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American Orff-Schulwerk Association Founding Members
by Mark A. Francis*
In her portrait series exposé on Norman Goldberg, Pam Hetrick states quite eloquently that "Norman Goldberg is many things to the American Orff-Schulwerk Association. He is one of its founding members, was named an Honorary Member in 1984, received the first AOSA Industry Award in 1998, was recognized in 2003 for his perfect attendance at all of AOSA’s annual national conferences, distributed Studio 49 instruments for more than three decades and has been a steadfast friend and supporter of Orff Schulwerk since its beginnings. The integrity of our association owes much to this energetic, hard-working, sincere and insightful man."
Norman Goldberg began his teaching career in Missouri in 1942. He went on to teach orchestra for four years at University City High School in the St. Louis area. In 1948, Goldberg began his business, Baton Music, with the store in the back of his car. Sixteen years later, Baton Music had become MMB Music, and was the biggest dealer of Sonor instruments. Over time, MMB Music also became the U.S. agent for Studio 49 Orff instruments. Norman first heard of Orff Schulwerk in 1962 when he attended an MENC conference in Chicago. There he saw a presentation with Doreen Hall, Grace Nash and Children from the Music Center of the North Shore. Inspired by what Goldberg called an "important direction in music education," he started organizing Orff Schulwerk workshops in the St. Louis area. Over the next several years, Norman would attend numerous North American music education conferences and symposia. He met and befriended many Orff Schulwerk pioneers, including Arnold Burkart at the first Bellflower Symposium in 1967. On May 11 1968, Goldberg was one of the ten AOSA founders present at Burkart’s home in Muncie, Indiana.
Norman had the opportunity to meet Carl Orff in 1970. "He was a warm, kind and gentle man," Goldberg recalled. Around this time, MMB Music joined with Schott in a joint venture to distribute the English edition of Volume 3, The Schulwerk, of Carl Orff’s autobiography. MMB had also become one of the only distributors of music therapy materials. From 1997-1998, Norman was instrumental in facilitating collaboration between AOSA and the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). Today music for all ages as well as music therapy is an integral part of Orff Schulwerk conferences. Norman Goldberg continues to promote music, education and peace around the world through local and international projects. "We have to do anything we can to help promote peace in the world," he said. "Music is life, and life is music."
Burkart, Arnold E. “The American Orff-Schulwerk Association: The First Five Years,”
Supplement No. 2, American Orff-Schulwerk Association, (1973)
Hetrick, Pam. “Norman Goldberg and the Power of Music” The Orff Echo 37, no. 2 (Winter 2005).
Osterby, Patricia. “Orff Schulwerk in North America, 1955-1969.” Ed.D. diss., University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign, 1988.
*Mark Francis teaches lower school music and choir at the Bush School in
Seattle, Washington. Mark earned his Master of Arts degree with a
concentration in Orff Schulwerk from the University of St. Thomas in St.
Paul, Minnesota and currently serves on the AOSA History Committee.
Our mission is: to demonstrate the value of Orff Schulwerk and promote its widespread use; to support the professional development of our members; and to inspire and advocate for the creative potential of all learners.