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Kodály Principles for music in Early Years Education -
‘Music sheds light on those regions of the soul that cannot be reached by any other means.’ Zoltan Kodály
Very simply the Kodály Concept can be summed up as the practice and belief in developing the musician in all of us through singing. Kodály educators believe that the music learning process should begin as early as possible with the singing of unaccompanied songs and high quality music. A sequential learning process should operate with the main view of proceeding from simple to complex by logical steps. Regular exposure to singing is essential.
Music motivates children and gives opportunities to improve many skills needed for non-verbal and verbal communication:
- Listening, imitating, concentration and attention skills, aural memory
- Social skills e.g. involving turn taking, co-operation & tolerance
- The ability to express mood and feelings through music and movement
- The ability to perform more confidently
Songs and rhymes are important in the development of early linguistic skills. They allow children to experience the natural rhythms and accents of the language but at a slower speed than normal speech. Exact repetition occurs many times but in the playful situation sustains the child's interest. In singing games children learn the power of communication, respond to the language and find they can make things happen themselves. They enjoy taking a turn and waiting, watching and listening to others.
The pillars of Kodály's philosophy are:
- subconscious learning/experiencing for many weeks or more through games and songs
– describing and revealing musical concepts - a very short stage – as a part of each lesson
- reinforcing learning through experience.
The emphasis in a Kodály programme is to teach the children many rhymes and songs so that when musical concepts contained within are presented formally (eg rhythm, pulse, harmony, intervals, dynamics, formal structures) everything feels familiar and logical.
The learning process is, on the surface, slow because of constant repetition and review, but a great number of musical concepts are absorbed and skills mastered which become a permanent foundation for future music-making.
Progression for the conscious learning of the different musical concepts:
(make learning of pulse conscious when most are moving in time and some can tap a rhythm accurately)
3. Pitch: Same/higher/lower
4. Speed: Faster/slower
5. Rhythm with short/long beats
6. Listening to and combining other musical lines; ensemble