Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Fall 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)


School of Music


Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy

William Dabback

Lucy Owen Hoyt



Based on the work of Hungarian composer and educator Zoltán Kodály, the Kodály method, a sound-to-symbol approach to music-making and literacy stemming from an aural and auditory entry point, forms an integral aspect of many elementary level general music curricula in the United States. In this process-oriented, experiential approach, students hear and explore music kinesthetically, aurally and through folk and art song before visual concepts in the form of notes in formal notation are introduced.

In contrast, traditional beginning band methodologies tend not to incorporate a sound-to-symbol approach, teaching the intricacies of a complex new instrument in conjunction with the primary steps of music reading/literacy. A large body of research supports vocalization in instrumental classrooms and the benefits of singing while learning an instrument, yet, to date, only a handful of researchers have developed a band method incorporating a sound-to-symbol approach; still fewer have developed band methods based on the Kodály method.

The purpose of this study was to document twenty-eight fifth-grade students’ yearlong experience in a beginning band class taught in a Kodály-centered sound-to-symbol approach. The beginning band method, Jump Right In: The Instrumental Series, as well as additional supplementary Kodály materials, were used in the study. Classroom methodology consisted of Kodály-based aural musical presentations, patterning, and improvisation leading to literacy. Students were formally assessed four times throughout the academic year, and a randomly selected group of students was chosen to participate in an Exit Interview. The interviews were analyzed for emergent themes and code word frequency.

The data collected provided insight into the impact of the study and supported the need and importance for continued research in the area of sound-to-symbol or rote-to-note approaches in instrumental education. Exit Interview results indicated that students recognized and valued both the transfer of musical content and skills from their Kodály experiences in elementary general music to the band classroom, as well as the sound-to-symbol approach to learning their band instrument. Further recommendations for research in a Kodály-centered band curriculum were given.



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