Introduction to Kodály Music Teaching with Lucinda Geoghegan

Monday 19 & Tuesday 20 November 2018, 9.30am - 5.30pm

Kodály aims to teach the principles of music through singing, starting in Early Years and moving through the full development of the child. During the two days we will have an introduction to the principles of Kodály , and then quickly move on to the singing games for different age groups.

Participants do not have to be experienced singers. Lucinda will cover singing games suitable for Nursery, KS1, and KS2. Participants need to be willing to ‘access their inner child’ for these two days and join in as a 7-year-old would. Although fairly complex musical structures will be introduced (pulse, rhythm, meter, pitch, tuning, listening, emotion in the song, recognisable patterns) what will make sense to a 7-year-old will make sense to you. These games can be used on many levels, to introduce musical ideas to children and at the same time to highlight a musical point to a musician.

You will go home with a whirlwind of songs and activities that you can use with different age groups, an understanding of using song in other subjects in the curriculum and knowing where you can find more material when you need it. You are highly unlikely to ever feel self-conscious about singing after these two days. We hope there will be a healthy quorum of participants who may wish to exchange questions and ideas after the workshops, and possibly take things further. Mish Kelly, Kodály practitioner in Suffolk, will keep in touch and support or advise on anything Kodály related.

We hope there will be a healthy quorum of participants who may wish to keep in touch after the workshops, and take ideas further, possibly take part in research.

Bring a packed lunch or visit one of the cafes on site.

About Kodály Musical Training

Kodály Musical Training is a philosophy and method of teaching music through singing games and activities, from very early childhood right up to secondary and beyond. The emotional and intellectual development of the child is at the heart of the philosophy. You do not have to be an expert singer to take part, nor even a trained musician- simply a teacher with an open mind- and a sense of fun.

Zoltán Kodály was a Hungarian composer from the 20th century recognised that children learn many life skills through play, often involving little rhymes and actions- from these beginning he developed a music education system that reaches the ‘whole child’. Children learn their mother-tongue naturally, language is a stunningly complex system of communication that children master by the age of 5, and music can be taught in the same manner.

Kodály advocated using music from child’s own folk culture (which would use our natural language rhythms and patterns, anything from Folk Song to the Beatles…) Music, like language, starts very young with the Mother singing from birth through early years when the child soaks up new influences. Songs and games develop in complexity as the child reaches school age. Children never sit still when listening to music, so every song involves action, games, rhythmic movement, very much like the playground games children dream up when left to their own devices. The singing activities encourage the development of inner pulse, rhythm, pitch, confidence of singing solo and in a group, in unison and in part singing. The method also works very effectively with adults.

Just as numeracy and literacy leads to fluent command of numbers and language, over the years any child well trained can hear music inwardly, can read it off the page, and hold their own musical part against a second or third singer singing in harmony. However, it was the philosophy of educating the whole child that Kodály felt was so important. What is leant through the element of play is more easily remembered. He recognised that a child who does a little musical activity every day will benefit every aspect of a child’s cognitive, physical, social and emotional development is involved. Kodály music training touches on-

  • listening skills
  • language development
  • musical memory, kinaesthetic memory
  • language memory, literature, song lyrics (academic facts easier to remember if in a little rhyme or musical ditty)
  • coordination, gross and small motor control
  • pattern recognition
  • simple fractions (music rhythm works through dividing the pulse, moving the beat)
  • quiet, inner reflection
  • imagination and creativity
  • leading skills, solo singing
  • ensemble listening and responding to others
  • social skills
  • emotional health
  • empathy
  • spatial awareness
  • self confidence
  • behaviour
  • individual behaviour of each child
  • high standards achievable by children with dyslexia and asperger’s syndrome

This is an article about one school which has woven Kodály throughout every aspect of its curriculum:

The education system in our country is slowly becoming aware of the advantages offered by Kodály training. Currently there is a 60-school research project being undertaken by teachers in Teesside, to study the effect Kodály philosophy has on Early years. Lucinda Gheoghegan trained the tutors who are leading this research project. Lucinda works with the Kodály Institute in both Britain and Hungary. She trains teachers around the world. Over the last 30 years she has devised education materials used with the National Youth Choir of Scotland and in most of the schools throughout Scotland. We are delighted that she is able to come to our corner of the country to deliver this two-day workshop on Kodály teaching, and hopefully get us started exploring ways of weaving Kodály work into our own schools.

Lucinda Geoghegan graduated in music from the University of Edinburgh in 1982, completed a postgraduate teaching qualification at Moray House College of Education and trained with the Kodály Institute of Britain where she gained an Advanced Diploma in musicianship with Distinction. She worked as a secondary music teacher in Edinburgh before deciding to specialise in Primary and Early Years Music Education. She was also member of staff with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Junior Chorus for 16 years and was Director of the NYCoS West Lothian Choir for 8 years.

She is currently a theory and musicianship lecturer at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland working in both the Senior and Junior departments and in addition since 2011 has been delivering and assessing RCS accredited modules in Kodály Philosophy to external students. She is a regular tutor, member of the Trustees and Chair of the Education for the British Kodály Academy and in 2017 Lucinda was elected as a Director on the board of the International Kodály Society.

Lucinda is Education Director for the National Youth Choir of Scotland and her work involves Staff Development training across Britain presenting workshops on Kodály musicianship and methodology. Lucinda is a guest lecturer on the summer and yearly courses at the Kodály Institute in Kecskemét, Hungary and in addition has delivered workshops in Ireland, Germany, Holland, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Turkey, Australia, Canada and USA

Publications written by Lucinda for NYCoS include – Singing Games and Rhymes for Tiny Tots, Singing Games and Rhymes for Early Years (Books 1 and 2) Singing Games and Rhymes for Middle Years (Books 1 and 2) and with Dr László Nemes Singing Games and Rhymes for ages 9 to 99. With Christopher Bell she wrote the musicianship programme Go for Bronze, Go for Silver and Go for Gold.