Orff Music Therapy: History, Principles and Further Development – Melanie Voigt

Special Issue 5 (2) 2013 – Article

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Orff Music Therapy: History, Principles and Further Development

Melanie Voigt

(pp. 97-105)


Orff Music Therapy, a developmental approach to music therapy, was developed by Gertrud Orff within the framework of social paediatrics in Munich, Germany. A short historical background of Orff Music Therapy is discussed. The history of the clinical setting in which it was developed is described as is Gertrud Orff’s professional background. The role of Orff-Schulwerk in Orff Music Therapy and the development of theoretical foundations are discussed. Current principles and practice of Orff Music Therapy, illustrated by a case example show how the profile of Orff Music Therapy has developed. On the basis of the case example, theory is related to practice. Finally, changes influencing Orff Music Therapy today, training and research are considered.


Orff Music Therapy; developmental disabilities; Gertrud Orff; developmental music therapy


Melanie Voigt, PhD, University of Texas: Bachelor, Master and PhD in music education. Melanie has teaching experience in U.S. public schools and received training in music therapy with Gertrud Orff. Since 1984, she has been head of the music therapy department at the Kinderzentrum München and is head of the private training course in Orff Music Therapy. Melanie lectures at the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt where she is lecturer for Orff Music Therapy on the Bachelor in social work with an emphasis on music therapy, and lecturer and co-coordinator of the Master’s programme. Melanie is a member of the Ständige Ausbildungsleiterkonferenz Musiktherapie (SAMT) and delegate for the Federal Association of Music Therapy in the European Music Therapy Confederation. She has published her work in English and German, and spoken at a range of international congresses.

Email: Melanie.Voigt@kbo.de