The Education programme and professional development in the BKA
The Kodály Approach informs the BKA education programme, and it can be related to the needs and interests of different learners. BKA courses will suit anyone wanting to develop his or her own musical skills and understanding for personal satisfaction but our courses are also aimed at training those who are or would like to be music teachers, by introducing them to this inspired approach to music education and enabling them to make the most of these ideas.
Musicianship, methodology and choral singing are the three pillars on which all our courses are built, whether they be day workshops or week long Summer Schools.
Musicianship in the BKA is grounded in the practice of singing using solfa names, i.e each note of the scale is identified by its position in the scale: do, re, mi and so on. The teaching sessions appear in course information as solfège or musicianship with relative solfa. The prime importance of solfège in the Kodály approach rests on the belief that learning to sing using the relative pitch value between notes helps students develop inner musical hearing and musicianship skills.
Kodály was not the first music educator to appreciate the value of solfège or the first to make use of hand-signs when teaching and conducting singing. The hand-signs that are used by Kodály teachers are a standard set of signals used to indicate each solfa note. Kodály used a system originally developed by John Spencer Curwen in England in the 18th century and still used by Curwen teachers today.
Kodály methodology is the teaching of musical skills and concepts from complete beginner stage to advanced musician. Ideally the work should begin with the very young but as complete beginners can be any age and as the programme teaches the skills in a structured, progressive way, the substance of the programme remains constant. The teaching approach and teaching materials differ according to the age of the student, and, particularly in the case of children, need to arise from a sound understanding of child development.
The Kodály approach attaches great importance to the issue of song selection. Songs are chosen for their appropriateness to the vocal range of the student and in order to develop specific musical skills at different levels. The selection of song repertoire is an element of every course and in the case of the nationally accredited courses is formally assessed as song analysis.
The practice of choral singing is considered essential in the Kodály tradition. Singing with others in parts and canon develops confidence in both rhythm and intonation.
Courses on offer
BKA courses may be run directly by the BKA or may be offered by Kodály tutors under the auspices of the BKA.
BKA directed courses
The two long courses offered each year by the BKA are the Summer School and the Spring Course. The week long Summer School takes place in August, early enough in the month to allow teachers in Scotland to attend. The four day Spring Course takes place in April during the Easter school holiday.
All the students attending a long course are allocated, pre-course, to a solfège group and to a choir. The solfège placement is on the basis of a questionnaire, and the choir placement is on the basis of information provided on previous choral singing experience, and with regard to the number of students attending and to the balance of male and female voices in the overall student group.
Entry to other classes at the Summer School or Spring Course is determined by whether or not the student is following a course leading to the nationally accredited Springboard course. There is a package of classes for one set of students and a package for the other with the classes running concurrently. Further details on the Springboard Programme can be found under Accredited Courses.
Some activities take place after the main teaching day has finished and these are included in the programme as optional extras for any student to attend.
The following information relates to those students who are not attending Springboard courses
A general course on Kodály methodology is offered which covers some of the same ground as Springboard Module 1 but obviously not in as much depth. As many of our students have attended a number of BKA courses, we aim, whenever numbers permit, to also offer a second more advanced general methodology course for those who want to further develop their teaching skills.
Conducting classes are offered and students are placed in one of a number of conducting groups according to their prior experience of conducting.
At the Summer School there is an opportunity to sign up for a number of individual singing lessons which are offered throughout the week during the afternoon options. Singing lessons are an addition to the main programme and are paid for separately.
Courses run under the auspices of the BKA
One and two day workshops are offered by Kodály tutors. These can be general introductions to the Kodály approach and/or workshops aimed at curriculum leaders and classroom teachers in Early or Primary Years.
Kodály tutors also offer longer courses in musicianship. These usually take place in the evenings and run over a year, with ten weekly meetings each term. There are four course levels; Foundation, Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced.
The BKA aims to develop the provision of Elementary level musicianship courses in five areas of the UK including one in Scotland over the coming year. Elementary level musicianship is an entry requirement for the Springboard Module 3 programme.
Study Tours to Kecskemét and Budapest are organized in collaboration with the Kodály Institute in Kecskemét, Hungary in the February and October school holidays. The courses include teaching sessions in musicianship and methodology, lectures and classroom observation in the Kodály Music Primary School and in a local primary school in Kecskemét. The study tour to Budapest focuses on Early Years Music Education. Download details for 2013
Read key findings from 'Making more of Music' an evaluation of music in schools by Ofsted (2005-8).
The British Kodály Academy is affiliated to:
The International Kodály Society
"Each nation has a rich variety of folk songs well suited to teaching purposes. If selected and graded carefully they furnish the best material through which to introduce music elements and make the children conscious of them. Singing first by ear, then writing and dictating – all elements combined – makes for surprisingly quick results." Zoltán Kodály