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Students in graduate music class

Enhance your knowledge and skillset

Orff Schulwerk Certificate

Orff Schulwerk Certificate Program

The University of St. Thomas Orff Schulwerk certificate program has been a model of innovation for Orff certification courses offered in the United States. The St. Thomas Orff curriculum features education in subjects required by the American Orff Schulwerk Association: technique and improvisation, analysis and arranging, pedagogy, movement, and recorder - all of which are highlighted in individual classes and integrated through literature study.

A distinctive feature of the St. Thomas program is the opportunity for students to engage in practical application of ensemble work in a daily pedagogy hour at each level of study. Orff Schulwerk study at St. Thomas introduces students to music education that emphasizes skill development and musical understanding through creative participation in open-ended activities. The national standards for music are addressed through an approach that develops the body, ear and mind in a variety of collective music-making processes. The development of musical and pedagogical skills occurs in an atmosphere of joyful exploration in an Orff Schulwerk approach to music education.

Student leaning against a table laughing.

01 Get a feel for the program

Life as a Student

People of all walks of life come to St. Thomas to study music for the faculty expertise, the community and for the reward.

Students practicing recorder.


Classes and Curriculum


Orff Schulwerk Levels I, II, III (GMUS 731, 732, 733; 3 credits/course) and Orff Curriculum Development (GMUS 735, 2 credits) are required for University of St. Thomas Orff Mastery Certificate students. 

Orff Schulwerk Levels I-III

8 a.m.-4:45 p.m. | July 26

8:30 a.m.-4:45 p.m. | July 27-Aug. 6

Orff Curriculum Development

Diana Hawley

9 a.m.-2 p.m. | Aug. 2-6

For information about membership and national conferences, visit Minnesota Orff or your local chapter's website to learn more about workshops happening throughout the year.


Summer 2021 Course Offerings

Raise the Bar

Browse the summer course catalog for full descriptions and to see all of your options for creating music and movement this summer.

How to Register

New students and those with an inactive St. Thomas identification number should complete and return a course registration form

Tuition Rate: $625 per Credit

This rate applies to all graduate courses regardless of degree level or program, including non-degree enrollment. 


Our Orff Faculty are considered to be among the most creative and talented team of teacher educators in the country. You will have the opportunity to learn about the approach from those who apply it in their own classrooms each and every school year. This is an opportunity for you to gain insights from their experiences of sharing Orff Schulwerk all over the world!

Beth Melin Nelson

Dr. Beth Melin Nelson

Dr. Beth Melin Nelson teaches K-5 music at St. Paul Academy and Summit School in St. Paul, MN, where she is also the Assistant Principal. She teaches on the faculties of the Orff Schulwerk teacher training courses at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, and at the University of St. Thomas, MN, where she also serves as the Course Director.

Dr. Beth Melin Nelson
Andrew Ellingsen

Andrew Ellingsen

Andrew teaches elementary music and works as an instructional coach in Decorah, IA. He earned his B.A. at Luther College and his M.A.M.E. at the University of St. Thomas with a dual concentration in Kodály and Orff Schulwerk. He has served on the OAKE national board, a committee for AOSA, and has held leadership positions in state and regional organizations for both Orff Schulwerk and Kodály.

Andrew Ellingsen
Megan Tietz

Megan Tietz

Meg Tietz teaches K-5 music in New Prague, Minnesota after several years of teaching in Texas. Meg completed her Masters Degree with a concentration in Orff Schulwerk at the University of St. Thomas. She is an active presenter for local and national workshops and conferences and also teaches Movement and Basic Ensemble during summer levels training courses. Meg is also a past President of the Gulf Coast Orff Association.

Megan Tietz