Music Pedagogy in the 21st Century in the Footsteps of Kodály

14 December 2018

Music pedagogy symposium presenting the results of the most recent innovative projects of the Liszt Academy of Music and its Kodály Institute.

Liszt Academy of Music, Main Building
Budapest, 15-16 December, 2018


The patron of the symposium is Mme Sarolta Kodály.

The symposium is the closing event of the Kodály HUB – Sing. Learn. Share. Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership project and the Kodály Year.

The detailed programme is available here.

Abstracts of the presentations and biographies of the lecturers are available here


International Symposium, Film and Book Premiere

The symposium Music Pedagogy in the 21st Century in the Footsteps of Kodály held on 15-16th December, 2019 was very well attended. The event provided an opportunity to present innovative developments which have taken place during the last two years. The event was chaired by László Norbert Nemes, Director of the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Academy of Music.

In the spirit of the educational philosophy of Zoltán Kodály, there were two central topics for the Symposium: the importance of the Arts in education, and the importance of the well-trained music teacher who can deliver experience-based lessons, in line with today’s expectations. The new research, findings and tools that were presented have been initiated and financed by the different national and international projects of the Liszt Academy and its Kodály Institute to help the work of teachers.

The audience consisted of very different groups of people: Hungarian music teachers, officials, participants of the “Daily Singing” CPD Program and many foreign musicians. The foreign guests came from countries where the Kodály movement is most active (e.g. Ireland, Portugal, China, UK, USA), and from countries which have only recently started to recognise the importance of the Kodály music pedagogy (i.e. Turkey).

After the opening speech given by the Rector of the Academy, Dr Andrea Vigh, the keynote speakers shared their experiences and the results of their research projects (Prof. Benő Csapó, university professor at the Institute of Education of the University of Szeged; Prof. Sandra Mathias, Professor Emerita of Capital University, Columbus, Ohio, USA; Márta Winkler, school founder, director, pedagogical leader of “Treasure-Hunter School” - Kincskereső Iskola and Prof. László Norbert Nemes, Director of the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Academy)

The Symposium provided the opportunity for the leaders of the two music pedagogical research projects, run within the framework of the Subject Pedagogy Research Program of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, to present their interim results.

Through three lectures, MTA-LFZE Research Group on Active Music Learning demonstrated the role of movement in the learning process.

Dr Ferenc Honbolygó (senior lecturer, Eötvös Loránd University - ELTE, Brain Imaging Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences) & Dr Kata Asztalos (senior lecturer, University of Szeged, Teacher Training Faculty): Effects of the Active Music Learning Models - an Empirical Study

Borbála Szirányi (lecturer, Kodály Institute of the Liszt Academy) & Edina Barabás (lecturer, Kodály Institute of the Liszt Academy): How to Integrate Movement into Different Musical Skill-Building Areas in "General"  Classes (having one Music lesson per week) and "Singing" Classes (having more than one Music lesson per week)

Dr Gabriella Deszpot (senior research fellow, Kodály Institute of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music) & Tamara Farnadi (Music teacher, conductor, Bartók Béla Music Primary School, Győr): Klára Kokas's Pedagogy within the Dynamic Music Learning Model

The project of the Szeged University (MTA-SZTE Music Education Research Group) was presented by Márta Janurik, with the title Promoting motivation, the development of musical abilities and school learning in early music education.

The Symposium also hosted the launch of the Kodály HUB, which is an English language, online knowledge centre ( In addition to the many resources of Kodály’s music pedagogical ideas, this new, constantly expanding site offers new teaching materials and teaching aids. However, its main attraction is probably the Songbook module that contains several hundred songs and music listening materials from all over the world. The songs are analysed using many key, searchable parameters (around forty) and when relevant are accompanied by a game or movement activity to support the teaching objectives and to increase the enjoyment of the lesson. Uploading is possible for anyone whose material is of high quality and in accordance with the principles of Kodály, after registration to the music teacher community of the site.


The Kodály HUB was created within the framework of an international project. The two and a half year long project, led by the Consortium of the Liszt Academy, was supported by the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership Programme.

Six partners (Liszt Academy of Music, Budapest, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow, Royal Conservatory of The Hague, National Youth Choir of Scotland, Vocaal Talent Nederland, and the Kós Károly Music Primary School, Budapest - model school of the Liszt Academy) from three countries (Scotland, The Netherlands and Hungary) have been working on creating a new curriculum to be used in teacher training programmes, as well as numerous studies and new methodological materials in addition to the Kodály HUB.

Students from the three partner music academies uploaded hundreds of songs and musical materials before the launch of the Songbook. Preceding their work, the students had been on study tours to the other two countries to receive first-hand experience of the strengths and problems of the music educational systems in those countries.

During the Symposium, four Hungarian students of the Liszt Academy (Fanni Eckhardt, Dávid Farkasházi, Boglárka Gémesi, Boldizsár Kiss) gave a presentation on the benefits of the Songbook, the characteristics of their own uploaded materials and their experiences when testing these materials in the classroom.

To suit the needs of Hungarian Music teachers, the Kodály HUB will also be available in Hungarian from February, 2019.

China will also join the Kodály HUB project. The delegation of the Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing and its students who are currently studying at the Kodály Institute, Kecskemét have performed three characteristic Chinese folk songs, then sang the Birthday Greetings (Nagyszalontai köszöntő) by Zoltán Kodály on the birthday of the master.


Cristina Brito da Cruz, Head of Department of Escola Superior de Música de Lisboa talked about the progress of Kodály concept adaptation currently made in Portugal and the first results from the Republic of Cabo Verde.

We were introduced to the case study conducted by Karen Geoghegan in a socially deprived area of Scotland, in a school that was struggling with many difficulties. The results of this study show children at the school achieving marvellous results after the introduction of experience-based music lessons.

There were many other areas covered in further lectures. Zsófia Fekete and Fanni Erhardt discussd how they use choral singing with people with aphasia, Laura Justin explained the benefits of singing for patients with Alzheimer’s, and Árpád Tóth discussed his high school opera project, Barefoot Opera.

Lucinda Geoghegan shared thought provoking ideas in her lecture What the Children Teach Us: Responding to the Needs of All Children in Music Education. Katalin Körtvési summarised the first five years of applying the Kokas pedagogy in the teacher training programme of the Liszt Academy. Suzanne Konings shared her experiences about how the Kodály Concept changed the Music Theory curriculum in the Royal Conservatory of The Hague.


In the spirit of innovation, Edina Barabás presented a currently developing application, “Move mi Music”, an up-to-date digital lesson planner for teachers that focuses on the lower primary level, where the young children are considered digital natives. This tool aims to support teachers and schools to teach music in a joyful way, according to the principles of Zoltán Kodály and Jenő Ádám.

In addition to all the scientific lectures the musical introduction mini concert of Judit Rajk (singer) and Anikó Novák (pianist) and the Kodály 136 Gala Concert were memorable musical events for all participants. Furthermore, screening of an archive film on Kodály’s life, directed by Csaba Zs. Varga, Music is for Everyone took place during the Symposium. Welcomed by many, Péter Erdei, founding director of the Kodály Institute, together with Péter Halász, presented his newest work: a new, revised and expanded edition of the Choral Works for Mixed Voices of Kodály, published by Editio Musica Budapest.

Another book premiere at the Symposium was Kodály, the Music Educator: A Fifty-Year Legacy by Kristóf Csengery (editor). It is a richly illustrated new album depicting the developments and initiatives of the Kodály Concept over the last fifty years. Central to the book are essays on Kodály which are complimented by articles written by music teachers from several countries highlighting their achievements in implementing the Kodály Concept in their countries.

The work of these music teachers is also included in the documentary film Kodály Belongs to All of Us which highlights the success of adaptations of the Kodály Concept around the world. Its first performance during the Symposium received a thundering applause. Directors of the documentary, Attila Kékesi and Gábor Zsigmond Papp, who are leading figures in the field of documentary films in Hungary, compiled examples of the adaptations in ten countries (e.g. Japan, USA, Ireland) demonstrating that while they are unique in certain ways, they also share many common traits. The documentary focuses on the all-round personal development achieved through the use of the Kodály philosophy and its holistic nature, which is illustrated by touching statements, wonderful concerts and lessons filmed at schools.

In his interview in the documentary Péter Erdei stated that “The fundamental methodological concepts should definitely be preserved. So the teacher should always teach age appropriately, always through singing and personal experience, and this defines what to teach and when, let the teaching material be from the field of the musical mother tongue (folk music), music-reading abilities or the most beautiful works of music literature”.

In this information age, in a society bombarded by visual “attacks” and demanding immediate solutions for everything, the personality of the teacher, who is authentic and has original ideas, who is well-trained, is armed with all methodological tools and can deliver experience-based lessons, is even more important. The Liszt Academy and its Kodály Institute believe that it is the training of such teachers that is the key to the future and therefore wish to provide help and support to achieve this aim. The organisation of this Symposium was the first step in their project.

The Symposium was the Hungarian multiplier event of the 2016-1-HU01-KA203-023027 project of the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership Programme. The innovations, the archive film, the publications and the documentary film were supported by the Kodály Year programme of the Ministry of Human Capacities (EMMI) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary. The abstracts of the lectures and presentations are available here.