Sunday, February 16, 2014

Kodály Method for Teaching Music

I would like for Link to have some additional music education.  The Key's of the Universe album that I have covers the bells and music notation very well.  However, I wanted more for singing, rhythm and movement instruction.  

Link seems to have an aversion to music!  So I don't want to jump right into formal music education. I'm going to have to start small.  Kodály so far seems to be a great fit.  

This post is really about me taking some notes from The Kodály Method by Lois Choksy, which I checked out from the library.  I was debating purchasing the newer version, The Kodály Method I, which is supposed to include monthly and yearly plans for each grade level.  For now, the library version does the trick, but I need some notes for when I take it back :)  I'm only focusing on Grade One.

The author first notes that if a child has not learned the concepts normally taught in the Hungarian Nursery School, they should be taught first, regardless if the child is now 6 years old, in the first grade.  Those concepts are: 
"in-tune singing, feeling for beat and accent in duple meter, ability to identify rhythm patterns of familiar songs and to step and clap rhythm and beat, as well as the understanding of the concepts of high-low, loud-soft, and fast-slow.  In addition, it is necessary to build a repertory of songs and singing games of small range and easy rhythms from which to draw the later skill-teaching material."
Two nursery rhymes that are recommended for teaching duple meter and for later deriving rhythm pattern and accent are Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater and Baa, Baa, Black Sheep.  At some point in the book I read that only the best teachers should teach music. I should note here that I have no idea what teaching duple meter is and I personally don't know how to sing in-tune.  I hope I don't mess this up!  Maybe I'll learn along with the kids :)

The activities suggested for use with these rhymes are to "aid in the development of a rhythmic sense as well as of inner hearing and concentration."  They are as follows, in increasing difficulty:
  1. say these in rhythm
  2. step the beat
  3. clap the rhythm (the way the words go)
  4. play the rhythm on hand drum or rhythm sticks while stepping the beat
  5. clap the rhythm while thinking the words but not saying them aloud
The next part is where I have difficulty.  In-tune singing is taught concurrently with rhythm and beat. I don't think I could teach using the first method mentioned, since I wouldn't know in-tune from out-of-tune.  Here's the good part - "The earliest material used for teaching children to sing accurately and in tune should be authentic children's singing games and fold music of the proper ambit..."  Horray!  I can start there :)  Then we'll add to that by performing them in different ways to teach high and low, soft and loud, and fast and slow.  The author suggests that half of a school year should be devoted to building this repertory of basic teaching songs.  Only then should one move into the teaching sequence.

I'm going to stop there.  I'll check the book back out in 6 months or so, when we've mastered some songs.  Its sad that we haven't included this in our day to day so far.  You can probably tell I'm not a very musical person myself.  I like to listen to music, I appreciate it, I just don't have any skill.  I want to make sure that my boys have more opportunity than I did :)

There are two resources that I have purchased, but have not yet received.  The first is Kodály in Kindergarden by Katinka S. Daniel.  Here is the description from Music in Motion:
Curriculum lay-out, 50 lesson plans and 107 songs to establish both musical and language knowledge, instill a love of singing and moving together, give a feeling for aesthetics, develop the body and character.
The other is Learning Basic Skills Through Music by Hap Palmer.  This one I will use just to sneak some rhythm work in with music, since Link seems to dislike listening or singing anything.  He does like to move!  Hopefully these two together will give us something to start with, but I won't really know until I get my hands on them.  

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