Kodály Teacher Training

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Why take a Kodály Course?  |  Why James Madison Kodály?

Kodály Coursework

What will I learn and do during my two weeks at JMU?

Each day will run approximately from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. Expect several hours of homework each evening. (A Kodály course is a lot of work, but we promise it will be well worth it!) 


Course participants will have 2 hours each day of personal musicianship training, using solfege, rhythm syllables, and other tools. Some students come in never having learned solfege before, so if you haven't read in solfege or if you're shaky, don't worry! Our instructors start at ground zero.

If you're already an excellent sight-reader and very experienced in solfege, you will still be challenged in Solfege I. You will be asked to take your skills to new and deeper levels. Also, you will find the methods and activities at this level very valuable in terms of teaching solfege to your own students.


  • Level I Solfege is based primarily, but not completely, on pentatonic music.
  • Level II Solfege deals with diatonic music and begins work on modes.
  • Level III Solfege deals with diatonic, modal, and chromatic music.


You will have 2 hours each day of instruction in Kodály-inspired Pedagogy.

  • Level I focuses on early-childhood through 2nd grade pedagogy.
  • Level II focuses on 3rd and 4th grade pedagogy.
  • Level III focuses on 5th grade through middle school pedagogy.

If you are a secondary level teacher, JMU instructors will help you to adapt beginning-, intermediate-, and advanced-level pedagogy and materials to the grade levels you teach. Many of our course participants have been choral conductors and even band and orchestra directors, and have found the instruction to be extremely valuable.

Pedagogy instruction includes:

  • philosophy and history of the Kodály approach
  • singing
  • moving (games, dances, free and creative movement)
  • reading and notating music
  • playing instruments
  • audiating
  • improvising and composing
  • lesson planning
  • long-range planning
  • differentiating
  • developing artistry

Level I students will observe and interact with children in the JMU Jr. VocalArts choral camp, and may also observe the older VocalArts campers in their musicianship classes.

Materials/Folksong Research

You will have 90 minutes of Materials instruction each day. During Materials you will learn about choosing excellent quality, appealing songs and other materials for your students, authentic and responsible collection of song material, and analyzing songs so that they become more useful as teaching materials. You will also begin the process of organizing your collected song material in a retrieval system based on the musical concepts you teach.

You will be amazed at the time this will save you in lesson planning and how much more effective you can become as a teacher when your materials are well organized!

As you can probably guess, Pedagogy and Materials courses are closely related.

Other experiences and topics in Materials:

  • folk dancing
  • folk instruments
  • multi-cultural music


You will have 45 minutes of Conducting each day. This Conducting course is designed to build your conducting skills from your current skill level, wherever that is. Each year our course includes everyone from novice to expert conductors. The atmosphere in class is positive, supportive, and collegial.  In addition to daily Conducting classes, you will also observe nationally recognized master conductors as they work with children and youth in the JMU VocalArts choral camp.


You will have 45 minutes of Ensemble each day. This is primarily a choral experience, but often includes recorder and other instruments, depending on the talents of the year's participants. The goals of Ensemble are to share a satisfying musical experience, to learn new repertoire, and to use your developing solfege skills.

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