Section 1 page 2
2. Introduction to musical development in young children
3. Introduction to learning and music learning theories
4. Introduction or Review of Hand signs--practice singing from 333
5. Teach/Learn sample pre-school song with analysis.
6. Homework

2. Introduction to musical development in young children
Younger children have a harder time with half steps. Therefore, we start with Sol-mi, then expand to pentatonic songs to develop in-tune singing with out the complication of half steps. Also, many folk songs are pentatonic in nature, and Kodaly emphasizes starting with local folk songs with young children before moving to more advance art songs.


Very carefully structured, the Kodály method is sequenced according to how a child develops musically and intellectually and the sounds they naturally encounter in their world. The method also takes into account melodic sounds they can sing in tune. For example,

Melodically children first learn so-me, sounds often used to call out a name eg “John-ny” (so-me). This is then followed by la – as in the melodic chant (I’m the king of the castle...) (so, so me, me, la, so, me). Then the other notes of the pentatonic scale are added – semitones are avoided until later as young children find these very hard to sing in tune.

Rhythmically children in European and European influenced countries first learn ‘ta’ and ‘ti-ti’ –as ‘tas’ (one sound per beat) is how fast a child would normally walk and ‘ti-tis’ (two sounds per beat) is how fast they would normally run. This is then followed by ‘sa’ – the sound of silence. More complicated rhythms such as syncopated rhythms are taught later. For countries where syncopation is the natural music language of the culture, it would be taught much earlier. For instance children in Guyana, South America grow up singing and playing rhythms that we would find very challenging. To them the straight beat of tas and ti-tis would be unfamiliar and may need to be taught later.

This child-based development sequence is also applied to learning music with parts, chords,musical forms, expressive elements and historical styles.

This approach of tailoring music to the child rather than teaching the subject (where you might for instance start with the Major Scale), enables success for all children regardless of whether they might have previously been considered ‘musical’.

Each musical concept is first prepared (through singing repertoire containing that musical concept in a clear context), then made conscious (named) and finally practised (in known and new songs. No new sound or concept is taught before children have learnt and sung (and possibly played) a number of songs in which the concept clearly in evidence.

Through making music, singing songs, playing music games and dancing, music becomes a very practical, fun and understandable subject rather than being a struggle to study abstract concepts to which students cannot relate. So let’s make some music! (And learn along the way!!)

The Kodály method is now being adapted to suit music programs in Australia, England, America, Japan, Canada, Finland and Belgium. In Australia KMEIA (the Kodaly Music Education Institute of Australia) was established in 1976 with five active branches in States and Territories across the country.


Choksy, L. (1974). The Kodály Method: Comprehensive Music Education From Infant To Adult. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

Hoermann, D (2009). Kodály in Australia

Wicks, D (2009). The Kodály Concept

Wicks, D (2009) Who Was Zoltán Kodály?

Level - K - (base level)

Give attention to in-tune singing, tone matching Sol-Mi and Sol-Mi-La patterns. Much work should be given to the feeling of the beat. Identify rhythmic patterns of simple, familiar songs. Teach duple meter, step and clap rhythm and beat. Echo clap. Concepts of High-low, Loud-soft, Fast-slow should be taught and practiced. Repertoire of songs and singing games of small range and easy rhythms from which to draw the later skill-teaching material. Folk songs and nursery rhymes are used for the repertoire.

Give opportunities to:
  • Say words to song in rhythm.
  • Clap the basic beat. (circular clapping is more musically sound)
  • Step to the beat.
  • Clap the rhythm of the text. (simple ta/ta rest)
  • Clap the rhythm while thinking the words but don't say them out loud.

3. Introduction to learning and music learning theories
There are many music learning theories.

Kodály simply wanted to promote the best music ways to learn music!

Tools of the Kodály concept--these are tools, not an end in themselves.

Kodaly teaching is often distinguished by the use of 3 teaching tools.
  • Rhythm Syllables (see rhythm syllables page)
  • Solfa or Solfege (see solfege pages)
  • Hand Signs (see hand signs page)

Rhythm syllables

Rhythm syllables are a tool for teaching and internalising a strong sense of beat and rhythm. Using the rhythm syllable method, commonly occurring rhythmic patterns are given a particular name that aids in their reading and performance.
This idea is not strictly confined to Kodály teaching. Both African and Indian music employ a system of rhythm syllables. The Hungarian system was adapted from the work of the French musician and teacher, Emile-Joseph Chevé (1804-1864).
Strictly speaking, rhythm syllables are not names, but expressions of duration. They are spoken, never written down as words. Their written form is the rhythm symbol itself.
Rhythm syllables are effective because they represent real sound with language - that is, they sound like the rhythms they represent. Using rhythm syllables it is possible to chant a rhythm pattern so that it is in time and in rhythm.
Teachers sometimes reject rhythm syllables because they misunderstand their nature. They believe that rhythm syllables are used to give a new name (or baby name) in place of theoretical names such as crotchet (quarter note) or quaver(eighth note). This idea is false.
Students must still learn the theoretical names when adopting this approach. Yet it must be understood that being able to name something does not mean that students understand a concept and have internalised it as sound. Theoretical names do not help students understand what the rhythms sound like. They may even be confusing to some students. The word crotchet, for example, is made of two short sounds when in fact a crotchet is one sound.

Guidelines for using rhythm syllables

  • Ensure that students do not write the syllables on sheet music under rhythm patterns. The syllables are a tool for reading and dictating rhythms only.
  • Ensure that students use correct theoretical names when talking about written notation. Eg. The crotchet in the third bar not the ta in the third bar.
  • Ensure that students speak the rhythms in time with a good sense of beat and musicality. Don’t accept sloppy rhythms.
  • Students should generally be keeping a beat when chanting the syllables.
  • Don’t teach all the rhythm syllables at once but rather introduce them one at a time, allowing students time to master each one and using a developmental sequence.

Solfa or Solfege
The moveable 'do' form of solfa is one of the most effective tools for teaching and internalising a strong sense of relative pitch among students. The use of solfa syllables or a relative pitch language helps give meaning to what is being sung and is an important tool in aural analysis. Solfa greatly aids the teaching of other theoretical concepts such as transposition, relative scales and modes Kodály clearly recognised the value of solfa in his writings and attested to its value in ear training for both instrumentalists and singers.
"With solmization one reaches fluent sight-reading faster. This is, naturally, true for relative solmization only, since here, by singing the name of the tone, we have already defined its fuction in the tonality" (Kodály in postscript to Bicinia Hungarica, Vol I, 1937)
“Solfa needs to be continued right up to the highest grade of tuition in both singing and instrumental work, in order that we should read music in the same way that an educated adult will read a book: in silence, but imagining the sound” (Kodály as quoted in preface to Musical Reading - Szönyi, 1954).
4. Introduction or Review of Hand signs--practice singing from 333
Hand signs
Though generally credited to John Curwen, hand signs, as a form of musical notation, have been traced back as far as the ancient Hebrews and Egyptians. They were used effectively for many years in England and then incorporated by Hungarian teachers with a few minor changes.
Hand signs are effective as a pedagogical tool because they visually and kinaesthetically reinforce the high/low and intervallic relationship between the pitches being sung. One hand or both hands together (mirror image) can be used to perform the hand signs. With smaller children, who often lack motor co-ordination, it is best to have them use both hands. Older students can also benefit from starting off with both hands. They should simply try both and stick to whatever is most comfortable.

5. Teach/Learn sample pre-school song with analysis.
Prepare, Present, Practice, (Perform)

Different ways to introduce a new song:
1. by rote
A. start with words in the traditional way
B. decypher the solfege as a class or individually. (can be "dictation")
2. by reading
A. read rhythm
B. Identify pitches and "tune up"
C. read pitches and rhythm
Song "Rain, Rain"
1. Learn by "rote" from professor. Review hand signs... All students write in "stick notation" on their own paper.
2. Note: Do clef (easy for young students in pre-school/Kindergarten). Identify pitches and Range.
3. Identify form. (in this case maybe A A')

Rain Rain


It's Raining

Assignment: Review material on
Find a local song appropriate for pre-school. Bring a copy of the song to turn in. Try not to just copy your neighbor! Analyze the song by identifying the range, the formal structure (aba etc). Write in the solfege (moveable do).