The Kodály Method
What is it?

A method is a way to do something and the Kodály Method is a way to teach kids music. Kodály didn't actually create the method himself but he taught the teachers who made his ideas into an official method of music education. One of his most important ideas was that EVERYONE has a right to learn music. The teachers who used his ideas to create the method tried to figure out the best way for all different types of kids to learn and love music. Teachers all over the world use the Kodály Method to give their students the best musical education possible.

The Main Ideas
  • Singing - Kodály believed that the first instrument is the voice and that everyone should first learn to understand music through singing

  • Reading and Writing - Kodály believed that the only way to truly understand music is to be able to read and write it. 

  • Folk Music - Kodály believed that folk music was the best music to begin studying music.

  • Fun - Even though being a musician is hard work, Kodály believed that kids should have fun in class! Teachers using the Kodály method use singing games in their lessons.

Movable Do

Kodály studied the way different music teachers taught and then decided what he thought worked best. One of the big questions in teaching music is what is the easiest way to read notes. Some teachers name the lines and spaces of the staff. Some countries, like the United States, use letter names for each line and space- second space is A third line is B third space is C, etc.  Some countries, like Israel, use do re mi names in the same way - each line or space on the staff has a name first line is mi, first space is fa, second line is sol, etc. The names never change and they are based on the lines and spaces of the staff - they are "fixed" in place.

Kodály saw a teacher in England who used the do re mi names but had them move around on the staff. Instead of naming the lines and spaces, she named the notes. The idea was that if you sing a song starting on a higher or lower note, it's still the same song and those are the notes you should name. This concept is called "Movable Do" and it's an important part of the Kodály Method. Movable do is hard to explain but it's easy to read and sing in tune.

Letter names

fixed do names

movable do

Hand Signs

While Kodály was in England he also saw kids using a special sign language for each note. These hand signs were created by John Curwen and Kodály thought that they helped kids learn how to sing in tune. They also became an important part of the Kodály Method.

Kodály Teacher Resources

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