics needed to teach the foundations of music and to develop a love of music – a love that will last a life time.
  • Folk music is the classical music of the people, and, as such, is a perfect bridge leading to and working hand-in-hand with-art music.

“The compositions of every country, if original, are based on the songs of its own people. That is why their folk songs must be constantly sung, observed, and studied.” (Kodály, 1964)


  • Solfège is the best tool for developing the inner ear.
  • It is an invaluable aid in building all of the following musical skills:
  1. Sight singing
  2. Dictation
  3. Ear training
  4. Part hearing
  5. Hearing and singing harmony
  6. Perceiving form
  7. Developing memory
  8. The moveable do system, highly developed in English choral training, was advocated by Kodály as a tool for teaching musical literacy.
  9. Use of the pentatone (do, re, me, sol, la) was recommended by Kodály for early training of children because of its predominance in their folk music.

Music and Quality

  • We believe that music enhances the quality of life. So that it may have the impact it deserves, only the best music should be used for teaching:
  1. Folk music, which is the most representative of the culture
  2. The best music composed by the masters
  3. Quality music demands quality teaching:
  4. Teachers need to be as well-trained as possible
  5. Teachers’ training must be well-rounded
  6. Teachers need to develop their musical and vocal skills to the highest degree possible

“The pure soul of the child must be considered sacred; what we implant there must stand every test, and if we plant anything bad, we poison his soul for life.” (Selected Writings, p. 141)

“The Kodály Concept,” available from www.oake.org; accessed 05 August 2009.

What is Orff Schulwerk?

Orff Schulwerk is a way to teach and learn music. It is based on things children like to do: sing, chant rhymes, clap, dance, and keep a beat on anything near at hand. These instincts are directed into learning music by hearing and making music first, then reading and writing it later. This is the same way we all learned our language.

Orff Schulwerk happens in a non-competitive atmosphere where one of the rewards is the pleasure of making good music with others. When the children want to write down what they have composed, reading and writing find their moment.

Orff Schulwerk uses poems, rhymes, games, songs, and dances as examples and basic materials. These may be traditional or original. Spoken or sung, they may be accompanied by clapping and stamping or by drums, sticks, and bells.

The special Orff melody instruments include wooden xylophones and metal glockenspiels that offer good sound immediately. Played together as in a small orchestra, their use helps children become sensitive listeners and considerate participants.

With Orff Schulwerk, improvisation and composition start students on a lifetime of knowledge and pleasure through personal musical experience. Learning is meaningful only if it brings satisfaction to the learner, and satisfaction arises from the ability to use acquired knowledge for the purpose of creating. For both teacher and student, Orff Schulwerk is a theme with endless variation.

The title “Schulwerk” is an indication of the educational process taking place: Schulwerk is schooling (in music) through working, that is, through being active and creative.

Composer Carl Orff and his associate Gunild Keetman evolved the basic texts for the Schulwerk as models for teachers worldwide. Now translated into eighteen languages, Orff Schulwerk is based on the traditional music and folklore of each country in which it is used. At present more than 10,000 teachers in the United States have found the Schulwerk the ideal way to present the magic of music to their students.

“What is Orff Schulwerk?,” available from www.aosa.org; Internet; accessed 04 August 2009