Maybe you are in this boat right now, fresh off of training, or maybe you remember what it was like after your first level of Kodály training. For me, it was life-changing, and I couldn't understand why everyone else wouldn't want to also teach this way. So how do you convince everyone? Or should you try? Here are my thoughts.
Remember that good teaching is good teaching.It is difficult, after having training, to not think that everyone should be training in the Kodály approach. There are so many wonderful aspects to the philosophy: the emphasis on singing joyfully, the focus on music literacy, the smooth, magical transitions, the depth of musical skills taught, just to name a few.
But if you tell everyone they are wrong, you're not going to win many people over. And keep in mind that Kodály training isn't the only way. Good teaching is good teaching. There are many, many wonderful educators out there with other certifications. I was fortunate enough to work one-on-one with the Dalcroze professor at my university, and so appreciate what Dalcroze has to offer, with its focus on musicality and movement. I also student taught with an Orff-trained teacher, so appreciate how creative and engaging an Orff lesson can be. Although I am a Kodály inspired teacher at my core, I bring in ideas and strategies from other philosophies when I think those will meet the needs of my students the best.
So when trying to persuade others about the beauty of Kodály make sure to not dissuade them from other philosophies. The Alliance for Active Music Making has a wonderful website with videos from Kodaly, Orff, Dalcroze, and Gordon, or Music Learning Theory; it is definitely worth a look!
Show, don't tell.If you have an opportunity to show other music teachers something that you learned in your training, perhaps during professional development, take that opportunity! Even if it's a short singing game, a fun strategy, or a different way to use flashcards, others will begin to understand the artistry and sequence of Kodály.
Debunk myths.There are a lot of myths out there about Kodály I've heard everything from it being the "ta and ti-ti approach" to it being rigid, to Kodály inspired teachers not allowing students to play instruments. All of them are false. Do people use ta and ti-ti? Yes, I do...but many people use other systems (like ta and ta-di or du and du-day), and the rhythm syllables are just a tool of the approach, not something that defines it.
I laugh now, when I hear someone say that Kodály is too rigid. I know from experience how fluid it can be, how many choices there are about when you teach, how you teach it, etc. There is definitely a sequence, but it all depends on the teacher and the needs of their students.
And of course we let students play instruments! But singing comes first. Once I hear that students are solid with singing, then we add instruments.
These are just a few myths...there are more out there. So when you hear someone say something that they have misunderstood about the philosophy, gently correct them. Explain how you have learned and teach differently than they thought.
Invite others to workshops and conferences.The best way to understand Kodály inspired teaching is to see it in action and learn from master teachers! If it had not been for the plethora of workshops and conferences I have gone to over my sixteen years of teaching, I would not be 1/10 of the teacher I am today. Check out your local Kodály chapter's schedule and bring a friend! You might check with your chapter--some chapters offer first-time attendees a lower rate to come to a workshop.
Since I'm National Program Chair of the 2015 OAKE conference in Minneapolis, MN, I have to mention how amazing this conference line-up looks! I am so excited by the variety and depth of the sessions--everything from creating on i-pads to drumming in Ghana to long-range planning. You can see more details by clicking below.
Invite others to your classroom and the classroom of Kodály-inspired teachers.Again, seeing the teaching in action is so effective for others to understand what it's really about! You can either invite others to see you teach, or research master teachers in the area and go see them teach!
Remember the words of Kodály...I love reading Kodály's own words about his philosophy of music education. Share those with your colleagues so they can have a better understanding of what he envisioned. I've just made this "Kodály quotes" freebie so you can print and post in your own classroom--to help you remember what the approach is all about and educate your students--but also to share with any of your colleagues.
Any other ideas about spreading the word? Please comment below, and have a great day!