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Date of Graduation
Master of Music (MM)
School of Music
Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy
Music literacy and its acquisition are vital components of all high school choral programs. Chief among the skills necessary and developed at the high school level are audiation, sight-reading, and the acquisition of age appropriate choral literature. Over time, research has informed best practices in choral pedagogy to include specific implementation of audiation and sight-reading programs based on the developmental hierarchy of student music learners. The Kodály system, developed by Hungarian music educator and composer Zoltán Kodály in the ’40s and ’50s, and researched and documented in studies from the ’60s through ’80s, is based on the foundation that only activity can lead someone to a real understanding and appreciation of music. Simply listening to music is not enough to develop these skills.
The two-fold purpose of this study was to: (1) implement a Kodály-inspired methodology and measure student progress in sight-reading within a highly successful high school choral program as a best practice in sight-reading and music literacy pedagogy; and (2) reflect on the learning process of a highly experienced and successful mid-career high school choral music educator who has made the decision to upgrade his current pedagogical implementation through study and usage of the Kodály method, with a particular focus on sight-reading.
The participants were sorted into two descriptive categories and three descriptive subgroups. Students were placed into one of two categories: Previous Kodály Experience Sight-Reading Category; and No Previous Kodály Experience Sight-Reading Category. After the pretest was administered, students were placed into one of three subgroups: (1) Proficient Musician Sight-Reading Subgroup; (2) Capable Musician Sight-Reading Subgroup; (3) Developing Musician Sight-Reading Subgroup; (4) Resultant data were sorted and compared within this framework.
During the fall semester of 2014, six pre-, mid-, and post-tests were administered in sight-reading activities that had been developed with the intent of measuring and comparing student growth in sight-reading skills using techniques borrowed from the Kodály method over the course of the given semester. Throughout the semester, a developmentally sequenced course of study in solfege and sight-reading was implemented as part of the choir curriculum for high school students enrolled in a choir program in the state of Virginia. Results indicated that: (1) all participants improved after the Kodály-inspired treatment; (2) the Proficient Musician Sight-Reading Subgroup improved the least, although the mean scores for their group were the highest; and (3) on five of the six testing examples, the Capable Musician Sight-Reading Subgroup increased the most, even though mean scores were lower than those in the Proficient Musician Sight-Reading Subgroup. Recommendations based on these findings were identified for further research.
“The Kodály Concept.” Kodály Institute. 28 Mar. 2018. Kodaly.hu/zoltankodaly/kodalyconcept.
Ryman, Jeffrey Alan, "Learning new tricks: Teacher self-improvement in Kodály Solfege study and its relation to student growth" (2019). Masters Theses. 627.