This method is a natural extension of being a folk music buff as the learning material is drawn, in the early years at least, from folksong.

When I was about 15, my singing teacher at the time introduced me to a method of writing called tonic sola. I had only heard of this in fun before [who hasn’t heard that do is a deer a female deer?] This lead me to investigate an discover Zoltan Kodaly and a book which had the music of every song I ever loved as a child.

Kodaly was a Hungarian who in 1925 heard children singing songs they had learnt at school. He thought they were substandard. So the seed was planted for the Kodaly Method.

The interesting thing about the method is that nothing is new — Solfege comes from England, rhythm duration syllables and some material are borrowed from Dalcroze.

The method has specific ideas and tools which are briefly as follows:

  • Singing as a means to learn.
  • A child developmental approach that draws from the folksongs of the students’ country.
  • A process of learning which is hear, immitate, create in nature.
  • The use of Solfege, rhythm syllables and other developmental tools to learn stuff.

Interestingly, to put some of these things in context, the first lesson of the Kodaly method after singing lots of songs and teaching how to step beat, soft loud etc, is the minor third. This is found in the chant “You can’t catch me”. It is first heard so much that it is internalised by the student then it is named so-mi and hand signals are given to it. [There is a whole song related to the gestures on YouTube]. The student is then taught to write So-Mi. Progressively over the years at school a musical language is built up until the student is musically literate.

An important thing to Kodaly was that music should belong to everybody. It should be taught daily a long with Maths and reading and writing. This is one of the many reasons I am writing this series be cause I firmly believe music should belong to everybody.

Some interesting links:
 Scholarly somewhat complex language. Includes a growing directory of schools where the Method is taught.
 Interstin website.