Kodály Music in Grades JK-2

Kodály Music in Grades JK-2
Posted on 11/02/2015
kodalyBy Adam Epstein

Kodály music has arrived at the Baldwin! Perhaps you've heard about songs from music class, seen "Ask Me" sheets come home, or have heard about the Musician of the Month. But what exactly is Kodály? The Kodály (pronounced KO-DYE) Concept of music education was developed in Hungary during the mid-20th century by educator/composer/linguist/humanist Zoltán Kodály and his associates. The ultimate goal of Kodály-inspired music education is to bring the joy of actively making music to all students. Some important features of the concept include:
* Singing as the primary means of music learning. Everyone has a voice, making this accessible to everyone.
* The use of high-quality multicultural folk music. This includes the use of movement and dance.
* A sequential approach to teaching music literacy through the use of tonal and rhythmic solfège. Musical elements are experienced physically, aurally, and visually over several lessons before being formally named. Musical skills and literacy foster a lifetime of music making.

kodalyMaking music is a human right, and access to high-quality music instruction is a matter of social justice. Students in JK and Kindergarten have 30-minute music classes four times per week; students in grades 1 and 2 have 40-minute music classes three times per week.

What does a typical music class look like? After a vocal warm up, students experience several songs, chants, singing games, and/or movement activities that are all organized around a particular musical concept. Tuneful singing, keeping a steady beat, and musical expression are emphasized in every lesson. Students may also improvise and compose during the lesson, and students in grades 1 and 2 may work on music reading and writing activities. Class might end with a folk dance, a listening activity, or a story song. Much of the learning is perceived as play, the organic way by which children learn.

To find out what's going on in music class, visit Mr. Epstein's website at There, you can learn about curriculum, the featured musician of the month, and classroom news. Also, look out for "Ask Me" sheets that come home, featuring songs that your child can share at home.

Thank you so much to the entire Baldwin community for a very warm welcome to Kodály music, and to me!