The following methods are used in our Parenting With Music (PWM) and Music in Early Childhood Programs (MEC):
Kodály Music Education
Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967) was a Hungarian composer and educator who inspired teachers to develop pedagogical principles and techniques for improving music literacy in their classrooms.
In the early years, its child-centred approach sequentially develops musical skills and concepts through singing, movement, folk games, improvisation, music reading and writing, playing instruments, and an array of listening activities.
The Orff Method
The Orff Method was developed by the German composer Carl Orff (1895–1982) and colleague Gunild Keetman during the 1920s. It is a way of teaching children about music that engages their mind and body through a mixture of singing, chanting, dance, movement, drama and the playing of persussion instruments (i.e. xylophones, glockenspiels, etc.). Lessons offer an element of “play” helping the children learn at their own level of understanding. Improvisation, composition and a child’s natural sense of play are encouraged.
Solfège is the system of syllables traditionally used to help students learn the notes of the major and minor scales: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti. There are two approaches to solfege, the Fixed-Do system in which Do is always the note C, and the Moveable-Do system in which Do is always the rst note of the major scale – whatever scale that happens to be.
Emile Jaques-Dalcroze (1865-1950) was a Swiss teacher and composer known for developing eurhythmics, an approach to music education which teaches concepts of rhythm, structure and musical expression involving whole body movement.
In this method, the body is the main instrument. Students listen to the rhythm of a music piece and express what they hear through movement, thus connecting music, movement, mind, and body.
Suzuki Method (Instrumental Lessons)
The following information is from the Suzuki Association of Americas. To learn more, visit their website: suzukiassociation.org
Every Child Can Learn
More than fifty years ago, Japanese violinist Shinichi Suzuki realized the implications of the fact that children the world over learn to speak their native language with ease. He began to apply the basic principles of language acquisition to the learning of music, and called his method the mother-tongue approach. The ideas of parent responsibility, loving encouragement, constant repetition, etc., are some of the special features of the Suzuki approach.
As when a child learns to speak, parents are involved in the musical learning of their child. They attend lessons with the child and serve as home teachers during the week. One parent often learns to play before the child, so that s/he understands what is expected from the child. Parents work with the teacher to create an enjoyable learning environment.
Early years are crucial for developing mental processes and muscle coordination. Listening to music should begin at birth; formal training may begin at age three or four, but it is never too late to begin.
Children learn words after hearing them spoken hundreds of times by others. Listening to music every day is important, especially listening to pieces in the Suzuki repertoire so the child knows them immediately.
Constant repetition is essential in learning to play an instrument. Children do not learn a word or piece of music and then discard it. They add it to their vocabulary or repertoire, gradually using it in new and more sophisticated ways.
As with language, the child’s effort to learn an instrument should be met with sincere praise and encouragement. Each child learns at his/her own rate, building on small steps so that each one can be mastered. Children are also encouraged t support each other’s efforts, fostering an attitude of generosity and cooperation.
Learning with Other Children
In addition to private lessons, children should participate in regular group lessons and performance, at which they learn from and are motivated by each other.
Children do not practice exercises to learn to speak, but use language for its natural purpose of communication and self-expression. Pieces in the Suzuki repertoire are designed to present technical problems to be learned in the context of the music rather than through dry technical exercises.
Children learn to read after their ability to speak has been well established. In the same way, children should develop basic technical competence on their instruments before learning to read music.