Orff-Schulwerk Project

What is ''ORFF Schulwerk'' and How Did It Come to Turkey?


Best known in our country for his work entitled Carmina Burana, Carl Orff was not only an esteemed musician, but he was also an important educator. The artist’s educational method Carl Orff Schulwerk, which translates roughly as the “Carl Orff Approach”, recommends that elements familiar to children shall be used to give them basic music training. In other words, it advocates naturalness. The goal is to take advantage of all the different fields of art in order to bring out people’s intrinsic creative powers through rhythm, movement and speaking.



The Orff education system is recognized and implemented around the world. Finland, which scores the highest on all international exams and assessments, claims that this success is due to the fact that it trains its students with the ORFF system, and this is appreciated around the world. The reason for the success of the Finnish music education system is that teachers who are working in pre-school facilities receive a special pre-school education formation at university. This program at the university contains not only basic music education and pre-school education classes, but also child development and psychology, aesthetic education for children, children’s literature, drama, children’s choir conducting, music-play-movement and music-dance classes. In Turkey, there are no universities or colleges which provide specific education for pre-school music education. Besides, neither in Conservatories, nor in universities which educate Music Teachers, classes on pre-school music education or children’s development can be found.


It is well known that between the ages of 3 and 8 a child's talents develop rapidly and naturally, so this is when creativity and emotional intelligence are established. According to scientific data, a child's power of perception at this time is two and half times greater than a normal person’s.


This is the reason why music education has to start at the pre-school age and be handled with great care. Early music education affects the child directly in its abilities and knowledge regarding music.

Arts in general must be part of pre-school education and music plays an important role here. The goal of pre-school music education is to support children’s cognitive, kinetic and social development, to enable them to express their feelings, thoughts an observations with music as an aesthetic language, to make possible that they are able to expose their own creativity and to help with the development of their mother tongue, in order to prepare them for elementary education.

Therefore, this method implemented in preschools and elementary schools will contribute to the establishment of aesthetic and artistic foundations in future generations, opening new doors in music education. Unfortunately, today true musical education cannot be provided in preschools and elementary schools, and Turkey is wasting valuable time in this regard.


The first Carl Orff instruments were brought to Turkey in 1956 by the esteemed musician Muzaffer Arkas in cooperation with Mümtaz Tarhan, who was the head of the Ankara Maarif College (now TED). However, it was not implemented effectively due to inadequate infrastructure because in order for the Carl Orff system to have an enduring effect, it must be integrated with the existing system. The first systematic implementation in this regard was executed by Kayha Ojalak Koçak in 1999 at the Private Alev Elementary School, and that school was recognized by Carl Orff’s spouse as a Model School.


In 2001, the Association of Austrian High Schools was designated as the sole authority on Carl Orff Schulwerk Education and the C.O. Schulwerk Education and Consultancy Center was established as part of the Alev Schools.

In 2010, Pekinels decided to start the ‘’Project to Improve Musical Education in Anatolia’’, in order to begin to implement the Orff Education System in all schools in Turkey.