Orff Schulwerk Teacher Education Course

Orff-Schulwerk Level I

Summer 2021 course dates: June 14-25, 2021

For more information, please contact the Course Director, Kate Pollard.

What is Orff Schulwerk?

The Orff Schulwerk approach, developed by Carl Orff and Gunild Keetman, builds musicianship through active music-making such as singing, playing instruments, speech, moving and improvising.

Level I is open to senior-level undergraduate music majors or those with earned bachelor's degrees. In this hands-on course, training will focus on the following child-centered skills:

  • Rhythm
  • Singing and melody
  • Movement
  • Orff instrument technique
  • Improvisation and composition
  • Soprano and/or alto recorders
  • Pedagogy
  • Orff ensemble orchestration

Special topics during the course may include:

  • Choral singing
  • Various world musics
  • Folk dancing

This is an American Orff-Schulwerk Association approved course.

Tuition information

  • Tuition costs (three options):*
    • Non-academic credit/63 Nevada professional development hours: $720. There is no additional non-resident fee or application fee for this option. Those out-of-state residents who do not need academic credit are strongly encouraged to register for this option.
    • Academic credit options
      • 3 undergraduate credits: $820 plus $60 non-refundable application fee, if applicable 
      • 3 graduate credits: $920 plus $60 non-refundable application fee, if applicable

Notes about the academic credit options above

  1. Out-of-state residents must also pay an additional $822 and $1,008 for a non-resident undergraduate and graduate fee, respectively. Therefore, 3 undergraduate credits will be $1,642 plus application fee, if applicable; 3 graduate credits will be $1,928 plus application fee, if applicable. If you teach in Nevada, but live in another state, you still qualify as an in-state resident.
  2. Any participant who has never attended the University of Nevada, Reno, has not paid the application fee, or is not a current University of Nevada, Reno student must pay a non-refundable application fee of $60 if wishing to enroll in academic credit.
  3. Proof of immunizations (two doses of MMR in their lifetime and one dose of DT within the last 10 years) is required for all academic credit students.

*Please note that these tuition costs do not include required course materials.

The easiest way to register is to contact Kate Pollard for the appropriate registration form. You can also register for the non-academic credit/63 Nevada professional development hours by calling Academic Credit Options (ACO) at (775) 682-7555 or (800) 233-8928.

Course information

Sample daily schedule

8:30 - 10:30 a.m. - Basic Orff
10:30 - 10:45 a.m. - Break
10:45 a.m. - 12 p.m. - Movement
12 - 1 p.m. - Lunch
1 - 2:15 p.m. - Recorder
2:15 - 2:25 p.m. - Break
2:25 - 3:25 p.m. - Basic Orff
3:30 - 4:30 p.m. - Special topics as needed

Course materials

Materials, which will be required for the course, will be listed here soon.

Location and parking

All official class meetings will be held on the University of Nevada, Reno campus in in the University Arts Building, which is close to bus stops and parking lots.

You may purchase a summer parking permit for $35, which will be cheaper than purchasing daily permits, or you can park and ride using the inexpensive Sierra Spirit, which leaves every 15-20 minutes.

Course instructors

Ardith Collins

Ardith Collins (Level I Pedagogy) teaches general music and string orchestra at Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School in Manhattan and is adjunct faculty at Montclair State University. Ardith completed Orff Levels at Villanova/University of the Arts, Kodály Levels at Westminster Choir College, and studied Dalcroze Eurhythmics at Anderson University. She was the 2014 American Center for Elemental Music and Movement (ACEMM) Beacon Scholarship recipient, which she utilized to attend JaSeSoiry World Village. Ardith is an AOSA Level I Pedagogy teacher trainer for the summer courses at University of Reno, Villanova/University of the Arts, and NJPAC. She is past-president of the Northern New Jersey Orff chapter and serves on the AOSA Reverberations editorial board as well as the AOSA curriculum oversight and review subcommittee. Ardith is an avid writer, folk dancer, rounds enthusiast and performs with the Montclair State Albanian American Balkan Ensemble.

David Thaxton

David Thaxton (Level I Recorder) is currently in his 26th year teaching elementary music to pre-K through 6th grade in Sparks, Nevada. As an AOSA certified teacher trainer for Orff Level I, II and III pedagogy and Level I and II recorder, David teaches summer courses for the University of Nevada, Reno, the San Diego Summer Orff Course and VanderCook School of Music in Chicago. David has presented workshops and clinics at local, state and national levels and presents to Orff chapters throughout the country. He also serves as President of the Sierra Nevada Chapter of AOSA where he was co-founder of the Sierra Nevada Orff Festival. At the national level, he has served on the editorial board of The Orff Echo, the AOSA National Journal and the monthly online publication, Reverberations. David is currently the treasurer for the American Center for Elemental Music and Movement. He has been the creative director and lead clinician for the Four Corners Young Musicians Summer Camp in Durango, Colorado since 2015.

David was also recently awarded the “Spotlight Educator Award” for the Winter of 2017 from the American Center for Elemental Music and Movement (ACEMM), and is excited that his new book, Making Tracks: Recorder Explorations, Creations and Improvisations, is recently published through Sweet Pipes.

Lori Conlon Khan

Lori Conlon Khan (Level I Movement) has been happily involved in music education for many years, including 32 years as a general music specialist, K-6, for the Boise School District; a Montessori preschool music teacher; as a professor in an arts integration M.Ed program for Lesley University; movement instructor in Orff Schulwerk teacher training courses at Boise State University; as a visiting professor at Boise State; and now as clinical assistant professor of music education at the University of Idaho, where this is her fourth year. Lori holds certification in Orff Schulwerk, has served as Idaho Orff President and on the national AOSA board as Region I Representative. She was co-chair with David Thaxton on the 50th anniversary celebration committee and currently serves on the research to practice sub-committee for AOSA. Along with Co-Chair, Shirley VanPaepeghem, they teamed the support of Idaho Orff with Idaho Music Educators Association and created an inaugural Elementary Honor Orff Ensemble for students fourth through sixth grade for the IMEA Professional Development Conference in January of 2020. She has presented at numerous local, state, and national conferences.

Housing and area information


Due to summer session and construction, there is no housing directly on campus. There are many area hotels nearby that are within walking distance to the Sierra Spirit bus line. Past participants have also found housing through rental websites. Please contact the Kate Pollard for more details.

Reno, Nevada

Reno, Nevada is "The Biggest Little City in the World" and possibly most known for its casinos, but the culture reaches well beyond casinos. Some attractions include an international airport (RNO), numerous golf courses, the Reno Aces (minor league baseball affiliate to the Diamondbacks), the one-of-a-kind National Bowling Stadium, the Nevada Museum of Art and the National Automobile Museum. Artown, a summer arts festival that draws international performers and artists, starts in July. Reno is less than an hour away from Carson City and Virginia City, less than three hours away from Sacramento, California and less than four hours away from San Francisco. Lake Tahoe, the largest Alpine lake in North America, is also less than an hour away from the University campus.