Carabo-Cone, Dalcroze, Kodály, and Orff Schulwerk Methods: An Explanatory Synthesis of Teaching Strategies in Music Education 


Almighty C. Tabuena

Philippine Normal University, Philippines

*e-mail:  [email protected]


Article Information



Received: November 16, 2020

Revised: November 25, 2020

Accepted: November 25, 2020

Online: March 03, 2021



This study emphasizes findings from literature reviews that aimed to describe and present the current teaching strategies in Music education. These teaching strategies are one of the needed primary skills of Music teachers to address the learning challenges, competencies, and diverseness of the existing curriculum, help them to explore the needs of the students, and give them a framework of what could be the best and appropriate strategy in delivering a lesson. This study employed a descriptive method to gather information about present conditions through a library method and literature review. The data were analyzed using explanatory synthesis. Based on the literature review, the researcher identified four well-known teaching strategies in Music education: the Carabo-Cone Method, Dalcroze Method, Kodaly Method, and Orff Schulwerk Approach. The researcher used four criteria in synthesizing reviews such as the proponent, foundation, philosophy, and methodology. Conclusion of the results and discussions, the four teaching strategies also varied in four indicators, yet similarly focused on using the senses for holistic growth and development and providing all students with the opportunity to succeed. The quality of education depends mostly on the part of the teacher. The different Music teaching strategies serve as a guide to fulfilling the purpose satisfactorily that a teacher and a student needs. It is recommended to analyze its implications towards different modes of learning as global education facing numerous challenges in terms of economic crisis, pandemic, and educational incapability and inequalities that could affect the educational system.



approach, Carabo-Cone, Dalcroze, Kodály, method, music education, Orff, teaching strategy




This study focuses on the proponents, foundations, philosophies, and methodologies of current teaching strategies in Music education as one of the needed primary music teachers' primary skills to address the existing curriculum's learning competencies. In the rise of the K to 12 curricula, where the students are the primary emphasis (A. Tabuena, 2020b), teachers should be able to deliver and achieve quality instructions and education in which both the music and the Arts curricula focus on the learner as a recipient of the knowledge, values, and, skills essential for artistic expression and socio-cultural literacy. Consequently, through dynamic engagement, the learner is empowered to adequately correlate music and art to the advancement of his cultural identity and the development of his vision of the world (Department of Education, 2019). In the Philippines, following the K to 12 Music Curriculum Guide, students should demonstrate an understanding of basic concepts and processes in music and art through appreciation, analysis, and performance for his self-development, the recognition of his Filipino socio-cultural identity and diversity, and advancement of his world vision through observing, listening, responding, performing, and creating towards appreciation of the cultural richness of the different areas of music. In this case, growth and progress in the skills that enable the learners’ knowledge should be strengthened through productive involvement in the numerous musical processes and implementation of different teaching strategies to address diversity.

There are remarkable teachers have already communicated with their classroom strategies to manage the students in the class, to ensure that they will get a benefit in the lesson, obtaining more knowledge, value, and respect for others (A. Tabuena, 2019); (Almighty C. Tabuena et al., 2020). According to Tavakoli et al. (2017), practical teaching and teaching strategies affect how teachers practically approach students to improve the teaching-learning process. In the preface of the Philippine Society of Music Education (PSME) Curriculum Guide, it is specified that the underlying philosophy of the music education program is essentially aesthetic education, intended at supporting the learner acquire a sensitivity to the expressive qualities of music, but also acknowledging the social, ethical, psychological, physical and other values of Music (Atabug, 1975). It conforms with the basic philosophy of Music education linked in the PSME Workshop on “The Goals of Music Education” that the general prevailing goals of Music education throughout the Philippines in all educational levels such as a progressive program for Music literacy and a positive appreciation for Philippine Music and Music of other eras and cultures should be implemented.

In this light, an appropriate teaching strategy is perpetrated to assure learners’ progress in shifting from guided to an independent array of knowledge and skills and allowing them to carry this successfully in future circumstances. This view also acknowledges the diverseness, the need for multiple methods of measuring their diverging abilities and learning potentials, and learners' purpose as co-participants in the process. The implementation should be supported on the objectives of an instructional curriculum (Strickland et al., 1989); if programs for young learners are to be susceptible to their developmental needs, standards must be sufficed when framing teaching-learning methods: (a) objectives comprise all domains, (b) match between curriculum objectives and assessment goals, (c) ongoing, continuous and varied strategies, and (d) developmentally and culturally sensitive. The approach should be learner-centered, inclusive, developmentally relevant, and appropriate (Department of Education, 2019). This method and approach to education put students' inadequacies and interests at the center of the teaching-learning process. The curriculum also demands a relevant, responsive, and research-based approach founded on learning theories, principles, sound research, and studies. As this study addressed the demand, it also incorporated how effective teaching strategies would be and how it affects the students’ learning (Cooper, 2014); that is, a teaching strategy connects students’ engagement in the class. In this instance, this study aimed to identify and examine the overall teaching strategies in Music education as teachers, especially non-Music graduates, and educators should use a wide diversity of teaching strategies to teach and deliver a lesson. Discussing the teaching strategies in Music education would help professional teachers and student-teachers explore the students' needs. It would give them a concept and understanding of the best and appropriate method, approach, or strategy in delivering their lesson. Students will understand why teachers have different practices and procedures in their class, helping them be more open and grasp the differences among teachers' approaches. Based on the reviews, the researcher drew much of the processes in examining the current teaching strategies in Music education to address the learning challenges, competencies, and diverseness of the existing curriculum.



This study used a descriptive method to gather information about existing conditions (Subong, 2005). (Creswell et al., 2017) defines descriptive research as involving collecting data to respond to questions regarding the study's subject's current situation. In this research design, the library method (Sappe, 2020) and literature review (A. C. Tabuena, 2020b) were utilized to gather and synthesize the articles and scientific papers related to teaching strategies in Music education. In the limitation of this study, many articles and scientific papers were dated since the year 1950 as the methods in Music education introduced and developed approximately in the previous year. In this condition, this research paper would also update the literature regarding the previously published articles and scientific papers. Based on the literature review, the researcher identified four well-known teaching strategies in Music education: the Carabo-Cone Method, Dalcroze Method, Kodaly Method, and Orff Schulwerk Approach. The data, the identified four well-known teaching strategies in Music education, were analyzed through synthesis information (Murray, 2006) known as explanatory synthesis, a written discussion that draws on one or more sources then divide the subject into its parts and present them to the reader in a clear and orderly manner—using four criteria in analyzing the reviews, such as the proponent, foundation, philosophy, and methodology. This process also describes and explains previously reported significant results that examine the same phenomenon, known as meta-analysis (Zeng et al., 2014; Aburayya et al., 2020). Stanley (2001) noted that meta-analyses recognize the outcome of different data components and methodologies on the described results.




Table 1. Explanatory Synthesis of Teaching Strategies in Music Education



Carabo-Cone Method

Dalcroze Method

Kodaly Method

Orff Schulwerk Approach


Madeleine Carabo-Cone

Émile Jaques-Dalcroze

Zoltán Kodály

Carl Heinrich Maria Orff


Playing games on a musical playing field.

The body is the primary instrument;

unites music, movement, mind, and body.

The voice is the primary instrument. Singing is the foundation of musical learning.

It is introduced with an element of play.


The physical setup for the musical games, combined with creative and dramatic elements, presents the basic needs for musical learning.

His primary goal was to build up the inner ear to serve musical thinking, reading, and writing music without a musical instrument's aid.

Everyone has the right to musical literacy, thus

Music education must commence with children.

Thus, providing a chance for all; thus, musical freedom and improvisation are an essential part of a child's musical learning.


Sensory-Motor Approach

Eurhythmics, Solfege, and Improvisation

Solfège Hand Signs, Musical Shorthand Notation, and Rhythm Solmization

A mixture of Singing, Dancing, Acting, and the Use of Percussion Instruments


Carabo-Cone Method

Proponent. The Carabo-Cone Method was introduced and developed by Madeleine (Carabo-Cone, 1969) Carabo-Cone (June 2, 1916 - August 14, 1988), an American violinist music educator born in France. The Carabo-Cone Method is also connected with the “Sensory-Motor Approach ” (Madeleine Carabo-Cone, 1969). This method aims at providing the child with music education through games and socialization. 

Foundation. According to Carabo-Cone, learning must be integrated from the beginning; this is especially true of any skill that involves intricate physical coordination. For this reason, Carabo-Cone feels that the playing of games on a musical playing field, besides furnishing variety in recreation, contributes much to laying a sound foundation for the study of music. Also, psychologists agree that acting is a child’s substitute for abstract thinking. Motor behavior is the most conspicuous characteristic of childhood. Associated sounds, physical movement, tactile experience, space relationships, through personal comparison - all provide a ‘learning-in-depth.’ Even at an elementary level, these games develop instantaneous coordinations, keener perceptions, and visual focus, and they demand constant memory discipline, all of which are literally ‘brought into play.’

Philosophy. The psychological preparation of the Carabo-Cone, (1969) Method of teaching music, supported by the theory that structured subject matter can be grasped if translated into a concrete explorable environment, are discussed. A connection is made with other methods (M Carabo-Cone, 1959)(Dalcroze, Kodaly, Montessori, Orff, and Suzuki), and the room's arrangement and design as a learning environment and the musical staff as a mental platform are acknowledged. Attention is given to the child's body as a learning aid, motive, the mental and visual focus of concentration, developing skills, prevailing suggestions for teachers, and information of the rest of the method set pamphlets. The physical setup for playing the musical games, combined with creative and dramatic elements, introduces the basic requirements for learning music.

Methodology. The critical concepts linked with the (M Carabo-Cone, 1959) Method include sensory-motor, concrete environment, and musical games. This early-childhood method, sometimes referred to as the Sensory-Motor Approach in Music education, was formed by the violinist Madeleine Carabo-Cone. This method involves using costumes, props, and toys for children to discover basic musical concepts and notions of note duration, staff, and the piano keyboard. The specially organized classroom environment enables the child to acquire the music rudiments by exploring through the sense of touch. To be used in combination with all the games for every age group are the time-value, rhythm, and coordination games. Several activities and games such as Banners Flying, Feeling the Beat, Counting Measures, or Conducting Designs are vital in that they never outgrow their usefulness. Each game in classification has its learning goal clearly defined. The program aims to contribute musical literacy to all children instead of a random few.


Dalcroze Method

Proponent. Émile Jaques-Dalcroze (July 6, 1865 - July 1, 1950) was a Swiss composer, musician, and music educator who developed Dalcroze Eurhythmics, an approach to learning and experiencing music through movement. The Dalcroze Method is also connected with the “Sense of Rhythm.” This method ensures learning the sounds, fundamental elements of musical hearing, rhythm, and tempo correctly, while it establishes learning with gymnastics and games for a student to have permanent musical knowledge. 

Foundation. Dalcroze Eurhythmics is used to cultivate music appreciation, improvisation, and ear-training while advancing musical abilities. In this process, the body is the central instrument. Students listen to the rhythm of a piece of music and communicate what they hear through movement. Simply put, this method connects music, movement, mind, and body. Movement is the connection between ear and brain, directing the students to an integrated and deeply internalized understanding of music.

Philosophy. Dalcroze believed the first instrument that must be trained in music is the body. He produced techniques that merged hearing with a physical response, shifting to a physical response in singing and music reading (Estrella, 2018a). His primary goal was to amplify the inner ear to aid musical thinking, reading, and music writing without an instrument's aid. While advancing to develop his methodology, he recognized his students who could not play or perform in time in the music world could walk in time in the actual world. The walking was entirely spontaneous and straightforward.

Methodology. The key concepts associated with the Dalcroze Method include the following: eurhythmics, solfege, improvisation (Mead, 1996). Eurhythmics is a musical expression and interpretation through movement, strengthening musical skills through kinetic activities and exercises. The students can discover rhythm and structure by listening to music and expressing what they hear through spontaneous bodily movement. On the other hand, solfège helps improve ear-training and sight-singing skills. Dalcroze employed a fixed tonic solfége system (fixed-do), believing that all children can ultimately develop perfect pitch.

Further, improvisation is by using instruments, movement, and voice. Techniques of Dalcroze Eurhythmics, in 1905, he designed thousands of exercises and games by uniting beautiful music, intense listening, and consciously improvised movement. According to Dalcroze, the teacher must improvise and devise the songs for the music class's pursuits. The motion addressed by Dalcroze were: accents, duration, dynamics, movements, postures, and gestures to express the tempo and other rudiments of music that generate rhythmic material (Estrella, 2018b.)


Kodály Method

Proponent. Zoltán Kodály (December 16, 1882 - March 6, 1967) was a Hungarian composer, pedagogue, ethnomusicologist, philosopher, and linguist, known internationally as the author of the Kodály Method. The Kodály Method is also associated with the “Sense of Pitch.” In this method, children are first introduced to musical concepts through experiences and participation, such as singing, listening, or movement. Kodály found movable-do solfège to help develop a sense of tonal capacity, thus developing students’ sight-singing skills. 

Foundation. The Kodály Method improves musical skills and teaches musical concepts to very young children (Dikkaya et al., 2019). This method employs folk songs, movable-do, Curwen hand signs, rhythm symbols, pictures, and syllables (Estrella, 2019a). It was first organized in Hungary but now practiced in many countries, either in union or succession. To train a child a musical instrument without first providing him preliminary training or instruction and without forming singing skills, reading, and dictating to the highest level along with the playing is to build upon the sand (Choksy, 1981).

Philosophy. Kodály's main goal was to impart a lifelong love of music to his students and sensed that it was the child's school's responsibility to give this essential educational study element (Estrella, 2018a). Some of Kodály's trademark instructional methods involve applying solfège hand signs, stick notation such as the musical shorthand notation, and verbalization or rhythm solmization. The following are Zoltan Kodaly's philosophies, as well as his goals towards the method: (a) advance the level of teacher training and enhance musical literacy in schools; (b) everyone is capable and has the right and freedom to musical literacy; (c) singing is the cornerstone of musical learning; (d) music education must commence with the very young; (e) the value of using folk music and music of high artistic purpose; (f) including movement, games, playing instruments, music reading and writing with singing; and (g) sequential method supporting a child's natural learning growth and development.

Methodology. The key concepts associated with the Kodály Method include the following: movable do, hand signs, rhythmic syllables. Although the Kodály Method supports a set sequence, the materials utilized in teaching musical concepts vary depending on age. The sequence followed may be simplified as listening, singing, understanding, reading, writing, and creating. Using this process under the supervision of a certified Kodaly teacher, students can improve listening skills, sight-singing skills, ear-training abilities, learning to play musical instruments, composing, improvising, singing, dancing, analyzing, reading, and writing music. He initiates with sight-reading, learning primary rhythms, and acquiring pitch with a “hand-sign” method that helps children conceive the spatial relationship between notes. These hand-signs merged with solfege singing (e.g., do-re-mi) support in on-pitch singing. Kodaly is likewise identified for a system of rhythmic syllables to form a steady beat, tempo, and meter. A student in music naturally advances into a mastery of sight-reading skills and ear training abilities within these blended lessons. 


Orff Schulwerk Approach

Proponent. The Orff Schulwerk approach was introduced and amplified by Carl Heinrich Maria Orff (July 10, 1895 - March 29, 1982), a German composer and music educator, best known for his cantata Carmina Burana in 1937 (Rothstein, 1982; Estrella, 2019b). The concepts of his Schulwerk (schoolwork) were influential for children's music education. The Orff Schulwerk approach is also associated with the “Natural Sense of Play.” This approach starts with students' innate and natural abilities to engage in fundamental music forms, using basic melodies and rhythms. He acknowledges the whole body as a percussive instrument, and students are directed to improve their musical abilities to correspond to Western Music (Music et al., 2019).

Foundation. The Orff Approach is a means of educating children regarding music that involves their mind and body through a blend of acting, dancing, singing, and percussion instruments. For example, the approach usually employs instruments like glockenspiels, metallophones, and xylophones. A fundamental component of this approach is that lessons are implemented with an element of play, which benefits the children to learn at their comprehension level and understanding. Composition, improvisation, and a child's natural sense of play are reinforced. Elemental music is never just Music (Orff et al., 1950). It is treated with dance, movement, and speech, and so it is a form of music in which one must engage not as a listener or audience but as a co-participant, a co-performer.

Philosophy. Carl Orff's philosophy of education in music focuses on providing all students with the opportunity to succeed (Estrella, 2018a). This approach contains a series of steps that may be completed in any order. Musical independence (freedom) and improvisation (discovery) are an essential part of a young child's musical involvement and learning process, and the application of the Orff Approach can be a flourishing way of empowering students to manifest these ways. The Orff Approach in Music education is a "child-centered process of musical learning" that treats music as an entire system like language. It upholds that just as every child can learn a language without formal education, so can every child discover and learn music by a considerate and friendly (cooperative) approach (Campbell, 2008).

Methodology. The critical concepts connected with the Orff Approach include the following: exploration, improvisation/creation, independence, literacy (Orford, 2013). Orff's approach, formed for children but recently adopted also with adults, was founded on his belief that the most straightforward music teaching approach is to draw out the student's inherent and natural inclinations for melody and rhythm and enable these to expand in natural ways. Orff's approach guides the child by his intuition and inspiration from primitive to more advanced expression through stages conforming to Western music's evolution. Orff achieves this by employing a deliberately planned program, starting with speech patterns, then rhythmic movements, followed by two-note tunes, next moving rationally into a pentatonic melody. Adult pressure or stress and mechanical drill (exercises) are discouraged; on the contrary, improvisation is encouraged. The primary and minor melodies are presented as the final stage of the curriculum. Orff created a select group of musical instruments, including drums, glockenspiels, metallophones, xylophones, and other percussion instruments, to meet the necessities of the Schulwerk (schoolwork) courses.



The four methods of teaching strategies in Music education specified in this study varied in four indicators such as in the proponent, foundation, philosophy, and methodology, yet similarly focused on using the senses for holistic growth and development and providing the opportunity for all students to be successful as everyone is capable and has the right to musical literacy (Landis, 1972). The quality of education depends mostly on the part of the teacher. The different Music teaching strategies serve as a guide to fulfill the purpose that a teacher and student needs. The methods, approaches, and strategies of the teachers in the utilization of learning, learning difficulties. Learning styles include developmentally appropriate strategies, differentiated activities, and instructional materials, schematic processing, modeling, creative teaching strategies, and socialized classroom art of questioning (A. Tabuena, 2020a) by the Music teaching strategies by recognizing and assessing their students and applying the appropriate teaching strategies to learn and equip them for the 21st-century skills. Although this research study is limited to four Music teaching strategies, it will help future music directives and perspectives on evaluating appropriate teaching methods, approaches, or music education strategies. In this light, the researcher recommended analyzing its implications towards different modes of learning, that is, blended, distance, modular, self-directed, and online learning, as global education facing numerous challenges in terms of economic crisis, pandemic, educational incapability, and inequalities, and other related matters that could affect the educational system.



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