The OSW as an elemental musical and dance educational concept activates anthropological expressive potential and cross-cultural musical behaviour and thereby not only provides musical educational opportunities, but also opens up numerous general educational, integrative and therapeutic possibilities.

It is vital to distinguish between conception and publication in the essence of the OSW. The timeless conceptual idea involves the stimulation and encouragement of expressive, creative musical behaviour within a close relationship between music, language and movement.

The realisation involves group improvisatory processes, whereby ›simple‹ forms in an anthropological sense determine rhythm, melody, tonal events, structure and musical interaction. The publications OSW ›Elementare Musikübung‹ (1932-1935) and OSW ›Musik für Kinder‹ (1950-1954) provide models for interactive musical tuition, but in their fixed written form naturally also reflect the then contemporary components of cultural activity.

False interpretations and falsifications of the OSW continue to be produced today, specifically through the reproduction of the notated elements from OSW publications outside their intellectual and educational context, i.e. primarily lacking the elements of improvisation and movement.            
The authentic realisation of the OSW must take particular educational principles and content material into consideration.

Teachers are advised

  • to begin with initial processual situations, i.e. to define specific material through experimentation, repetition and alteration, then progress from exploration to the »adventure of improvisation« (U. Jungmair) and only then utilise any form of notation on a secondary level.
  • to stage learning as an interactive process within the group, i.e. the realisation of both fixed and improvised content in call and response elements, echo elements and rondo elements and simultaneously permit a variety of performance levels.
  • to integrate movement, speech, singing and instrumental playing to the greatest possible degree, i.e. allowing one element to develop from another and combining all activities in concluding creative projects.
  • to give priority to “building block” structures and the pattern principle,  i.e. the utilisation of small, manageable structural elements to reduce excessive demands and uncertainty in the creation of individual ideas on the one hand and, on the other hand, to achieve the modernisation of a musical composition principle which is prevalent worldwide.

The content guidelines are to be understood in the sense of the didactic term learning content: 

  • Rhythm as the interconnecting element of music, language and movement is a fundamental omnipresent element of learning content and is given primary significance in the OSW, especially within the areas of body percussion, dance movement forms and the playing of percussion instruments.

  • Melodies should evolve out of spontaneous vocal declamations such as affect-laden speech, calls, recitation, humming, singing or exploratory playing on elemental melodic instruments (recorders or mallet instruments). Here the primary role is undertaken by the appropriate expressive model and the resulting melodic phrase. The establishment of a mode or key is a secondary process.

  • Activities with tonal and harmonic structures must begin with a fundamental underlying note, i.e. with the bourdon principle. Rhythm and melody provide a basic structure in the ›rhythmic-melodic exercises‹ which is supported by a monotone. Experimentation and improvisation are not dependent on a polyphonic structure in the sense of Western music. The tonal extension is structured with the aid of terraced harmony, parallelism and layering.
Michael Kugler, July 2008


Abb: 1-4 Peter Keetman

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