Friday, April 5, 2013

Kodaly Seminar in Kecskemet, Hungary

I am so excited about this summer! I keep telling myself one of these summers I am going to truly take time off- but I keep finding wonderful things to do.

For the past three summers, I have been completing my Masters in Music Education with a Kodaly Emphasis from Capital University.  This was a GREAT program and I loved it!  I thought this summer was going to be a break before I started my Orff Levels, but then an amazing opportunity came up.

I was at the retirement party for my (now former) Principal and a previous music teacher from my school and I got to chit-chatting and realized we were both Kodaly lovers.  She is currently getting her Masters at the University of Cincinnati and has a great pedagogy/ musicianship teacher there who mentioned the International Kodaly Seminar to her.  She off-handedly remarked that she was looking for someone to attend the seminar with and I jumped at the chance.  I always slightly regretted not going to Hungary as an Undergrad and was really excited to get the chance to go this summer.

So what is the Kodaly Seminar?  This is a biennial three week intensive course utilizing and teaching about the Kodaly Philosophy.  Attendees can choose from the following workshops classes: Pedagogy (split into early childhood, elementary, secondary, music and movement, or teaching teachers classes), Choral Conducting, Composition, Opera and Lied Performance and Piano Performance.  The Pedagogy workshop also allows for an optional course of singing games, choral conducting, piano lessons, voice lessons or a vocal chamber ensemble.

I chose the elementary pedagogy track with the singing games elective.  My schedule will be similar to the following:
                       8:45-9:45 Warm-up and Choir
                       10:15-11:30 Musicianship
                       11:45-1:00 Singing Games (optional classes)
                       1:00-3:00 LUNCH
                       3:00-6:00 Pedagogy Workshops

Kodaly Institute
I am so excited for these courses- not only are they taught at the Kodaly Institute in Kecskemet, Hungary with renown teachers from Hungary and around the world, but I will get to be immersed in the Kodaly Philosophy for 3 weeks, the third of which coincides with the International Kodaly Symposium which is included in the seminar participation.  There will be workshops, concerts, and wonderful music all around!

I love getting new ideas from other master teachers.  There is a wealth of great ideas all over the world and it is great to be exposed to as many as possible.  Even if I only remember to bring back 5 of the many I learn this summer, I will have added to my teaching tool-kit making music more effective and enjoyable for my students.

I also love the musicianship classes.  The way Kodaly Musicianship classes are taught just makes sense to me.  I am SO MUCH of a better sight-reader after taking a few years of these types of courses than I was before I started.  I love doing more than one thing at once, translating stick notation to absolute pitch or absolute pitch to solfegge.  I love putting an ostinato in my hands, another in my feet and singing an example.  Not only does it help me become a better musician, but it is much for fun that sitting at a desk to sight-read ALL the time.  Sing/Plays (singing one part of a song while playing another on the piano) have also helped me to improve my piano school and I feel like I am a much better chorus teacher because of them.  It is a crazy, intense three weeks, but I know it will be wonderful!

In addition to the Seminar and Symposium, I am also planning on taking a 1 week excursion after the event to Vienna, Salzburg, and Prague - all of which are fairly close to Kecskemet by train.  What a great opportunity to see such musically and historically rich places!

Learning new ideas, ways to teach, ways for students to prepare and practice concepts as well as improving my own musical skills is the best way I can think of spending a summer.   I guess next summer may be my "summer off"- or I may decide to still do my Level 1 Orff after all...

If you think you may be interested in attending the seminar as well check out the website for more info:


  1. Hello! I hope to apply for this seminar this year. Do you have any recommendations for accommodations? I saw on the Kodaly Institute website that most participants of the summer courses stay in hostels or hotels - I assume that means they do not offer their on-campus housing for summer participants.

    1. I stayed in the Fabian Panzo - a cute B&B. It is air-conditioned, but also a little more expensive than some of the other choices. It was wonderful! The breakfast was especially delicious!