Do Re Mi Fa, and Sol On

By Patti Cooper, Vocal Music Specialist, Senseney Music, Inc., Wichita, Kansas

The Kodaly concept of music education is certainly not new! Zoltan Kodaly, the mid-twentieth century Hungarian composer, laid the groundwork with his passionate philosophy of music in the Schools.  Together with Bela Bartok, Kodaly pioneered the concept of music instruction for all children, even the very young. The first Primary School, in which music was taught daily, opened in Hungary in 1950.

As a Kansas-owned, full service music store, Senseney Music Inc. believes in a strong partnership with local music educators. President Lori Supinie is the top music education advocate in our region (in my humble opinion!) This is why we remain active in supporting our teachers and their efforts to continue quality music programs for the children, youth, and adults in our region. The Kodaly Certification Program, held at Wichita State University each summer, is one such partnership. When the NCAA nationally ranked Shocker team hangs up their basketball shoes for the summer, we roll up our sleeves and go to work! Our goal is to create a win-win scenario, providing materials, support, convenience, and expertize for our customers. We can do this because we too are music educators, with decades of combined experience in the classroom.  Making the commitment to provide requested materials, sometimes obscure, helps ensure the success of this partnership. Hosting pre-certification classes and teacher workshops at our beautiful store (free of charge), setting up a mini store on site with required materials, and building relationships within this music community has indeed added to the overall national success of the WSU Kodaly Certification Program.

Folk songs, folk songs, and did I mention… folk songs? Singing is the building block of a Kodaly classroom. The Kodaly music educator chooses materials based on authentic folk music. I try to stock a variety of folk song collections, ranging from various regions of the United States to across the world. Materials which assist the teacher in extrapolating sequential musical concepts from the folk song are also valuable stock items. Recorded collections are useful for adding rhythmic movement, classroom instruments, and folk dances.

“Pass the classics, please.” The Kodaly Teacher will select “good quality” literature to further advance the overall philosophy of great singing and great music.  Classical print collections, octavos, and recorded masterworks are staple ingredients in this teacher’s pantry. The savvy music store will do his or her homework in order to provide a well-rounded assortment of good quality, classic, and authentic folk song based resources for the customer. In the words of Zoltan Kodaly himself, “Teach music and singing at school in such a way that it is not a torture but a joy for the pupil; instill a thirst for finer music in him, a thirst which will last for a lifetime.”  Cheers to lasting partnerships with our music educators; a win-win for everyone!