By Amy Hanson / Assistant Director of Communications and Web Management
Jordan Doolittle was searching for a place to earn his master’s degree and learn more about the Kodály approach to music education when he came across Silver Lake College through his online search.
He is one of 30 music educators on campus taking part in the Kodály Summer Music Program, June 27-July 8. Participants 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 or who are enrolled in workshops.
Now living in Carbondale, Ill. with his wife and three children, Jordan was pleased to find a college that would allow him the flexibility of being near home and his family to visit with his in-laws in Chicago, along with being able to connect with other Midwest music teachers.
The former school music teacher, who began playing piano at age 7, taught for eight years in Seattle, Wash. and is in the transition of starting music literacy programs with the church and community where he now works.
“As a Christian, I believe that worship is central to our calling,” he said, adding that everything a person does during the week leads up to worship and flows from worship. “Kodály is singing-based and connects with how much singing is in worship.”
Following his studies at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Jordan found a mentor in a fellow church musician who introduced him to the Kodály Method and encouraged him to study it.
Hungarian-born Katinka Daniel (1913-2010) pioneered the Kodály curriculum in the United States and trained hundreds of music educators, including Silver Lake College’s Sister Lorna Zemke who worked alongside Katinka on a Kodály pilot program in Santa Barbara.
Sister Lorna, a summer music program faculty member, is a recognized Kodály Music Educator and Emeritus Professor of Music at Silver Lake College.
Jordan sees the skills he is learning in the Kodály Summer Music Program as part of a 30-year vision. It is his goal to begin his teachings with church youth who he hopes will foster an interest in music that stays with them through adulthood.
“My brain is so full,” Jordan said of the intensive Silver Lake College program and picking up skills on how to teach children. “There’s a scientific way that we dissect folk songs with the music and the language … the overlay is just perfect!”
While the program’s schedule, including an evening elective course and homework, have led to long days for Jordan during the first week, the experience has been “so worth it” and exceeded his expectations.
In addition to being impressed by the Kodály Summer Music Program and gaining confidence, Jordan also has felt welcomed by faculty, staff and the setting of Silver Lake College.
“The people here drew me in,” Jordan said of his decision to come to the College and the comradery he felt during his interactions. “(Dr. Rachel Ware Carlton) was very welcoming. She made it sound like she wanted to meet me. I was totally blown away when I drove onto campus to see how beautiful it was.”
Dr. Ware Carlton echoed her enthusiasm for Jordan’s talents and interest in the College.
“Jordan is an exemplary student and we are thrilled to have him as a degree candidate for our Master of Music in Music Education- Kodály Emphasis program. Jordan is a true life-long learner and has a real heart for music education. He is a great example of the curious, driven and student-centered educators that are drawn to Silver Lake College to pursue their master’s degrees or Kodály certificates.”