Kodály's Views

"The games have a pure human value: they increase the experiences of being social and joy of life. There is no better remedy for the precocity of the children of today. Our children, past the nursery school age, are inclined to regard play as not suiting them any longer. It should not be left at that. We should encourage the older ones so that they do not feel ashamed of enjoying it still. The longer the childhood is, the more harmonious and happier adult life will be."
Zoltán Kodály

The success of Kodály's ideas can be attributed to the following:

  • music education is started in the very earliest years, as early as age 3 wherever possible
  • the curriculum is developed in an organized, sequential manner from Primary 1 onwards as well as in the nursery schools and kindergartens
  • learning comes first through playful singing activity and pleasurable experience, later through conscious thought processes
  • the learning process is, on the surface, slow because of constant repetition and review, but a great number of musical concepts are absorbed and techniques mastered which become a permanent foundation for future use
  • folk songs and composed songs are used (carefully selected according to the age characteristics and musical developmental level)
For young children to learn to sing well, they must sing songs which:
  • will not strain undeveloped vocal chords by too high or low a range. Kodály established the best range as a major 6th interval from D to B
  • do not contain semitones, since these are much more difficult to sing
  • have clear and uncomplicated rhythm
  • are unaccompanied by piano, since the piano is a tempered instrument which can too often result in out of tune singing
  • have texts of literary value and creative imagery so that they can be adapted to the child's world of play and fantasy games

For a full insight into Zoltán Kodály's views, read Christopher Lambton's "Voices of Change" article.


Glasgow City Council