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The Kodly Method

Music Education
3/7/2014

The following essay will discuss whether or not the philosophies, objectives and tools of the Kodly approach can work in South African music class rooms. The Kodly approach to teaching music to students in Kesckemet had a tremendous success rate in 1950, but with the South African learning environment being so different from the one in Hungary, will the success rate be the same (Abramson et al. 2000). Zoltn Kodalys (1882-1967) idea was unique because he took several other techniques and combined them to form one unified approach to teaching music (Abramson et al. 2000:81). The various philosophies of the Kodly method puts emphasis on starting children off from a very young age to appreciate music, the younger they are the easier certain things are for them to grasp. The language of music should be enjoy by everyone and not be restricted to private schools. Language, reading and writing skills go hand-in-hand with music skills, if a student is capable of doing one of these skills, learning a music skill isnt such a farfetched idea (Abramson et al. 2000:82). Most South African schools do not teach music as a subject, especially schools in rural areas. Its eas y to suggest that Music should be the heart of the curriculum... (Abramson et al. 2000:82) but most schools barley have enough funds to afford handbooks, how will they be able to afford music instruments or a qualified enough instructor to teach the subject? The different objectives of the Kodly method fit in with a South African classroom because we are such a wonderful mix of different cultures thrown together. Every student should at least be given the opportunity to discover the wonders of music and to decide for him/herself whether or not they like it. One of the objectives mentioned is that a students musical heritage should be known to them, like mentioned previously we are a rainbow nation and this would give every student a chance to learn something new about another culture (Abramson et al. 2000:83). When given the opportunity to study music at an early age, some students are at a definite advantage. Its better to start early and to have the option to enter a music program at a university than to wait and start learning the basics at a later stage in life when we dont always have the time to spend hours practicing. The three different main tools of the Kodly method; tonic solfa, hand signs and rhythm duration syllables can be a lot more suitable when practiced in small class groups (Abramson et al. 2000:84). Tonic solfa is better taught in small groups of five or six, where individual attention can be paid to each student. That is one luxury that certain schools cant afford. Educators are underpaid and overworked; sometimes there can be up to thirtyfive students in a class room and theres just not enough time to give each student individual attention. Tonic solfa benefits students that play an instrument because they connect solfa with note-names (Abramson et al. 2000:84-85). Tonic solfa and hand signs used together would be an even greater way for students to remember things and can improve tonal memory. The problem once again is that most schools dont have the recourses to do the above mentioned activities (Abramson et al. 2000:85).

The Kodly method can and has been effective in several countries including Japan, New Zealand, North America, ect (Abramson et al. 2000:82). Each country with their own set of problems in the education system but music as a subject is available to those students who want to take it full time. The biggest problem in South Africa is that music as a subject is mostly only available to private and not public schools, it most certainly is not taught at schools in rural areas. Not every household can afford to send their child to private schools or even to private music lessons, so in the end a student with a musical ability is neglected. If music can be a compulsorily subject thats available in all schools and the state provides enough funds to keep a music program runni ng, the Kodly method would be a great success. The standards would rise dramatically in music programs at South African universities because students would have been exposed to the Kodly method from a young age and not on the first day of their university career. Thus one can see that with certain instances the Kodly method can be successful but a lot of other things would have to change first. The Kodly method is brilliant and I dont find fault with it, the fault lies within our education system and once that is corrected we can achieve new heights.

(800 words)

Bibliography Abramson, R.M., Chosky, L., Gillespie, A.E., Woods, D. and York, F. ( 2000) Teaching Music In The TwentyFirst Century. 2nd Edition. New York: Pearson Education.