Developing an ear is the most important thing of all. Concentrate first of all on recognizing note and key. The myth of 'perfect pitch' is not innate but a question of practice . . .
Zoltán Kodály, (1882–1967), noted Hungarian composer, musician, and educator believed that a good musician should have a well-trained mind, all in constant development and balance. He also believed that we should teach music and singing at school in such a way so that it's not torture, but a joy for students. He taught that we can instill in them a thirst for finer music which will last for a lifetime.
“To teach a child an instrument without first giving him preparatory training and without developing singing, reading, and dictating to the highest level along with the playing is to build upon sand…”
InterMuse offers a string pedagogy track to meet the needs of studio teachers wishing to implement the Kodály vision in their work. Coursework is built upon the following principles:
The best materials for beginning the study of music are childhood songs, native to one’s culture. Folksong serves as a gateway to high quality art music. Kodály believed that, “Only the best is good enough for the children.”
The learning sequence must be carefully crafted in a logical way, so the children understand each element before moving on to the next.
Technique and literacy should grow together, concurrently but independently, until the two merge naturally.
A group class setting provides children with a way to learn not only from the teacher, but from each other. It also serves as a performance class and ensemble opportunity. The private lesson can then be devoted to addressing technical challenges.
Method is adapted to the needs of each individual child. In order to do this, teachers need to have a wide knowledge of what is available to them.
InterMuse string track participants will study the curriculum, The Complete Musician, co-authored by Cynthia Richards, and Dr. Jerry L. Jaccard. This curriculum addresses the needs of elementary students in their first five years of string instruction. It will be presented over the course of three summers at InterMuse.
String track participants will simultaneously take the classroom pedagogy, solfege, and conducting coursework at InterMuse. These classes provide vital depth to a string teacher’s personal musicianship, as well as an understanding of the Kodály vision.
Since the course of study is focused more on developing musicianship, and not the technique of the instrument, it is not necessary to bring instruments to InterMuse. Combining technique with musicianship will be discussed, however. It is assumed that string teachers will use the techniques which they have already acquired from their experience.
“As it stands at this time, the violin teacher must teach much more than the violin. It may be true that our country is now leading the world in training instrumentalists, yet there is a glaring shortcoming, namely teaching children music fundamentals and sight-singing." (2002, p. 21)”
—Lyman Bodman, retired professor of string pedagogy at Michigan State University from his Essays on Violin Pedagogy.