The Results of KODÁLY HUB: Sing. Learn. Share. Project

5. June 2019

All partners in this project share a firm belief that “music should belong to everyone” - it is crucial that every child (not just the privileged few) should have access to music education from the early years. Why is it important to start music education in early childhood and why should it be for everyone? The key is the proven benefits of music, the so called “musical transfer effect”. If children receive high quality, meaningful music education from a young age it is very likely to have a positive effect in many areas including: cognitive ability, literacy, numeracy, social and personal skills.

It is our united belief, that in order to have high quality music education we first need well trained and highly skilled music teachers. Special emphasis must be placed on music education in the primary schools, particularly for 5 to 10 year-olds, who are in their most susceptible years. However, in the majority of non-specialist educational settings children of this age may only receive one music lesson per week, generally delivered by classroom teachers with no formal music training. As a result, frequently the teacher uses poor quality repertoire.

What role should music conservatoires play in addressing these issues? Firstly, conservatoires should play a more prominent role in the training of elementary music teachers and it is our firm belief that those experts in conservatoires should support and engage with the school music education system. Consequently, three leading European Higher Education Institutions of music (the Liszt Academy of Music Budapest - the leader of the consortium, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Glasgow and the Royal Conservatory of The Hague - all of whom are known globally) and their local partners from the field of Education and choral work (the Kós Primary School from Hungary, and the National Youth Choirs of Scotland and Holland, resp.) have come together to collaborate in this project, with the following aims:

- to raise awareness among professional musicians as well as the general public as to the need for quality music education in all schools;

- to provide guidance for music educators towards a creative music pedagogy inspired by the work of Zoltán Kodály and his Hungarian music pedagogical legacy;

The Kodály-based musicianship training puts singing at the heart of the concept, being the most powerful and accessible tool to develop musicianship skills. Singing is free and can be adapted to all areas of teaching and learning music in all settings.

The project “Kodály HUB: Sing. Learn. Share.” set 3 key objectives, all of which have been fully achieved and completed:

·    to create a new curriculum to be used in the teacher training programmes of HEIs. Though the newly formed curriculums are country specific, the core ideas are easily adaptable to other countries as well.

·    to renew the music repertoire for classroom use and to compile new methodology materials, focusing on how to teach music in a joyful, meaningful and relevant way. All new materials have already been published on the Kodály HUB.

·    to open an on-line knowledge centre (Kodály HUB - https://kodalyhub.com) for public viewing where a Songbook, a Community, a Calendar, (later a Forum) and further useful resources are available to assist teachers in their everyday work. We hope teachers will also feel encouraged to share their own music, ideas and experiences globally.

During the 30-month period of the project we organised three learning weeks, where 10 pre-selected students of each HEI visited the other 2 countries. The purpose of the visit was two-fold:

1) to get a direct insight into the music pedagogy practices, the good examples, the challenges of the given country

and

2) to work together (students and experts) on the creation of the HUB.

These exchange visits were coupled with the challenging task of producing altogether 900 analysed songs representing each country’s musical heritage. These songs are already uploaded on the Kodály Hub with a range of age appropriate musical activities, an analysis of the song and, where relevant, an accompanying game or movement activity. Users may search the database using a number of essential search criteria.

Four transnational project meetings, three major and many more minor multiplier events were organised to promote the truly European values of the project which is to be shared and embedded worldwide. As a result, in five months since its launch we have reached more than 1500 registered users on the HUB from all over the world.

By providing hands-on freely accessible resources to practitioners and by modernising teacher training programmes, it is hoped that a new generation of teachers with improved musical and teaching skills will emerge. Subsequently, all children will experience joyful participation in music making, which will further enhance the transfer effect and consequently have a strong positive impact on our society worldwide.