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Students in graduate music class

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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.

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.

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.

Course Offerings

Raise the Bar

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

How to Register

New students should complete a non-degree application. Those with an inactive St. Thomas identification number should email music@stthomas.edu for registration instructions.

All current students with an active identification number register for courses through Murphy Online on OneStThomas.


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!

Picture of Mary Beth Alexander

Mary Beth Alexander, Level I

Mary Beth Alexander (she/her) teaches K-4th grade music and movement at The Nightingale-Bamford School in New York City. In addition to her ongoing work in the elementary music classroom, she teaches a middle school drumming elective and serves as a member of the Lower School leadership team.

In addition to teaching Level I Basic at the University of St. Thomas, Mary Beth teaches movement in levels I, II and III in the Memphis Orff Course. She is committed to addressing issues of equity and inclusivity in the music classroom through culturally responsive and anti-bias teaching practices. In addition to her work as a teacher in the Orff approach, Mary Beth is a singer and violinist with an active performing career in New York City.

Mary Beth Alexander
Megan Tietz

Megan Tietz, Level II

Meg Tietz teaches K-5 movement and music at Saint Paul Academy in St. Paul, Minnesota. Meg completed her Master of Arts 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 teaches summer Orff Levels at Southern Methodist University, Metro State University, and the University of St. Thomas. Meg has served the American Orff Schulwerk association as a member of various subcommittees and also as a Trustee on the National Board.

Megan Tietz
Picture of Jay Broeker

Jay Broeker, Level III

Jay Broeker serves as Director of Visual and Performing Arts at Blake School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mr. Broeker holds Kodály and Orff Schulwerk certification, and is a frequent clinician for national and state music education organizations in the areas of musical creativity, curriculum development, and effective teaching practice. During the summer he is an instructor in music teacher education courses at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, and the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. His choral arrangements are published by Santa Barbara Music Publishing and by Boosey & Hawkes.

Jay Broeker
Andrew Ellingsen

Andrew Ellingsen, Movement

Andrew Ellingsen works as an Education Program Coordinator at Vesterheim Folk Art School. Ellingsen taught elementary music and worked as an instructional coach in Iowa and Minnesota for nearly twenty years. 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. Ellingsen has taught movement in the Orff courses at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, and the University of Memphis in Memphis, TN and has presented at both OAKE and AOSA national conferences.

Andrew Ellingsen
Picture of Mona Mann

Mona Mann, Recorder

Mona Mann currently teaches K-4 general music in River Forest, Illinois. She leads Recorder Clubs in her school district, and plays regularly with her own group, Recorder Disorder.

Ms. Mann completed her Orff-Schulwerk levels at the University of Saint Thomas and the University of Kentucky. She has presented for the Fox Valley and Heart of Illinois Orff chapters, and at the 2015 AOSA National Conference, as well as for the Junior Music Educators conference in northern Illinois, and the 2018 summer Orff course in Pasadena, CA. She serves on the recorder faculty for the Whitewater Early Music Festival in Whitewater, Wisconsin. She has recently completed training for Suzuki Recorder Units 1, 2, and 3.

Mona Mann