"Throughout Kodaly's writings there is implicit the belief that man is not complete without music" (17). As a future music educator, I obviously agree with this philosophy. I felt that this article was a fascinating look at the Kodaly method and quite informative as I have never been exposed to Kodaly. After this overview, I was quite impressed with this philosophical approach to early music education and certainly feel that there are various aspects of the method that could be extremely useful in an early music classroom.
I particularly enjoy the emphasis on folk music. As the author says, the Kodaly method focuses on three types of music "authentic children's games, nursery songs, and chants; authentic folk music; and good composed music, that is, music written by recognized composers" (15). I agree that all too often music that is not quite accessible for students is used to teach abstract concepts. By using accessible music, or "living music" the children are more apt to gain a good educational experience. Also, the music can be used at any point. Children (and parents), for example, will always know the "itsy-bitsy spider", but will not always have access to written songs such as "My Pony Bill". This ability to sing outside of the music room, from memory, would seem to increase the power of the musical experience for the children.
I also like the idea of having a developmentally oriented curriculum as opposed to a "subject-logic" (9) curriculum. The philosophy of teaching concepts to children when they are developmentally ready is fascinating. I feel that I agree with this concept, too, as children will respond more favorably to music that is already inherent to them. Using this, teachers can apply these natural concepts to logical ones (for example teaching them that "nana-nana-boo-boo" constitutes a tri-tone) and harness the inherent creativity of children.
While I agree with the concept of teaching the unaccompanied voice, I do disagree with the philosophy of instruments as "not necessary and...counterproductive in the musical education of young children" (16). I feel, not only as an instrumentalist but as a future teacher, that children should be exposed to all aspects of music, especially instruments. Indeed, what if a child is not developmentally ready to sing? A musical instrument could provide the musical education for that child. Generally, though, I do agree with the concept of teaching voice and, personally, wish that my early music education would have focused more on voice.
In all, I found this article to be a fascinating look at the Kodaly method. I feel that it would be quite valuable to incorporate this philosophy into any early music education classroom. I feel also that this would be quite possible as the Kodaly method is that, more of a philosophy than a method and I feel that this philosophy could be adapted to fit with many other methods and would be a great addition to a classroom program.
The Method: Its Sequence, Tools, Materials and Philosophy, pages 9-17.