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Inspiring Music Literacy Session at the Music Education Expo

Jolanta Kietaviciute – February 2014

Music is an important part of every child’s education.  It has been proven that children who are exposed to musical education from an early age benefit from a better self-expression and creativity. Moreover, the research has shown that weekly music lessons have a positive impact on their learning and communication skills.

Last week saw Music Education Expo take place at the London’s Barbican centre. The show is a place for music teachers and professionals to gather together and learn about the fresh music teaching ideas. Amongst many inspirational speakers, Jolly Music co-author Cyrilla Rowsell held an extremely successful workshop on the Kodály method of teaching music in the primary years.

Cyrilla started the workshop with a selection of quotes by famous musicians, including one by Zoltan Kodály: “To teach a child an instrument without first giving him preparatory training and without developing singing, reading and dictating is like building upon sand”. Having become one of the most successful practitioners of the Kodály approach in the UK, Cyrilla shared her experience how she found music difficult to comprehend and learn as a child.

“No child should be left feeling like he is no good at music. If children are struggling with reading or maths, they are encouraged to practice more instead of being told that they are not good at it. The same should apply to teaching music.” Everyone has an instrument they can use – their voice. And that is the instrument Kodály method uses – teaching music skills through rhymes by using the voice.

Helen Russell tweeted: “Completely inspired by Cyrilla Rowsell’s solfa workshop. Amazing musicianship on display from her young students.”

Cyrilla left the packed room buzzing after she and her students from the Guildhall school demonstrated how to understand music and how at first sight complicated skills as rhythm, pulse, intonation and pitch can be taught by simple singing and actions. Most importantly, Cyrilla encouraged teachers to listen to how children understand music and translate more difficult music terms into something they can understand.

Have a glimpse of the Cyrilla’s workshop at the Music Education Expo here.