Review Fall Classic 2011 with Calla Isaak

I attended the Fall 2011 Workshop hosted by the Saskatchewan Orff Chapter on September 24, 2011. Although I received my Level 1 in Orff three years ago at the University of Regina, I have never attended one of their workshops so I decided to give it a try. Calla Isaak came in from Winnipeg with short notice as the previous guest speaker(s) unfortunately had to cancel, but they could not have found a better substitute. Calla, among being a renowned music educator and clinician, also has a great passion for West African drumming and continues to develop curriculum that focuses on this unique and cultural music.

We began by learning the two basic tones and six basic rhythms that one would teach their youngest students and continued to learn more complex rhythms and styles throughout the day. Calla taught us classroom management styles, one of which employed the universal beat. She also taught many ways to add interest and variety to drumming songs such as adding shakers and bells, improvisation, call and response sections, song and codas. In summary, Calla was able to infuse her workshop with teacher tips while teaching us practical drum knowledge.

All of Calla’s work in published in her book, African Drums and Beats, and contains as many practical songs and lessons as teacher tips. Thanks Sask Orff for providing us with such an enthusiastic and educational clinician as Calla!

Robin Howell
University of Regina student