CHS-Fort Street PS KodÁLy Project

Kodály Music Program

Fort Street Public School

in collaboration with the

Conservatorium High School

The Conservatorium High School and Fort Street Public School share a common vision: they want to see many more children in NSW making music together, experiencing the delight of singing, and bene­fitting cognitively from the proven, sequenced learning that distinguishes the internationally renowned Kodály method of music training. To that end, they have committed themselves to  work collaboratively towards establishing a best-practice, K-6 Kodály music education program. By drawing on the Kodály expertise at the Conservatorium High, Fort Street’s Kodály program will position the school as the locus of best-practice in primary music teaching, a K-6 music demonstration school for our State.

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A quality music education should be the right of every child because it is fundamental to the develop­ment of the whole child, intellectually and emotionally. That was the firmly held belief of the great Hungarian composer and music educator, Zoltan Kodály. Classroom music education based on Kodály’s philosophy now incorporates 21st century thinking and learning skills. It reveals its true potential and achieves best results when it is implemented regularly, in a sequential manner over the course of a child’s schooling.

A Kodály-inspired music program organises content into a sequence of learning activities that target a student’s zone of proximal development through scaffolding and careful questioning. Furthermore, by following of a sound-before-symbol approach, students learn to ground their symbolic abstractions of musical concepts and elements in practical experiences of performance and social interaction. Kodály-inspired teaching employs pedagogical strategies that develop music knowledge, skills, problem- solving, and critical creative thinking as outlined in Marzano’s theories of the self-system, meta­cognitive-system, cognitive system, and knowledge domain. Finally, this teaching demonstrates qualities of best practice and high-impact teaching as outlined in Hattie’s “Visible Learning”. This includes an increased awareness of teacher impact on student learning, the constant striving for genuine learning challenges, and a focus on learning and the language of learning.

For many people, learning music is synonymous with playing a musical instrument. In fact, the most effective way to develop children’s natural musical abilities is through singing and active music-making in the classroom. Instrumental learning is introduced once foundational work has been done to connect the developing musical imagination with the voice. This is the pedagogical approach employed at the Conservatorium High School. To achieve optimal results, this carefully sequenced methodology should start with primary-age children so that their aural abilities and musical creativity develop in tandem with their general cognitive maturation.  

Leading practitioners of the Kodály approach to music education are invariably highly trained musician-teachers who have developed this special expertise through years of specialised training at the Kodály Institute in Hungary or affiliated institutions. The Conservatorium High School employs three of Australia’s most accomplished Kodály teachers: Ms Réka Csernyik, Dr Michael Bradshaw, and Ms Carla Trott. Ms Csernyik was educated in Budapest, Hungary. Before taking up her perma­nent appointment at the Conservatorium High she was on the staff of the University of Queensland. Dr Bradshaw was raised in Japan. He completed his Kodály training in Hungary and took a doctorate in musicology at the University of Queensland. Ms Trott holds a BMus in cello performance, and a Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education from Griffith University. She is also a graduate of the Australian Kodály Music Educators Institute and the recipient of the Queensland College of Teachers’ 2019 Excellence in Teaching Award. All three teachers are in high demand here and abroad. 

Currently

  • ‘Every Day Music’ program (20-30 minute class) for Kindergarten and Years 1-2
  • One guest teacher, last week of each term, working with early child whole school (including kindergarten) and liaising with class teachers on the enhancement of learning (eg. phonics) that an integrated school Kodály program provides
  • Years 3-6 have expanded musical activities including integration of instrumental (strings, band and recorder) and choral programs
  • One teacher (Fort Street’s RFF Music-Drama) being mentored

Vision for the program

  • fully integrated K-6 Fort Street + Con High Music Program established as best-practice K-12 demonstration Kodály-based music program for the NSW Department of Education
  • expansion of the mentoring program via distance education learning technology in association with Aurora College