Christmas concerts at Holy Family School

  The students of Holy Family School in Syracuse will present a pair of Christmas concerts open to the public. Students from kindergarten to second grade will perform Dec. 10 at 6:30 p.m.; third graders to sixth graders will perform Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. Both concerts will be held at Holy Family Church, 127 Chapel Dr., Syracuse.

   Music teacher Katherine Medicis uses the Orff Schulwerk approach toward music education. Developed by composer and educator Carl Orff in the 1920’s, along with collaborator Gunild Keetman, Orff uses an approach to music education based on the idea that children should learn music by doing things they already love and understand: play, movement, speech and song.

   “There are several approaches to music education, but the reason that I personally feel that the Orff approach is so effective is because students are so involved in the music making process,” says Medicis.  

   Students are encouraged to help create and improvise and take ownership over their music. Orff also encourages the use of classroom instruments. These are small classroom xylophones, metallophones and glockenspiels on which students can play melodies and accompaniments for their songs. Students can, with relatively simple patterns, accompany themselves and therefore perform whole pieces on their own without the help of piano accompaniment. “I love this aspect for my students because it gives them the opportunity to not only play instruments, which they love, but also to gain a greater understanding of the structure of music and how to control things like tempo and dynamics themselves, rather than relying on an adult at the piano,” says Medicis.

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