About Doug Goodkin

Doug Goodkin is most well-known for his work as a music educator and particularly as a proponent of Orff Schulwerk, a dynamic approach to music education developed by composer Carl Orff and his colleague, Gunild Keetman. This work has led him deeper into education as a means to shape the future by meeting the promise of humanity in each of its developmental phases. A career of working with preschool, elementary, middle school, college students and adults has provided insight into the special needs of each age level and the universal needs of all ages. Traveling and teaching throughout the world has helped sift out where cultures both differ and converge and inspired him to celebrate both. Over four decades of work in one school has given him the opportunity to help shape a community that inspires the higher impulses of children and adults alike. Experienced teacher, perpetual student, avid reader, prolific writer, performing musician, social activist, jazz aficionado and piano player, Zen Buddhist practitioner, and world traveler, Doug's diverse work and interests are tied together by a vision of celebrating individual flowering within the circle of community. 

BRIEF VITAE: Doug Goodkin retired in June 2020 after 45 years at The San Francisco School, where he taught music and movement to children between three years old and eighth grade since 1975. He continues to regularly give workshops for Orff Chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as presenting at State and National Conferences. He is an internationally recognized Orff Schulwerk teacher, teaching courses throughout Europe (Austria, Belgium, Canary Islands, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Estonia, France, Finland, Germany, Norway, The Netherlands, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey), Asia (China, Japan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam), Australia (Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne), New Zealand, Africa (South Africa,Ghana, Morocco), South America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Columbia). He is the director of The San Francisco Orff Certification Course, teaches his own course on Jazz and Orff Schulwerk in San Francisco and co-directs and teaches in the Orff-Afrique Course in Dzodze, Ghana. Doug received the distinguished Pro Merito Award from the Orff Foundation in Munich, Germany for his contributions to Orff Schulwerk in July, 2000 and the Distinguished Service Award from the American Orff Schulwerk Association in November, 2018.

Doug is featured in The Secret Song, a documentary film chronicling his last year of teaching at The San Francisco School. The film has recently been accepted to film festivals in Orlando, Florida and Barcelona, Spain. (See www.thesecretsongfilm.com).

Doug is the author of nine books on music education: A Rhyme in Time, Name Games, Sound Ideas (Alfred Pub.), Play, Sing and Dance: An Introduction to Orff Schulwerk (Schott), Now's the Time: Teaching Jazz to All Ages, All Blues: Jazz for the Orff Ensemble, Intery Mintery: Nursery Rhymes for Body, Voice and Orff Ensemble, The ABCs of Education: A Primer for Schools to Come,  and his recently published Teach Like It's Music: An Artful Approach to Education, the last five published by his own company Pentatonic Press. Through Pentatonic Press, he has also published two books by his colleagues: Blue Is the Sea by Sofia L√≥pez-Ibor and From Wibbleton to Wobbleton by James Harding, as well as Orff Schulwerk in Diverse Cultures edited by Barbara Haselbach and Carolee Stewart and Looking at the Roots  by Wolfgang Hartmann. He is an author of the Macmillan/McGraw -Hill textbook series Share the Music and a contributing author in various collections: Many Seeds, Different Flowers (De Quadros; Cirme), Creativity in Music Education (Sullivan/ Willingham, C.M.E.A.), Music of the World's Cultures (ISME). Doug has written numerous articles on Orff Schulwerk in contemporary culture, published in the Music Educators Journal, Orff Echo, The Ostinato (Canada), Informationen (Austria), New South Wales Bulletin (Australia) and The Orff Times (England). 

Doug is also a founding member of Xephyr, an Orff-based performing group that has performed at the International Symposium in Salzburg, Austria (1995, 2000, 2006) the Orff Centenary Celebration in St. Paul, Minnesota, (1995), the AOSA National Conference in Dallas (1995) and in Long Beach (2004), Seattle (1997) and Phoenix (1999), and in several independently produced concerts in San Francisco.

SF School Student ensembles performed under his direction at the following events:

  • SF World Music Festival: 2011, 2010, 2009
  • International Body Music Festival: 2011, 2009
  • Orff Symposium Salzburg; 2011
  • AOSA National Conferences: 2019, 2015, 2007, 2004, 2002, 1991

He started the jazz band Doug Goodkin & the Pentatonics in 2011 with the mission of bringing jazz to families and children of all ages. They have performed at the Stanford Jazz Festival, San Francisco Jazz Center, New Orleans Jazz Museum and at various schools in the Bay Area and produced their first CD, Boom Chick a Boom: Jazz for All Ages.


Doug is particularly known for his innovative application of Orff Schulwerk to the teaching of jazz and multi-cultural music and his ideas connecting Orff Schulwerk to the greater world of education, culture and human potential.