‘Music is for Everyone.’ The Kodály Music Education Institute of Australia

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Written by: Joel Copeland, National President, KMEIA Inc.

Joel Copland, President of KMEIA, describes the objectives of Kodaly Music Education and the activities of its national association in Australia.

Joel Copland

The Kodály Music Education Institute of Australia Inc. (KMEIA) is an organisation of people committed to music for everyone. We are united in the philosophy developed by Hungarian composer, Zoltan Kodály. Kodály stated that music education is the right of every child. He advocated that a sequential, cumulative and developmental program, based on an aural-vocal approach, is the most inclusive and effective way to develop musical literacy for people of all age groups.

For over 40 years KMEIA has been serving its members and the broader community as a centre of excellence for music education.  We strive to make music accessible to all and through doing so, foster a love and passion for music and music making.  Kodály believed that a person cannot be complete without music and that music serves to develop a person on all levels – emotionally, spiritually and intellectually.  Kodály believed that every person has musical aptitude and that, ideally, a music education should begin as early as possible in a person’s life – firstly at home and then later within the school curriculum.

Kodály was an advocate for singing and believed that it should form the foundation of all music education.  The use of the voice is one of the most defining features of the Kodály approach. The voice is the most accessible of all instruments and this makes it most suitable for music education and can lead to a highly developed musical ear. By focusing on learning through engaging with singing, playing, moving and enjoying, music becomes part of the natural learning process.

Kodály believed that music education should reflect the way that children learn naturally. Through singing games, fun and play the child discovers the musical elements as they are presented sequentially and has the opportunity to enter the world of music through the creative development of the ear and the eye.

KMEIA’s mission is to serve with integrity and honesty as a centre of excellence for music education. Our aim is to build, lead and resource communities of educators committed to enhancing the musical skills of children and adults through sequential and developmental, singing-based programs. These programs are inclusive of all, nurturing a love and passion for music and music-making. We provide opportunities for teachers and musicians to raise their levels of achievement and we strive to inform government authorities on the importance of quality music education for all children.

The Kodály Music Education Institute of Australia was founded by Deanna Hoermann in 1973. Now, with approximately 700 members in Australia, the Institute consists of State branches in the ACT, NSW, QLD, SA, VIC, and WA, with chapters in Mackay and Townsville, along with the do-re-mi program which assists affiliated teachers to teach classes for young children. South East Asia is expanding its education with the Kodály philosophy which has seen an increase in memberships coming from the region.  Our members specialise in a range of areas of music education from birth through to seniors: new parent and early childhood activities, school classrooms (specialist and non-specialist music teachers), studio teaching, as well as choral conducting and instrumental activities. The Kodály Music Education Institute of Australia is an affiliated member of the International Kodály Society.

Our branches and chapters provide a range of professional learning and networking opportunities including:  workshops, seminars, conferences and nationally recognised intensive teacher education courses.  More than our professional learning opportunities, our members belong to a special community that works to support, nurture and encourage all in their pursuit of musical and pedagogical advancement.  We are a place for members to learn, share and collaborate and are welcoming of all.

The Australian Kodály Certificate is offered by the Institute in the fields of early childhood, primary, secondary and Colour Strings.  The Australian Kodály Certificate is accepted for credit towards post-graduate study at Tabor College of Higher Education, Adelaide and is also a desired certification for many employers around the country.  Our accredited lecturers are highly skilled, qualified, experienced and inspiring music educators and pedagogues in their own rights.  Lecturers undergo a rigorous and involved mentoring process on the path to accreditation as we seek to ensure the highest standards of teacher education.  The Australian Kodály Certificate is currently offered by course providers in WA, SA, NSW, VIC, QLD, Malaysia and New Zealand.

The KMEIA National Council oversees the activities of the institute providing support to branches and chapters.  Standing Committees which focus on Education, Finance and Strategic Planning and Web based activities undertake tasks and projects serving to inform and improve the outcomes of the institute. These committees are made up of some of our leading educators in Australia.  Members of these committees need not be National Councillors and we are always seeking to engage broader members of the community with expertise, time and experience to offer in any of the particular domains.  KMEIA National also supports one branch in hosting the biennial National Conference with the last conference held in Brisbane in 2016.  We greatly look forward to 2018 when the conference will head west to be hosted by the WA branch for the first time.

In recent years, the National Council has overseen the development of a range of initiatives including but not limited to, the Australian Kodály Scholarship, the Enid Scott Conference Award and the online National Newsletter.  We are also moving towards the online publishing of over 40 years of national publications.

The National Council have recently undertaken the task of formulating the next KMEIA Strategic Plan.  We have completed a national survey that provided an opportunity for our members and the broader music education community to celebrate the many positive attributes of our association whilst reflecting on the infinite opportunities for growth. This Strategic Plan will seek to balance the insights provided by our music education community with fresh ideas and inspiration from beyond our borders.  By remaining open minded we are better prepared to embrace new opportunities for collaboration and innovation.

To find out more about KMEIA and the activities of our branches and chapters as well as membership information, you can visit our website:  www.kodaly.org.au

We are truly inspired and optimistic about the future of KMEIA and the broader music education landscape of our country.

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