Another Perspective of our Workshop with Debra Giebelhaus-Maloney

Saturday, September 22 music educators from around the province were treated to a day with Debra Giebelhaus-Maloney. The workshop entitled “Sing Move Play Arts integration for K-6” was held at John G. Egnatoff School in Saskatoon. Debra, a Canadian Orff leader, clinician, teacher trainer, and educator is currently our National President.

Debra often teaches children in a circle, to be inclusive, not exclusive. It was the same with us. All were welcomed regardless of our place along the journey of musical knowledge. From specialist to generalist we were all “in the right place.” Our morning began with a name game, which quickly morphed into echo and response and a canon with movement, sound, and non-pitched percussion. While Debra was enticing us to join her music making, she modeled great pedagogy along with offering a few helpful hints. Being ever respectful of us as learners she moved us to our chairs after each experience to assist us in review for note taking. This allowed us to reflect on our process and have it to take with us at the end of the day.

Our next foray was into Nursery Rhymes. We took on the roles of directors, authors and composers. We also worked with pitch and dynamics. It proved challenging to keep it all straight at the same time. As the theme was arts integration, Debra next used “The Muffin Man” to introduce and reinforce the idea of question and answer in both prose and music. She added Social Studies by using community workers in the song. Other areas of integration included the seasons, poetry writing, and bullying. There was something for everyone.

As Debra often repeated life was indeed good as she encouraged us to “sparkulate” and be “thoughtful” in our work with children. As always it was a Saturday well spent making joyful music with each other. We were left wanting more … until the next opportunity to “Sing, Move, Play” with our friends and colleagues.

Tracy Kernaghan