An Investigation of Graduate Student Retention Within the Orff Schulwerk Levels

August 16, 2010 / By: Melita Anderson

The intent of this study is to determine the factors and attitudes of students who do not return to take Orff Schulwerk Level II after taking Orff Schulwerk Level I or those who do not return to take Orff Schulwerk Level III after taking Orff Schulwerk Levels I and II.  Seven sub-questions were examined:  Is the reason students take Orff Schulwerk Level I and do not return to take Level II or take Levels I and II and do not return to take Level III because of (1) the time commitment?  (2) the cost?  (3) lack of usefulness in their classroom?  (4) lack of connection between the student and the instructor(s)?  (5) lack of interest (in the subject)?  (6) the location and housing? and (7) other reasons not mentioned above?

Data were collected through a self-administered online survey, in which responses were submitted anonymously.  The subjects include members of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association and the Minnesota Orff Chapter.  The survey consisted of three sections: one section with eleven multiple-choice questions regarding the background information of the participant, one section with thirteen Likert-type, scaled-choice questions addressing factors that affect the respondent’s decision not to continue taking the next level of the Orff Schulwerk courses, and one section with five open-ended questions about the respondents’ views on professional development, motivation, and reasons why they have not pursued the next level of Orff Schulwerk.

Results of the present study indicate that there are many factors that affect student’s retention within the Orff Schulwerk levels.  Cost, including cost of the course, travel, childcare, and housing expenses, was the largest factor.  Other important factors include the location of the course, lack of time, the time of year in which the course is held, and family commitments. Nearly, sixty percent of the respondents plan to take the next level of Orff Schulwerk in the future.

Professional development is a requirement for many music teachers.  This study found that most respondents would choose to participate in activities in Orff Schulwerk, Kodály, technology, drumming, Dalcroze, and attending state music conventions.  Two factors that influence peoples’ decisions to participate in professional development opportunities are administrative support and compensation.