Orff-Schulwerk Levels I & II

GRAOSA is happy to announce that Nazareth College will be hosting Orff-Schulwerk level courses this summer. Levels I and II will be held in July led by BethAnn Hepburn, Karen Medley and Connie Van Engen. Levels courses are a great opportunity to deepen your understanding of Orff-Schulwerk and to improve your teaching and performing skills. For more information see the flyer below and scan the QR code.

Winter Workshop 1/23/21

Join us for GRAOSA’s second workshop of the year on January 23, 2021 with Kathleen Sullivan and Sheila Sullivan Buck. This will be a virtual workshop from 9am to 2pm with lunch and other small breaks. Membership forms can be completed online from the Membership Page. Single workshop registration is also available on the Workshop page. We are now offering CTLE credits for our workshops!

Kathleen Sullivan & Sheila Sullivan BuckTreasured Tunes and Tales: A Pandemic of Possibilities

In this workshop, participants will sing, move, play, and create using musical treasures old and new.

Kathleen Sullivan received a B.S. in Music Education from Nazareth College and a M.M. from Eastman School of Music.  She completed three levels of Orff Schulwerk teacher training at Eastman School of Music, three levels of Kodály teacher training at Hartt School of Music and Nazareth College, and studied at the Orff Institute in Salzburg, Austria.  Ms. Sullivan received additional training in early childhood music with specialists in that field:   Dr. John Feierabend of Hartt School of Music, Dr. Donna Brink Fox of Eastman School of Music, and Lynn Kleiner of Music Rhapsody.   

Ms. Sullivan is a retired music teacher, having taught elementary vocal/general music for 29 years, mostly in the Greece Central School District.  In addition to her work in the public schools, Ms. Sullivan has participated in community and church music programs as a performer, accompanist, piano teacher, and choir director.  Ms. Sullivan is a past-president of the Greater Rochester American Orff Schulwerk Association (GRAOSA) and served three terms on the Board for that organization as secretary, vice-president, and president.   She has presented music workshops for GRAOSA, Nazareth College, and NYSSMA (New York State School Music Association).  

In December, 2015, Ms. Sullivan and Dr. Keith Koster of Nazareth College, presented a research grant paper “Standardized Test Scores and Instrumental Music Students Who Receive Pullout Instruction:  A Preliminary Analysis” at the NYSSMA Winter Conference, which was published in the May, 2016 edition of School Music News.  Ms. Sullivan was the 2016 recipient of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Musicians’ Award for Outstanding Music Educators in the area of Classroom Music Specialist.

Currently, Ms. Sullivan is working as an adjunct faculty member at Nazareth College supervising student teachers.  She is also the co-coordinator for the Orff Schulwerk Levels teacher training course that will now take place at Nazareth College.  Levels I and II will be offered July 19-30, 2021.

Sheila Sullivan Buck teaches vocal and general music at Sherman Elementary School in the Rush-Henrietta CSD.  Ms. Buck has presented for the American Orff-Schulwerk Association National Conference, the New York State School Music Association, TTOSA, WNYOSA, and the Monroe County School Music Association.  She has served the Greater Rochester American Orff-Schulwerk Association as President, Vice President, and Treasurer, and the MCSMA as All-County Coordinator.   Ms. Buck received her Orff Teacher Training from the Eastman School of Music, a M. Ed. From Roberts Wesleyan College, and a B. Music in Vocal Performance, summa cum laude, with Honors, from Syracuse University.  She was the 2014 recipient of the RPO Outstanding Music Educator for Classroom Music.   She was a regular member of the Mercury Opera Chorus. In addition, Ms. Buck is the President of the Rush-Henrietta Employees’ Teachers’ Chapter and a NYSUT endorsed member of the Board of Trustees for the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System.  She enjoys gardening and golf, spending time at home with her family and is super happy to be presenting with her sister today!

How to register and attend the workshop?

If you already have a membership for this year- You are all set! The Zoom link will be emailed to you prior to the workshop!

If you would like to register for this workshop only click our workshop page and scroll down to single workshop registration. Once registered, you will be emailed the Zoom link prior to the workshop.

A link to a form will be sent out through Zoom at the end of the workshop to request inservice/CTLE credits.

9/26/2020 Denise Gagne

Join us for GRAOSA’s first workshop of the year on September 26, 2020. This will be a virtual workshop from 9am to 2pm with lunch and other small breaks. Membership forms can be completed online from the Membership Page. Single workshop registration is also available on the Workshop page. We are now offering CTLE credits for our workshops!

Denise GagneMaking Music Classes Meaningful

In this session, Denise will share easy ways to plan lessons with activities that can be done in distance learning or in spaced classrooms.   She’ll share ways to adapt existing teaching strategies to ways that will work virtually or in spaced classrooms.  You’ll have fun playing, moving, listening, reading, writing, creating and maybe some singing and recorder if we “flip” the instruction.

Denise Gagne is a music specialist with 40 years of experience teaching band, choir and classroom music from pre-school to College levels.  Her choirs and bands won many awards at Music Festivals and performed for local and national sporting events, on national radio and even for the Queen.  Denise has a Bachelor of Music from the University of Victoria,  a Bachelor of Education from the University of Saskatchewan, a Diploma in Music from the University of Auckland (pending), and a Post Graduate Diploma in Fine Arts (Kodàly Level 3) from the University of Calgary with Lois Choksy.  She has completed Orff Level 3 and additional Orff training with Cindy Hall, Jay Broeker, Jos Wuytack and Donna Otto.

Denise has served on the boards of the Saskatchewan Music Educators Association, the Saskatchewan Band Association, and served for eight years on the board of the Kodàly Society of Canada.  Denise is currently managing editor of Themes & Variations, preschool music teacher and frequent visitor to Red Deer elementary school music classrooms.

Denise is the author or editor of more than 100 publications for K- 6 music teachers.    She has been a workshop presenter in every Canadian province and territory and all 50 states.  She presents regularly for Orff and Kodaly workshops, preschool and kindergarten conferences in Canada, the USA, Asia, and Australia!   Her workshops are fun, practical, and activity based! 

Announcing GRAOSA’s 2020-2021 Workshop Schedule

The 2020-2021 GRAOSA workshop series will begin with Denise Gagne. This workshop will be virtual from 9am to 2pm with multiple small breaks and a lunch break. Denise will offer suggestions for teaching virtual as well as in-person distanced classes with an emphasis on activities that can work in all situations. She will also offer suggestions on how to adapt material for different learning situations.

GRAOSA workshops can now provide CTLE credits! Attend the workshops for the entire length for credit!

Check our our membership page for online registration!

GRAOSA Statement

As music educators, we are charged with teaching not just music and movement, but also respect and inclusion.  As such, GRAOSA recognizes and denounces actions that undermine this work.

GRAOSA denounces injustices imposed on any communities of color; and, particularly, we condemn the violence against Black communities in our country.  We reaffirm our commitment to supporting who we serve which include Black teachers, Black students, and Black families.  We believe Black Lives Matter.

GRAOSA condemns the systemic racial inequalities of our country as we evolve in our awareness of who GRAOSA is and what that represents. 

GRAOSA calls on our membership to support all the students we teach along with their families and their communities, inside and outside of the music classroom.

We pledge to reflect on our organizational practices in order in implement policies that dismantle injustice within our organization.  We will renew and invigorate our work in listening to the Black voices around us and within our ranks so that we will know and do better.

Tim Weigand Presents on March 7

Tim Wiegand graduated from Syracuse University with a BA in Music Education, and received his Masters Degree with an “emphasis in Orff-Schulwerk” from The University of Nevada Las Vegas.  Tim has been teaching Elementary General Music in the Clark County School District for over 21 years and is a regular presenter for school district staff developments.  Tim directed performance groups at the 2002 AOSA Conference. In 2004, 2005, 2010, 2013 and 2015 Tim also presented sessions at the AOSA National Conference.  Tim has been presenting Orff workshops all over the country and Canada since 2004.  Being a percussionist in the field of Orff-Schulwerk has been a natural fit for Tim. 

Tim’s workshop is titled: “Energize Your Music Room then Light Up the Stage!”

For this workshop he will be presenting a continuation of  his  2010 National Conference session titled “Engaging Games, Activities that Work”.  In this two part workshop you can expect to walk away with several practical, creative classroom lessons that will energize and motivated your students to participate like never before.  We will then experience some original performance pieces for choirs, recorder clubs, dance teams, and mallet ensembles intended to raise the level of students’ musicianship.  Along the way Tim will share some great percussion techniques, classroom management ideas, and give examples of incorporating technology into your performances.   

Tim’s Website:


**All workshops  will be held at Crane Elementary School, 85 Shell Edge Drive, Henrietta NY 14623

Driving Directions: https://goo.gl/maps/R4Z5B1wMJKx

All workshops are included in the cost of membership to GRAOSA.

Saturday workshops are from 9:00 am until 2 pm; participants will receive 5 professional development credit hours. Participants must be present for the entire session to receive their PD certificate.

  • Continental breakfast is available from 8:30-9:00 am.
  • Bring a bag lunch or order pizza.
  • Browse a selection of children’s books, puppets, small instruments and “Presenter’s Picks” offered by Lift Bridge Book Shop.

January Workshop- So Much Fun!

James DesJardins is a man of boundless energy! From bucket drumming to energetic dancing to choral reading and instrumental arrangements , he skillfully facilitated a workshop that provided an abundance of appealing material to bring to the Orff-Schulwerk classroom. Several college students from Nazareth and Houghton enthusiastically joined in to celebrate music in its many forms.


Celebrating 50 Years of Orff- Schulwerk ! GRAOSA-1970-2020

January 25- James DesJardins

March 7- Tim Wiegand

Last January, James DesJardin’s workshop was cancelled due to weather. We are thrilled to welcome him on January 25th! James will present “The Process-Driven Life”

“The Process-Driven Life: Engaging students in an active,purposeful musical environment.”

I believe in the power of great teaching, and in the power of great music. James DesJardins

This workshop promises that “Participants will experience an active journey through materials for general music class and chorus, focusing on engaging pedagogical process.”

The workshop will held from 9AM until 2PM on Saturday, January 25, at Crane Elementary School, 85 Shell Edge Drive, Henrietta NY 14623. Come early and enjoy a bagel or other breakfast treat!

A little bit about James: He teaches “nearby”- in Buffalo. He has been with the NYS public schools since 2006, is a prolific composer and has a great website, http://www.elementarymusicteacher.com. Check it out-it has some great freebies!

March 7 Tim Wiegand

Folk Dancing Abounds in our Fall GRAOSA Workshop!

The smiles and laughter were sure indicators of a workshop filled with the fun of dancing, as Andrew Ellingsen skillfully presented a workshop which sequenced classroom folk dancing. Basic circle steps were built upon to achieve a set of skills that left GRAOSA members and guests amazed at the level of competence they had achieved by workshop’s end! College students who attended seemed to enjoy the first workshop of the 2019-20 school year as much as seasoned Orff-Schulwerk teachers. Such a level of proficiency encourages us to look ahead to our other workshops:

January 25- James DesJardins

March 7- Tim Weigand