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Teacher Training and Pedagogy

Teacher Training, Pedagogy, and Continuous Professional Learning

Teacher Training and Pedagogy - piano teacher and student
Committed to the ongoing education of teachers and artists, The Royal Conservatory School in Toronto offers several certificate courses and is proud to set the national standard for pedagogy in Canada. If you have any questions about teacher education please contact [email protected].

Additional Qualifications at RCM

The Royal Conservatory is a provider of AQ courses for members of the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT), under Regulation 347/02 . We meet the rigorous standards for governance outlined by the College, and are guided by a distinguished Advisory Panel. These qualifications are added to individual teaching certificates, which are publicly available at

An Additional Qualification (AQ) is earned by taking courses or programs listed in the Teachers' Qualifications Regulation. The qualification earned by successfully completing a course is listed on your certificate. Visit the Ontario College of Teachers website for more information about AQs.

Participants in the Intro, Level I and II courses have the opportunity to complete supplementary components in order to receive credit for the Additional Qualification (AQ) courses Primary /Junior Music – Focus on Orff, Parts 1, 2 and 3. We also offer Summer Master Classes and Workshops led by internationally renowned clinicians.

Orff Learning Continuum

NOTE: When registering for RCM Orff courses candidates must complete a registration for Orff with, or without, AQ.

  • For AQ in P/J Vocal Music Part 1, register for Introduction to Orff
  • For AQ in P/J Vocal Music Part 2, register for Orff Level 1
  • For AQ in P/J Vocal Music Specialist, register for Orff Level 2
  • What is Orff?

    The Orff philosophy is an internationally recognized approach to teaching music in schools or group classes, fully aligned with Ontario Ministry of Education (2009) Arts Curriculum for music K-8. With the Orff approach teachers learn to foster student musical performance, literacy and creativity through carefully sequenced musical experiences using songs, games, rhythms, poems, dances, and stories from around the world. Participating teachers receive training from specialists in recorder playing, vocal techniques, the basics of movement education, playing percussion (Orff) instruments, and the Orff philosophy of music education.

Orff and Teacher Training Courses at the RCM in Toronto

More Teacher Education at RCM

  • Advanced Certificate in Early Childhood Music Education
    Educators, parents, musicians, and countless recent studies all point to the fact that music and young children are natural and productive partners. Music and movement encourage the development of strength, sensory motor control, coordination, and relaxation while other music activities, such as singing games, enhance language and communication skills. When taught through developmentally grounded programs, music often improves a child's ability to listen, concentrate, and communicate. Participation in musical group activities encourages the development of social skills. Neuroscientists have demonstrated that learning to play an instrument or sing leads to changes in a child's brain that make it more likely they will reach their full cognitive and academic potential.

    Do You Have the Skills to Develop This Potential?

    The Royal Conservatory's Advanced Certificate in Early Childhood Music Education (ECME) will round out your background to ensure that you do. You will benefit from courses taught by both The Royal Conservatory and The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University.

    Educators and musicians who work with children from birth to eight years of age are invited to enhance their work and advance their career by enrolling in this innovative certificate program.

    A customized course schedule allows students to acquire a balanced education that also fulfills individual requirements. To graduate, students complete eight courses on a part-time basis within a maximum of four years; many students complete the required courses in two years.

    After successfully completing eight courses (a combination of required courses and a wide selection of electives), teachers with a prior background in primary education, early childhood education, or music will graduate with the knowledge to provide effective music programs for enhanced child development.

    Admission Requirements

    Applicants must have one of the following or their equivalents:
    • ARCT Diploma (Teacher's or Performer's) from The Royal Conservatory
    • BA or BAA or other degree in Early Childhood Education
    • BEd from an Ontario Faculty of Education (Primary-Junior division)
    • BMus (Education) from a recognized faculty of music
    • Diploma in Early Childhood Education from an Ontario College of Applied Arts and Technology

    What Makes This Program Special?

    Upon acceptance, you will attend an individualized counselling session. The program coordinator will help you customize a program that will not only round out your education, but also provide the right skills to pursue your personal goals and fulfill the needs of both your current and future employers, and the young children in your care. Annual counselling will review your goals and progress to ensure your success in the program.

    A welcome session each September will integrate you into the program and connect you with your fellow students, faculty, and leaders in the field. You will also enjoy the personal attention available to you in the small classes taught by leading professionals in early childhood music education.

    Individual courses can provide valuable knowledge, but your customized program will offer you a well-balanced and complete education that will fulfill your special requirements. The ECME courses are complementary; the knowledge gained in one course will improve your success in another.


    As a graduate of The Royal Conservatory's Advanced ECME Certificate, you will have the opportunity to participate in The Conservatory's annual convocation ceremony held in Toronto.

    What Can I Expect After Graduation?

    Your expertise will be in demand for daycare centres, private schools, ECE placements in full-day kindergartens, music schools, and libraries.

    How to Apply

    Please note, we are currently not accepting applications for the Advanced Certificate in Early Childhood Music Education. Further details will be available soon.

    Admission Interview

    Once The Royal Conservatory receives your application package, you will be invited to a short admissions interview, where you will meet the program coordinator to discuss your interests and tailor the program to suit your goals. You may be asked to sing a simple song to help determine your placement.

    Course Selection

    The program coordinator will help you determine the best combination of courses to suit your background and career goals. Elective courses must be chosen with the approval of the coordinator. We recommend that students begin with their studies by taking Music in Early Childhood.

    Transfer Credits

    Students may transfer up to two relevant credits obtained from Ryerson University or The Royal Conservatory to the Advanced Certificate in Early Childhood Music Education. In addition, up to two credits will be considered for transfer credit from an outside institution. Courses considered for transfer credit will be at the discretion of the program coordinator, must have been completed within five years prior to registration in the program and must be approved by the admissions committee.

    Certificate Requirements

    The completion of eight courses is required for the Certificate. All courses must be completed within four years from admission into the program.

    Certificate Registration

    Students pursuing a Certificate must formally register in the program prior to the completion of the last six courses. We highly recommend registration prior to the commencement of any of the courses.

    Scholarships and Bursaries

    Applicants may be eligible for Royal Conservatory scholarship or bursary assistance.
    Scholarships and bursaries may also be available from outside organizations such as The Early Childhood Music Association of Ontario or Carl Orff Canada.

    Advanced Certificate in Early Childhood Music Education Courses

    A total of eight courses are needed for graduation: three required courses, a minimum of two from Elective Group 1, and a minimum of two from Elective Group 2. The program may be completed on a part-time basis within a maximum of four years. Many students complete it in less time. Some courses, including the recommended initial course, Music in Early Childhood, may be taken in the summer.

    Required Courses

    • Music in Early Childhood**
    • Music and Movement
    • Practicum in Music in Early Childhood
    • One of the following:
    • Musicianship for Teachers in ECE, Level 1
    • CVFS406 Guiding Children's Development*
    ** This course is offered in July every year, and may be taken as a single course without reference to the ECME certificate program.

    Electives I

    Minimum of one of the following four courses:
    • CCLD204 Early Childhood Advanced Studies: Psychomotor Development*
    • CCLD205 Early Childhood Advanced Studies: Children's Social & Emotional Well-Being*
    • CCLD206 Early Childhood Advanced Studies: Language Development*
    • CCLD307 Early Childhood Advanced Studies: Cognitive Development*

    Electives II

    Minimum of two of the following nine courses:
    • Orff Teacher Training - Introductory, Levels 1, 2, 3
    • Kodály Teacher Training - Levels 1, 2, 3
    • Musicianship for Teachers in ECE - Level 2
    • CCLD314 Literacy in the Early Years*
    Courses offered by specific accredited Societies may also be recognized in this category. Please inquire with [email protected] if you are interested in additional pedagogy offers.
    *Courses offered through The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson University.
    The ECME Student Handbook, available after acceptance into the program, contains in-depth course descriptions and prerequisites for courses. All courses and tuition are subject to change.
    For information about ECME classes, prerequisites, and application deadlines, please contact [email protected].
  • Kodály Teacher Training: Level 1 and Level 2

    The famous Kodály method develops the ability to read, write, hear, and think musically through singing. These courses are part of a three-level certificate program that explores the teaching philosophy and method originated by Zoltán Kodály. Students who successfully complete all three levels receive a certificate issued by The Royal Conservatory with the Kodály Society of Canada.

  • Suzuki Teacher Training: Violin, Cello and Piano

    The Royal Conservatory, in collaboration with the Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA), offers courses in Suzuki education and professional development in Suzuki violin, cello, and piano.

  • FREE Resources for Continuous Professional Learning in Early Childhood Music Education
  • Scholarship Support for Teachers

    The Lois Birkenshaw-Fleming Creative Teaching Scholarship

    The Lois Birkenshaw-Fleming Creative Teaching Scholarship is available to applicants who are registered for the courses listed below at the Royal Conservatory School.

    Eligible Programs:

    • Orff Pedagogy Introduction
    • Orff Pedagogy Level I
    • Orff Pedagogy Level II
    • Orff Pathways master class
    • Music in Early Childhood

    Required Documentation

    • Completed Application (webform)
    • Letter of Intent:
      • describing your interest in developing children’s musical creativity through music
    • Curriculum vitae
    • Two (2) reference letters:
      • one from an education specialist or a music/arts consultant/supervisor
      • from a previous music pedagogy course instructor, where possible
    • Transcripts of grades OR certificates from any previous music pedagogy courses not taken at The Royal Conservatory

    Non-completion of the application form and required documentation will result in the candidate’s ineligibility to receive the scholarship. Applicants will not be contacted for missing information.

    Please note, we are currently not accepting applications for the The Lois Birkenshaw-Fleming Creative Teaching Scholarship. Further details will be available soon.


    Lois Birkenshaw Fleming

    Lois Birkenshaw-Fleming was an inspiring music educator who was one of the pioneers of teacher education at the Royal Conservatory of Music and elsewhere. She was the Head of the Orff Department for the old Toronto Board of Education during the 1970-80’s, where she led a team of outstanding instructors who taught in all the downtown Toronto schools, armed with creativity, xylophones, music from many cultures, and a deep commitment to holistic music education.

    In tandem with this position, Lois became an instructor of Orff Levels Courses at York University, and in due course became the Director of the Orff Teacher Training Program at the Royal Conservatory. She led courses and workshops across Canada and in South Africa, Germany, Great Britain, Finland and the United States, and was personally connected to Orff and music educators worldwide. She wrote numerous practical and comprehensive books for music educators: Music for Fun Music for Learning (Apprenons-nous par la musique), The Goat with the Bright Red Socks, Musictime K-3 and 4-6, Come on Everybody Let's Sing, (Épanouissons-nous par la musique) and An Orff Mosaic from Canada: Orff au Canada: Une mosaïque. Lois’s passionate belief in the importance of creative work by children, and her insistence on informed practices addressing inclusion and equity are part of the reason these books continue to be essential to elementary music educators. She became an internationally recognized leader in the field of music for children with special needs, with a special interest in the hard of hearing, authoring a number of books on the subject, including Music for All.

    Lois was honored by numerous organizations, including The Royal Conservatory of Music which made her an Honorary Fellow in 2003. Her post-retirement life was one of unceasing advocacy, working on the board of the fledgling Coalition for Music Education in Canada, establishing and funding this scholarship, founding the Pedagogy Collection at the Royal Conservatory Library and donating her own books to it, and countless other activities.

    Lois is remembered by those who knew her for her fierce loyalty to her friends, her sense of humour, her crazy energy, and her courageous example of a life of service. The Lois Birkenshaw-Fleming Scholarship is part of her continuing legacy to children, aspiring elementary music educators and The Royal Conservatory; it was renamed in her honour after her death in 2015.

    “Let the children be their own composers.” - Carl Orff

Frequently Asked Questions about Additional Qualification (AQ) with Orff Focus