Project summary

Three leading European music universities (Liszt Academy from Hungary, Royal Conservatories of the Haag Holland and that of Scotland) form a strategic partnership with the objective of creating a new music teaching curriculum for primary school music teachers, as well as to elaborate  new didactics material with a modernised music repertory following the principles of the renowned Kodály pedagogy. The project intends to fill the need of new teaching methods in music, especially in the target age group of children (5-10 years), who usually receive one music lesson/week from general classroom teachers who have no specific  training in music, and usually have a very vague music repertory (except some specialised music primary schools in Hungary).  There is no modern curriculum or specific content for music education in primary schools yet. The current teaching methodology is based on the passive attitude of the pupils, focuses too much on theory rather than creating an atmosphere where the kids can actively be involved in music making, while having a “positive flow”. That’s why currently music lessons are among the most denied and disliked subjects. Why should anyone like or make music, is there any benefit? Why is it important to start music education in early childhood? The key is the proven benefits of music, the so-called “musical transfer effect”. Those children who receive appropriate music education in their early years will have more developed cognitive functions, linguistic, arithmetic skills, fine motoric capabilities, will possess a more open social attitude, more autonomous thus flexible personality compared to those children who received no music education. Therefore, the quality of our future society is at stake. 

The innovation of our approach lies in the new approach of two new models which connect creative movements with singing and music listening, as well as applying elements of the pedagogy of Klara Kokas, a Kodaly alumna, who developed a new, children-focused holistic approach combining music listening with free movements.  The two models truly reflect the findings of how active participation in music making, be it through instinctive movements, improvisation, etc. enhances the understanding, absorption of music. A recently finished pilot scientific study in Hungary serves as a starting point for the job of creating new didactics based on these models. In parallel, the critical review of the current learning material and music repertory used in primary schools will be completed along with importing new pieces. The pieces have to serve the needs of the children of the digital era, to help their joyful involvement in music lessons, by using carefully selected, high-quality music listening materials of various genres, authentic folk pieces of the given countries, singing games and choreographies. This will be executed by experts and students of the three HEI partners, the first steps being done through Intensive Programmes in each country. The materials will be tested in a population of children of primary school age and their teachers coming from partner institutions who have been invited by the HEIs in each country. These partners (HU: the Kós Károly primary school, NL: Vocaal Talent, SC: NYCoS) have children choirs as well as CPD programmes, so the testing procedure could be expanded to practicing teachers, too.
Besides the new curriculum, the new teaching resources and the modernised repertory, the third intellectual output of the project is a special platform, the Kodály-HUB, which will be designed to meet the unique needs of music educators. All materials developed in this project will be uploaded to the HUB and will be made publicly available. Thus it will act as a centre for updated music education information, methodology, didactics, it will be open for new partners, countries to upload new content, best practices upon a careful professional pre-check of the materials’ conformity to Kodályian principles. This HUB will also be used as an effective dissemination tool, though other regular dissemination channels will be promoted as well. 
At the end of the 30-month project, three consecutive multiplier events will be organised in all three countries where apart from educators, policy makers in school education will be invited.
The major impact of the project is to develop a new, fully competent, well trained and musically inspired generation of music teachers, therefore children can receive regular and high quality music education as part of their primary school curriculum.

Duration: 30 months (10 October 2016 – 10 April 2019)

Total budget: €246,938