Liberal Arts Blog —Kodaly — Best Music Teaching Method Ever?
Liberal Arts Blog — Thursday is the Joy of Music Day
Today’s Topic: Kodaly — Best Music Teaching Method Ever?
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, what is the best music teaching method of them all? Susuki? Kodaly? Dalcroze? Other? Today, the first in a series. Please share your own thoughts and experiences. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
PREAMBLE (my philosophy of music education)
1.) If I am right, music deserves a much bigger place in the curriculum of every school on the planet earth. First, music is the greatest joy of the seven liberal arts joys (music, sports, art, science, math, history, literature). To quote Nietzche, the great exaggerator, without music life would not be worth living.
2.) To me, the core of the music curriculum should be the world’s most beloved songs from around the world which are the keys to the hearts of seven billion people. I try to learn three per year. It takes me about 3 hours each.
3.) A young child could pick them up much faster. So far I am up to 42 songs. If I am lucky and live another 30 years, I’ll be up to 132 by age 98. We’ll see how long I have the energy to keep this up. NB: How about you? How many of these songs do you know? Why not start now? If you think you can’t sing, you are wrong. Each of us was born to sing. And in non-modern societies everyone sings. A hundred and sixty years ago everybody in America sang. We are taught not to sing. We are taught singing is a preserve of a privileged few. This is a pedagogical toxin. This is a joy killer. I have never heard a voice that is not beautiful. Listen closely. Hear the music.
KODALY — THREE CORE TENETS
1. The human voice is the most beautiful of all musical instruments.
2. Sing the songs that have passed the test of time (eg. folk songs).
3. Sing the best of the best (eg. the Ode to Joy by Beethoven).
KODALY — THREE TECHNICAL THINGS
1. Solfege — like in the Sound of Music — the Do-Re-Mi thing. The sooner the better. Start at birth. And continuity is key. 99% of us can acquire near perfect relative pitch.
2. Rhythm syllables — ta for quarter notes, ti-ti for eighth notes. Rhythm is absolutely fundamental.
3. Hand gestures for each — harness the eye to strengthen the ear. Movement is key to the internalization of rhythm.
KODALY — STEP BY STEP
1. Continuity — a very carefully planned sequence.
2. Don’t start with all seven notes of the major scale. Start with with the pentatonic scale (just five notes). In fact…
3.”Revised Kodály exercises begin with the minor third (mi-so) and then, one at a time, add la, do, and re. Only after children become comfortable with these pitches are fa and ti introduced, a much simpler feat when taught in relation to the already established pentatonic scale.”
NB: “Kodály stated that each nation should create its own melodic sequence based upon its own folk music.”
Last three years of posts organized thematically:
Time to share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to music. Or the coolest thing you learned in your life related to music. Say your favorite song or songs. Or your favorite tips for breathing, posture, or relaxation. Or some insight into the history of music….Or just something random about music… like a joke about drummers. jazz, rock….or share an episode or chapter in your musical autobiography.
This is your chance to make some one else’s day. And perhaps to cement in your memory something important you would otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that matters to you.