Why do we realize the “ANADOLU ORFF MUSIC EDUCATION PROJECT” and what are our goals?

In Turkey, composer Carl Orff is best known for his work “Carmina Burana”. Besides being a highly regarded composer and musician, Carl Orff developed an influential method towards music education for children. The “Orff Method” as the educational approach is called, intents to give children a basic musical education by using familiar tools, encouraging the children’s natural sense of play. The goal is to reveal the already existing creativity trough rhythm, movement and speaking, benefiting from all art branches.

This pedagogy aims a holistic education. Through the music, both sides of the brain are used equally and in an effective way, triggered, not trapped in technical capability, the individual is able to descend into already existing inner deeps, being more in peace with himself and his social environment. The method intends to raise softer, more humanistic students.

The Orff Method was first introduced to Turkey in 1938, when the world famous composer Paul Hindemith and Dr. Eduard Zuckmayer followed an invitation from Atatürk. Proposed by the famous artists, the Method was presented the first time to the Students of the Ankara Gazi Education Institute. After that in 1956 with the cooperation of the valued musician Muzaffer Arkan and the Ankara Maarif Koleji (todays TED) with Mümtaz Tarhan as Headmaster and Turkey admirer Carl Orff, who donated two trucks full of music instruments, the education began. Due to insufficient infrastructure the method could not be implemented permanently.

To perceive a lasting system, the method needed to be integrated into the existing educational system. But nowadays Turkish universities still don’t have a subject called ‘Preschool Music Education’ included in their curriculums.

Whereas this world wide accepted method, ensures that the child is raised as a creative, confident, fast thinking individual with high social communication skills.

Finland, who is the worldwide number one since 12 years in all international evaluations and normal school exams, emphasizes that this success affiliates to Education based on the Orff system.

Herewith I would like to explain how the “Anadolu Orff Music Education Project” in Anatolia started. In 2006 we founded a Music Department in the TEVITÖL High School in Gebze, which is affiliated to TEV, the Turkish Education Foundation and teaches students in middle and high school classes, chosen from all over Anatolia with IQ’s above 130.

As we experienced the difficulties in music education at schools, we decided to take an initiative towards updating the system. Having lived abroad for many years and experienced various educational systems, we examined the “Orff Schulwerk Center Turkey”.  Based on the collected data of the last years and our experiences we developed a project with the support of the Ministry of Education, to be executed with the Orff Center Turkey. In October 2010 we signed the project protocol with the Ministry of Education. 

Immediately after that we conducted a 13-day seminar with 30 teachers, chosen from a list of nine pilot provinces selected by the Ministry of Education, with the participation of deputy director of the Austria Orff Center Prof.  Jungmaier. The teachers left the seminar full of astonishment and contentment.

Although the teachers, trained within the scope of the project, continued carrying out their duties, without the necessary financial support the education method in Turkey could not be spread.

In the meantime sharing the same vision like the ‘Great Mathematics’ Project by Finansbank concerning children’s education, we started a new attempt of the “Antatolian Orff Music Education Project” together with the support of Mr. Ömer Aras and the Finansbank Managements valuable financial support.

Three young pedagogues will be trained on the highest level together with an elected international group for the first time, at the “Special Course” of the Orff Institute at the Mozarteum University Salzburg, where they will learn the Orff-Approach in all its details. This intensive two-semester, 9 month long course will start in 2016/2017 and will be held in English by the most important international pedagogues. The education program, the living and travel costs, as well as the intensive English language training are undertaken by Finansbank.

As a condition of the scholarship, the three pedagogues will come back to Turkey after their education at the “Orff Institute/Mozarteum University Salzburg” and teach in fixed program periods the Orff-Approach in detail to 30 music teachers per class in different Turkish cities and village schools in Anatolia within 180 hours. The financial support will continue here as well. Due to their branches in Anatolia, Finansbank can offer a long-term support for the pedagogues in this area and contribute to the educational work to establish a permanent system. As a result of the domino effect, for the first time within this education it will be possible, that the vision of Orff-Schulwerk will reach thousands of children.   

 Another similar column of this work is Finansbanks’ educational project for children called “Fantastic Mathematic”, which is sharing a similar vision. As known, mathematic and music have complementary thinking structures, according to that children with mathematical talents have easier access to Music.

According to Australian researcher and music teacher Dr. Anita Collins’ data, neuroscientists’ researches show that every part of children’s brain becomes active when they begin music education at an early age. It also has positive effect in their learning ability as they age. According to data, the IQ of children who learn to play an instrument increases by 7 to 10 points. Considering that IQ ranges between 100 and 130 it is a relatively high contribution.

As stated in Dr. Collins data, music education increases children’s verbal memory and thinking skills up to 17 percent. Playing a music instrument effects the learning of a new language as well as courses with mathematics or symbols in a strong way. Compared to children who didn’t learn a music instrument, the difference between these two are very high.

Another data from ancient times shows, that there has been an awareness of the relationship between mathematics and music, which attracted the attention of many mathematicians. According to Albert Einstein, who is known for its high intelligence and deep love of music, the essence of the concept stems not from mathematics or logic, it is the music who gives ”intuition” and “inspiration”.

For this reasons we are very happy to be working with Finansbank and in particular with Omer Aras, we are very grateful to the entire management.

Thank you for your attention.

Süher Pekinel’s Speech at the Press Conference of the “Anadolu Orff Music Education Project” with Finansbank at 12.April 2016