If you are a music educator, then you have probably heard of the major methods of teaching music: Orff, Kodály, Suzuki and Dalcroze.
But, have you ever really considered learning to use the Kodály method of music education? If you haven’t, you should. Keep reading to learn why!
Zoltán Kodály was a highly acclaimed musician, author, composer and music educator whose passion was to instill a love of good music in everyone. He believed that each person has the capacity to learn and understand music, and he developed a philosophy and approach for teaching music to everyone, including the very young. His approach has been so successful that it has become a model for music educators around the world.
A comprehensive approach to developing well-rounded musicians
Kodály believed that engaging the entire person, according to the student’s developmental level, was essential for learning, understanding and loving music. The Kodály approach therefore teaches music educators to begin with the simplest and most accessible of music tools: and the student’s own language and culture.
Using singing, rhythmic movement, hand signals and folk songs – the music of the people that stirs the heart – the Kodály approach engages the student’s “ear, the eye, the hand and the heart” together, offering even the youngest of children the “direct intuition” of music, as well as “the deep experience of happiness in music.”
If you think about it, isn’t that the first desire of all music educators?
Musical literacy achieved through sequential learning
But the Kodály method is about more than musical intuition. Its aim is musical literacy. The goal is for the student to be so fluent in music that she “understands the music without the score and the score without the music.”
The Kodály approach equips you, the music educator, to build on the student’s musical love and intuition by introducing more abstract concepts and skills gradually, through sequential learning.
This is accomplished in part through solfege training, particularly using the moveable do system to develop in students the ability to understand music in any key. Solfege training and the moveable do system lay the foundations for learning musical notation, intervals and distinguishing pitch.
Sequencing follows the student’s natural progression in learning music to develop advanced music skills such as composing, sight singing, and singing and hearing parts, just to name a few.
Quality music to educate the whole person
Kodály believed that the ultimate goal of music education is to “educate the whole person through the unique tool of music.” Kodály wrote that “the pure soul of the child must be considered sacred; what we implant there must stand every test, and if we plant anything bad, we poison his soul for life.”
For this reason, the Kodály approach uses only quality music, the music of the people and the music of the masters. This instills in students a “thirst for finer music ... which will last a lifetime” and teaches students to distinguish between good and bad music.
Why learn the Kodály method of music education?
Yes, learning the Kodály method of teaching music means going back to school to get more training. So, the logical question is why? What do you gain? What does learning the Kodály approach do for you?
Here are three thoughts that leap to mind:
Learning the Kodály method exposes you to current research on early childhood development and gives you greater understanding and materials to teach music starting with the very earliest developmental stages.
You will be given tools to first instill in students an intuition for and love of music through the use of their whole bodies, their language and their culture, and then to help them be musically literate through structured learning sequences.
You will improve your own vocal and musical skills so that you can teach your students to recognize and look for quality music.
Most importantly, you will be trained in a philosophy and approach to music that has a proven record of successfully teaching students to understand, be formed by, create and love good music.
In the end, isn’t that what all music educators want for their students? I know I do.
Learn how the Kodály approach has made an impact on the world of music education in The Guide to Silver Lake College of the Holy Family's Kodály Approach to Music Education.