By Amy Hanson / Assistant Director of Communications and Web Management
When Amanda Fee was an undergraduate studying music, she knew that she wanted to pursue her Kodály certificate. Now in her second year of Silver Lake College’s Master of Music in Music Education-Kodály Emphasis degree program in Manitowoc, Wis., she is well on her way to learning skills that she can utilize as an elementary school music teacher in Alabama.
“This will help me in every way,” Amanda said. “I became so much more effective.” Though she doesn’t have much time with her 1,100 students who rotate every other week through her classroom, Amanda utilizes every second to teach the young singers to be “tuneful, beatful and artful,” which was a big takeaway from last year, she shared.
Kodály is an experience-based approach to teaching music developed in Hungary by Zoltán Kodály during the mid-20th century. The approach puts great emphasis on the idea that everyone is capable of learning and understanding music.
Silver Lake College’s program began hosting Fee and 29 other music educators this year on June 27. Participants, on campus until July 8, include a mix of students working on their Master of Music in Music Education-Kodály Emphasis degree, Organization of American Kodály Educators-endorsed Kodály certificate, continuing education and those who are enrolled in workshops.
“I’ve only been in class for three days, but I feel like I’ve learned two years of material,” Amanda said of the initial days of the program. “It has exceeded my expectations in terms of everything I have learned.”
She decided right before the start of last year’s program that she wanted to pursue her master’s degree.
Amanda was happy to learn that Dr. John Feierabend and Sister Lorna Zemke would be on the faculty again this year. “To be able to learn from Sister Lorna is just amazing,” Amanda said.
Sister Lorna is a recognized Kodály Music Educator and Emeritus Professor of Music at Silver Lake College. She was long-time Director of the Kodály Programs and Director of Graduate Music Studies at Silver Lake College. Sister Lorna has taught Kodály workshops and presented at conferences in 27 states and five foreign countries, including Australia, Greece and Japan. She has given presentations at more than 100 colleges and educational institutions throughout the United States, has published countless articles and books, and won numerous awards for her work.
Amanda also is thrilled to have the opportunity to interact with other high-caliber faculty, including Dr. John Feierabend, considered one of the leading authorities on childhood music and movement development. Dr. Feierabend is the Chair of the Kodály Summer Music Program at Silver Lake College and a Past President of the Organization of American Kodály Educators. His career spans 40-plus years and he also wrote the program’s Kodály curriculum.
“Students like Amanda come to Silver Lake College from all corners of the country to study in the summer music program because of its long history of excellence,” said Dr. Feierabend. “The world-class faculty are attracted to the school because of the reputation of Sister Lorna Zemke. Sister Lorna's outstanding legacy continues in the summer program and students like Amanda benefit from the outstanding faculty who continue to return to be part of the Silver Lake College legacy.”
Dr. Feierabend recently taught Amanda an activity mimicking the children’s game, “Telephone,” that would assist her students in echoing correct rhythm syllables. She emphasized that the program works for music educators teaching a variety of ages.
“They take you where you are and push you as far as you can go,” she said. “It’s such a friendly program. … There’s always a way to fix your mistakes.”
Dr. Rachel Ware Carlton enjoys having students like Amanda participate in the Kodály Summer Music Program at Silver Lake College.
“Amanda is a bright student and a true asset to our Master of Music in Music Education-Kodály Emphasis degree program. Her passion for her many students in Alabama is evident in every conversation that I have had with her,” she said.
As a relatively new teacher at Creekside Elementary school in Harvest, Ala., Amanda will be entering her third school year teaching kindergarten through 5th-grade students. She is happy to pass on skills like singing on pitch to the children who enter her classroom and seeing them now volunteer to take on solos.
“In music, we learn by making music. We learn by doing,” she said. “When I see them and they’re excited about music that’s success to me.”