Classical teaching methods often focus heavily on written notation, right from the outset of a pupil's educational journey. Whilst sightreading is an invaluable skill that caters well for visual learners, it is not necessarily the best way to engage children in music. Our education system must cater for all types of learners, and the two most important elements of music - listening and playing - should be encouraged as early as possible.
The Kodály Method states that musical notation should only be introduced once the pupil has internalised the concept through listening, repeating and playing. This is applicable on a macro and micro level; the Kodály Method is an effective template for individual lessons, and can also be used to structure a pupil's long-term educational journey. Primary school teaching methods focus on activities and games to engage children with important and broad-ranging key concepts: in a similar way, practical experience engages younger pupils and sows the seeds for a more intuitive grasp of technical elements.
The Kodály Method prioritises engagement, opening pupils' minds to absorb the broad concepts before linking it to written techniques. Transfering this logic to a long-term scale, we can say that teaching music at primary school level is about engaging pupils enough to continue as much as providing technical insight; clearly learning is at the forefront of all teaching techniques, but creating a sustained enthusiasm early on in their musical life is vital to ensure they put in the hours of practice necessary to become a good musician.
As children continue their studies into music, those that have learned music in a practical workshop environment often find it much easier to get their head round the written theoretical elements. Learning an instrument or music theory takes disciplined and regular practising, and having this fundamental understanding can make it more rewarding, and plays a key part in limiting the frustration of trying to comprehend a concept. This is especially true of auditory and kinaesthetic learners.
The pedagological model of Classical training is often the absolute reverse of the Kodály Method in the sense that written theory must be learned before an ensemble can be formed. With each musician reading off a score, it is the visual learners who excel at this. In order to establish a well-rounded skillset for pupils who show promise at sightreading, and to engage musically gifted pupils who do not have an affinity for it, oral tuition is a vital constituent of a balanced musical education.
Our education system must cater for all types of learners, and the two most important elements of music - listening and playing - should be encouraged as early as possible.
Kinaesthetic and aural learning in music