Carl Orff, the great music educator, said, “Music is chosen with strong nationalistic flavor, being related to folk songs and music of the child’s own heritage.” (“The Orff Approach to Music Education” By Gloria Day)
Most of the time, I would rather teach folk songs in my classes and programs than composed music for many reasons.
- have stood the test of time.
- reflect the culture, values and stories from the countries they’re from.
- are often really fun and easy to sing!
- are not copyright protected.
- allow us to enter the story! I tell the students that we can’t wear the same clothes or eat the same food that people of our history did, but we can sing the same songs and dance the same dances.
Be aware that some songs are no longer appropriate for us to teach because of their racist roots or other topics that have since fallen out of favor. See the articles below on more about that.