Make no mistake: the Jaguar Jam Orff Ensemble, a performance opportunity for 4th and 5thgrade students, is a resounding success! If you’re unfamiliar with the term “Orff,” it refers to some special instruments designed by composer and music educator Carl Orff. They consist primarily of barred instruments: xylophones, metallophones, and glockenspiels, or “Orff instruments.”
Orff received an African xylophone as a gift, and became captivated by the sound. He determined that this may be a way to make instrument playing accessible to young students, and yet maintain the integrity of the original instruments. These are not rinky-dink toys! They are expensive instruments, and when I came to Beauclerc I was delighted to discover a small complement of instruments in a storage room. After making a few repairs, they were ready for music-making to begin! So much can be taught through the use of these amazing instruments—instrumental technique, musicianship, theory, composition—all of which are addressed in the National Core Arts Standards for Music Education, and Florida’s Next Generation Sunshine State Standards for music education.
The Orff Ensemble will focus on special performance pieces, and our primary focus will be two concerts: a Winter Concert in December, and our annual Spring Concert. However, it is not unheard of for us to be asked to play in various venues. Past off-campus performances have included the DCPS Celebration of the Arts at the Times-Union, the North Florida Orff Chapter, the Duval Elementary Music Festival, First Coast News, and the Sigma Gamma Rho Youth Symposium.