Originally Posted by The Orffsite Webmaster on Friday, July 16, 2010

I took a slight detour in my personal study today. I picked up a book that was a freebie in a box of teacher materials. It was The Kodaly Method by Lois Choksy. Her report of music in Hungary in the early 70's was fascinating. If only my classes met 5 to 6 times each a week. She believes that we can get a somewhat similar result by teaching a modified version of the Hungarian curriculum, using American folk songs as the base. I have a limited knowledge of the Kodaly method which from my brief examination appears to use some of the elemental ideas I've been taught in Orff-Schulwerk along with Curwen's hand signs and solfege. The use of basic rhythms are similar to Keetman's "building bricks". Not much difference noted there. The major difference seems to be the limited use or lack of instrumental music in the method. I didn't find any emphasis on movement either.In her conclusion section, she basically says that if you are uncomfortable with using solfege, desire to teach with musical instruments or have a problem with the strict, detailed method, then Kodaly is not for you.Some people portray Orff folks as being an elite group, but I've only had one Orff teacher suggest that music teachers not use solfege or the Kodaly rhythm syllables. I've had teachers, such as Jill Trinka, indicate that the Kodaly Method does use instruments, but in the workshop she gave the only instruments in use were played by the teacher as vocal accompaniment.
   The book is interesting and gives a good curriculum outline for grades 1-8. The hidden gem in this book is the collection of 158, mostly American folk song, melodies. That alone makes this book a must for your professional library.
  I enjoyed my brief walk on the Kodaly side today. I'm sure it won't be the last walk down that lane, but the variety and freedom in the Orff approach is still more appealing to this elementary music teacher. Besides, I just love those alto xylophones!