The Kodaly Approach.
What is it that is so distinctive about a Kodály-based approach? Kodály left us a philosophy – a set of guidelines – about his thoughts on music education. There is no “method”. Some of his ideas are as follows:
- Singing is the best instrument and the starting point for music education.
- Music education should start as early as possible
- Unaccompanied singing is best for children.
- Children should engage in Singing Games and movement Only the best is good enough for children – it’s up to us to be the best we can be, and to use the best material we can find. Music belongs to everyone The sound should come before the symbol – in other words that children absorb musical sounds and experience sounds before being introduced to notation. Just like learning to read. All children can be taught to read and write music.
- Music should be taught in a joyful way “Teach music and singing at school in such a way that it is not a torture, but a joy for the pupil; instill a thirst for finer music in him, a thirst which will last for a lifetime” Zoltán Kodály For more information about Kodály. In other words, the acquisition of vital music skills happens naturally through singing……
Key Principles – Musical components break down into a few simple elements which can be creatively combined in an infinite number of ways. Children learn by moving and doing, (which largely holds true for adults too!), and the best way to learn about music is through active participation in musical games and activities. All that is needed for this is the voice and movement. Our bodies are essentially wind instruments, with added percussive potential. Kodály-based musical pedagogy is built on the following sequence :
Preparation – just sing and play the games! The children will be subconsciously experiencing music, and will be building a song bank from which concepts can be introduced later. The preparation stage can take a long time but is a crucial stage in ensuring that the child understands. Just like learning to read, the child catches the language before reading it.
Presentation – this happens only when the children are secure with a particular aspect of the activities – then is the time to give the concept a name!
Practice – open to a life-time of creative uses of a skill – eg ‘feeling the beat’ – counting people in to the beginning of a phrase or song, being able to identify whether a piece of music is in 3:4 or 4:4, making up dance steps or lyrics to the music.