Curriculum

“The characteristics of a good musician can be summarized as follows:

A Well-Trained Ear,
A Well-Trained Mind,
A Well-Trained Heart,
A Well-Trained Hand.

All four must develop together, in constant equilibrium. As soon as one lags behind or rushes ahead, there is something wrong”

— Zoltán Kodály

The Kodály approach to music education is child-centered and taught in a logical, sequential manner, training musicianship and providing an understanding of the world of music through the experience of singing and the use of instruments.

Through the Kodály approach, the ear is trained to hear both pitch and rhythm; the mind is trained to examine, explore, and analyze music presented and to cause cooperation between the ear and the voice reproducing pitch tunefully; the heart is trained to recognize beauty using the finest music available; the hand is trained to physically represent pitch and rhythm, causing the student to further internalize and externally represent the specific musical information.

Referring to the Pythagorean idea of “ethos” in music, Kodály states:

“Good music certainly has a general character-forming influence as it radiates responsibility and moral solemnity. Bad music lacks in all these. Its destructive effect can go as far as to undermine the faith and standards in moral law.”

Folksongs and the finest art music have proven to be the most potent and effective for learning the grammar, logic, and rhetoric of music and musicianship. This method lends itself exceptionally well to the learning music of the Orthodox traditions.

Do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti. The beginning language of the Kodály method uses the relative solfège system, derived from John Curwen’s tonic solfa and rhythm solfa. Solfège assists the child in identifying the aural distance between individual notes and length of rhythmic symbols. With this training, the children will progress into the use of the Byzantine “solfege” (ni, pa, vou, ga …) quite easily. We look forward to the use of this system in the upper grades.

In the beginning stages of music learning (Pre-K), students learn 50-100 songs and games well, without solfège labels. They are encouraged to respond to music physically and make music physical through the songs and games. These same songs and games provide a basis for all music education throughout the elementary music experience. In Kindergarten, the students begin to label known songs using the syllables of the solfège system. As the children grow, more solfège syllables are added, as are newer, more sophisticated songs for learning. In Grade 2, absolute pitch names and American rhythm labels are introduced, smoothing the transition into the singing, reading, and understanding Western notation. In subsequent grades, the students increase their musical grammar, learning to apply their musical understanding using Orff Instruments (xylophones and metallophones), the piano and Baroque recorder.

At Agia Sophia, we are proud to offer such an exceptional method for music education. Of course, our goal is not only to educate the mind, but the body and soul as well. This course in music education strives to do just that through the Kodály method, which engages the ear, the mind, the heart and the hand.

~ Music should belong to everyone ~
~ Music is a spiritual food for which there is no substitute ~
~ There is no complete spiritual life without music ~
~ There are regions of the human soul which can be illuminated
only through music.

— Zoltán Kodály