DALCROZE: Even though the other methods incorporate movement as part of their pedagogy, Dalcroze places movement as central to its teaching. Lisa Parked, Director of Dalcroze Certification and Masters Degree program at Longy School of Music explained the three branches of the Dalcroze approach:
- active listening
- improvisation and
- solfege using a fixed "do" system (read more under Kodaly)
KODALY: Kodaly is based on the belief that music literacy is the right of every human being.
Mary Epstein and Jonathan Rappaport, Co-Directors of NEC's Kodaly Music Institute demonstrated through singing and listening games how anyone who can read is capable of reading music. Even more compelling was the video documentation of Wendy Silverberg's classroom in a Cambridge public school over a three-year period. Wow, those 2nd graders put the Abreu Fellow's solfege skills to shame! (See photo above of Wendy, Jonathan, Mary and me demonstrating our solfege hand signs).
Music learning, in the Kodaly-inspired classroom, focuses on:
- singing and dancing quality folk songs
- move-able solfege "do" system.
ORFF SCHULWERK: Orff also incorporates many of the principles of the methods we explored during the week:
- atmosphere of play,
- folk songs/chanting and
SUZUKI: Linda Fiore, Director of the Ogontz Suzuki Institute, studied with Suzuki in Japan and shared his guiding principles with us:
- nurturing environment
- parent involvement,
- starting early,
- playing together and
- repetition through active listening.
Abreu Fellows taking a playful moment from their Suzuki instruction with Katie
Dr. Suzuki based music instruction on the same sequence of language acquisition: listen, imitate, play (speak) and then read music. His belief was that every child is capable of high musical achievement; rather than trying to produce musical prodigies, his goal was to nurture a “noble heart.” He carefully selected and sequenced real repertoire so that students learn skills in small steps within an authentic musical context. Linda shared her indispensable bag of tricks to help teach difficult skills through early childhood practices: carpet squares to help identify personal space, dowel rods toilet paper rolls to practice bowing, paint swatches and different colored fabrics to explore dynamics and mood.
THE ELEPHANT: Much like the story of the Five Blind Men and the Elephant, these four approaches shouldn’t lose the big picture in music education: child-centered approaches infused with ensemble and joyful music-making.
This theme kept emerging throughout the week’s sessions and not surprisingly, is a recurring theme in the work of El Sistema. As we continue our work in the Abreu Fellowship, I am constantly drawn to the possibilities of partnership with organizations and people who have already done meaningful work in the US and who share similar philosophies. Significant impact happens when we work together. Thank you, presenters, for helping to start the conversation.