The song “Apologise” by Timbaland with the vocals featuring One Republic is a very well known song that can be executed very well in a school music ensemble setting with the reason being that the song:

  • Only consists of 4 repeated chords
  • Consists of many ostinato patterns
  • Is very repetitive

Through an Orff approach, it is important that the students are instructed in a way that “addresses every aspect of musical behaviour: performing, creating, listening and analysing”. (Frazee, 1987) In my arrangement of “Apologise”the learning experience should involve all of these musical elements as students listen and analyse to learn the parts, perform as an ensemble and are able to create through an added improvisation section.


The Bordun part (above) where the bass notes are sustained, it is very easily taught through because of the simplicity where it consists of only 4 notes.

This bass part (and most parts) can be easily taught by something called “remembered imitation” which is a fantastic learning device where students “repeat a gesture, a sound, a rhythm pattern or a melodic motive exactly as given by the teacher”. (Frazee, 1987) Students are able to learn aurally which is very useful if there are students who are not as confident reading musical scores.

The melodic part and voice part of my arrangement includes the lyrics of the song.


A great way to teach the main melody is by singing the song. Because the song is very famous (with over 141 million view on Youtube!), most students will probably know it already which is a bonus. Teaching through song is very effective for students to learn the melody part as “singing is the most immediate medium for exploring the relationship of one pitch to another”. (Frazee, 1987).

Other accompanying parts in my Orff arrangement usually repeats after every 4 bars. It repetitive nature lends itself to aural and rote learning. As the parts repeat in the song, as the students are taught by”remembered imitation”, the  repetition enables students to essentially practice as they go.

It is a good approach to introduce and teach each part through imitation as “echo work is a convenient way of introducing material which will be used through a lesson”. (Frazee, 1987). As a teacher, this method is also very effective as a way of informal assessment as teachers are able to observe whether or not students can:

  • Remember and repeat the melody or musical patterns
  • Accurately play the rhythms
  • Play the correct notes or sing the correct pitches

The end of my arrangement includes an improvisation section for students. The improvisation section is at the end of the song and is to be attempted once all parts have been learnt and have been played together as an ensemble. It is important that all parts must be learnt because improvisation is the exploration of known material where students are able to showcase their musical independence. The improvisational activity is a great exercise for students as it “enables them to perform without notation” (Burnard, 2012). This improvisation section may therefore benefit students who have little experience in score reading and creates differentiation in the classroom.


I started my arrangement process with transcribing the  piano part and the bass notes so that I had the main harmony which laid out a strong foundation for the rest of the parts.

I renamed all the instrumental parts to:

  • Melody
  • Counter melody
  • Alto
  • Bb instruments
  • F instruments
  • Eb instruments
  • Guitar
  • Bass guitar
  • Bass 1
  • Bass 2
  • Piano
  • Percussion

Arranging this way caters for a larger variety of instruments and also enables the class and the performers to play their melodic or harmonic line of choice. Having workshopped my mixed bag arrangement of “Apologise”, it worked well and I made sure that all instruments were in range and comfortable to be played by all performers.

Each part is very repetitive and is based around  4 chords with one chord occupying each bar. The simplicity of the harmony enables the performers to learn the parts very effectively by rote.

For the piano part, the pianist can have the option of just repeating this pattern throughout the entire piece:


I have written the piano part in my arrangement like this (picture below) so that the pianist has a more interesting part where the piano melody doubles the main melody. However, playing the pattern above throughout the whole piece is perfectly fine too.


The structure of the song is also very repetitive and employs a verse, chorus structure. As outlined in the Orff arrangement, the repetitive nature lends itself to aural and rote learning.

Structure of the arrangement:

  • Introduction
  • Verse 1 
  • Chorus
  • Verse 2 (The melody and parts are exactly the same as Verse 1)
  • Chorus  
  • Improvisation ( 4 chords as the harmonic foundation) 


Burnard, P. (2012). Musical Creativities in Practice: OUP, Oxford.

Frazee, J. and K. Kreuter (1987). Discovering Orff. New York, Schott Music Corporation.