Music Room: Orff xylophones

I’ve had Orff training, but even before I was officially certified in Orff, I have always liked using xylophones. I highly recommend taking Orff classes and/or attending Orff workshops. They have such hands-on ideas for getting the students actively involved in music making. (Video: See an Orff class in action.)

Anyway, this post is about how I leave my xylophones set up all of the time. I do that so it’s easy in a 30-minute lesson to have everyone take a turn on xylophones in a short period of time.

I can point and say: “Johnny, xylophone 1. Susie, xylophone 2…” Students go to the xylophones, pick up their mallets and wait.

I even sing a little ditty: “Pick up your mallets; don’t play yet!” – and students usually start singing it with me. They know if they play when they aren’t supposed to, they lose their turn.

I used this straight-line configuration for several years – and just last year I tried something that I liked even better (no photo, sorry). I put the xylophones in groups of 2 or 4 around the room at different stations. That caused less bottleneck and allowed for students, who are sitting in a U-shape on risers, to see xylophones without turning all the way around.

Each xylophone has a little eighth note with the number of the xylophone on it, both on the front and on the top.

By the way, while I’m talking about xylophones, I love these rolling stands. I have 2 of them: one for my BX (bass xyl), and one for my BM (bass metallophone, which I don’t use very much – something about the timbre bothers me). They are also adjustable to use for the AX and AM (altos), but I didn’t have enough money in the budget to buy that many.

Here, partners are standing across from each other as they compose their own melodies on “so, mi, la” pitches – 2nd grade.

Here, this partner group of three is practicing their composition, all playing together at the same time.

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4 thoughts on “Music Room: Orff xylophones”

    1. I like xylophones the best. The size of the bars is easier to play than glocks, and I prefer the sound rather than the metal bars of glocks and metallophones. My favorite are bass xylophones, but altos are a close second. Since altos are a little cheaper, you can start with a few alto xylophones (so more students can get a chance to play), then add a bass and even some soprano xylophones. Check out the “See also” part of this page for more links to Orff instrument info.

  1. Do you have any song suggestions for xylophone with notes? I’m teaching Grade 1 students. they are about to get to learn xylophone.

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