What are Kodály Music Lessons?
Kodály music education is known for its sequential development of skills, emphasis on music literacy, and strong choral programs. The Kodály Method, which is also referred to in practice as the Kodály Concept, is an approach to music education which was developed in Hungary during the mid-twentieth century. Kodály music education is known for its sequential development of skills, emphasis on music literacy, and strong choral programs.
The Kodaly Method uses a child-developmental approach to sequence, introducing skills in accordance with the capabilities of the child. New concepts are introduced beginning with that which is easiest for the child and progressing to that which is more difficult.
Children are first introduced to musical concepts through experiences such as listening, singing, or movement. It is only after the child becomes familiar with a concept that he or she learns how to notate it. Concepts are constantly reviewed and reinforced through games, movement, song, and exercises.
The Kodaly Method incorporates rhythm syllables similar to those created by nineteenth-century French theoretician Emile-Joseph Cheve. In this system, note values are assigned specific syllables which express their durations. For example, quarter notes are expressed by the syllable ta which eighth note pairs are expressed using the naturally shorter syllables ti-ti. Larger note values are expressed by extending ta to become ta-a [half note], ta-a-a[dotted half note] and ta-a-a-a[whole note]. These syllables are then used when sight-reading or otherwise performing rhythms.
Rhythm and movement
The Kodaly Method also includes the use of rhythmic movement, a technique inspired by the work of Swiss music educator Emile Jaques-Dalcroze. Kodaly was familiar with Dalcroze’s techniques and agreed that movement is an important tool for the internalization of rhythm. To reinforce new rhythmic conepts, the Kodaly Method uses a variety of rhythmic movements, such as walking, running,marching,and clapping. These may be performed while listening to music or singing.
The Kodaly Method uses a system of movable-do solfege syllables, in which, during sight-singing, scale degrees are sung using corresponding syllable names (do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti). The syllables show function within the key and the relationships between pitches, not absolute pitch. Kodaly was first exposed to this technique while visiting England, where a movable-do system created by John Curwen was being used nationwide as a part of choral training. Kodaly found movable-do solfege to be helpful in developing a sense of tonal function, thus improving students’sight-singing abilities. Kodaly felt that movable-do solfege should precede acquaintance with the staff, and developed a type of short-hand using solfege initials with simplified rhythmic notation.
Hand signs, also borrowed from the teachings of Curwen, are performed during singing exercises to provide a visual aid. This technique assigns to each scale degree a hand sign which shows its particular tonal function. For example, do, mi, and so are stable in appearance, whereas fa and ti point in the direction of mi and so respectively. Likewise, the hand sign for re suggests motion to do and that of la to so. Kodaly added to Curwen’s hand signs upward/ downward movement, allowing children to actually see the height or depth of the pitch. The signs are made in front of the body, with do falling about at waist level and la at eye level.