What follows is an outline of a suggested Waldorf music curriculum, grades 1-8.* It comes out of my own extensive study of anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner’s indications, both in child development and music, and many years of teaching experience. It is a curriculum developed in my own school, with its own special needs and parameters and does not necessarily represent every Waldorf music curriculum. One will find as many different configurations in Waldorf school music programs as there are schools and teachers carrying out the programs. There are some fundamental qualities, however, that characterize a healthy music curriculum as relates to the picture of soul development as indicated by Rudolf Steiner, out of which Waldorf education comes.
Every school has its own unique set of circumstances; budgets, personnel, physical facilities, age of the school, etc. all have their influence in the actual manifestation of the program. Having said that, there is also an effort underway to explore and develop more consciousness in the context of a Waldorf music curriculum. An association of those interested in Waldorf music education (AWME – Association for Waldorf Music Education) exists to study, discuss and learn more about what the nature of Waldorf music really means and how we can bring it forward in our teaching. It is also committed to supporting the research and development of new anthroposophical music impulses, ideas and instrumentarium.
I would like to acknowledge a few very important teachers from whom I have learned a great deal, and who have led me to further research and experimentation in this area of Waldorf music education. I want to thank Pär Ahlbom (Sweden), Peter-Michel Riehm (Germany), Fabian Lochner (England) and Michael Deason-Barrow (England), for the experiences and knowledge that they have shared with me, both through their writings, compositions and in various scholarly settings.
The following offering is part of a work that will hopefully be developed further as a larger published work or book, and any reproduction or use of this material is not permitted without express written permission by the author.
*This is only the introduction. AWME president Andrea Lyman offers the comprehensive, full text of the Waldorf Music Curriculum in Grades 1-8 for AWME members only: join AWME here!