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In August, two Lower Primary teachers, Ms Susan Creese, (P–6 Music Coordinator) and Mrs Deb Wilson, (Prep teacher), were among a team of more than 20 Australians invited to present workshops at the International Kodály Symposium in Camrose, Alberta, Canada. This prestigious event, held every two years, is a forum for music educators world-wide to come together to share practical applications of the pedagogical philosophies of Hungarian composer and educator Zoltan Kodály.

Kodály’s renown as a music educator is almost as high as his reputation as a composer. He was very interested in addressing the problems of music education, and wrote several books of educational music for schools, as well as writing a wealth of academic texts on the subject.

Although he is sometimes acknowledged as the creator of the ‘Kodály Method’, this is something of a misnomer as Kodály did not actually devise a comprehensive method. Kodály established that a sequential, cumulative and developmental program, based on an aural-vocal approach, is the most inclusive and effective way to develop musicianship and musical literacy for people of all age groups. Every musician needs to ‘hear’ their part and be able to sing it, be they an instrumentalist or a vocal student.

It is the pursuit of methodological means to those imparting these characteristics upon our students that brought Deb and Susan to the International Kodály Symposium. The experienced teachers and workshop clinicians who were selected as presenters to muse upon these philosophies came from a large pool of applicants around the world. Susan and Deb presented engaging and inspiring workshops to enthusiastic audiences from many countries around the globe, including Canada, USA, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hungary, Scotland and Columbia.

Deb’s presentation, ‘Circle Time in Early Childhood – An Opportunity to Build Necessary Skills for Success at School’, demonstrated how songs, rhymes and other musical concepts can impact many different facets of the early childhood curriculum. Based on Kodály’s philosophy that music is for everyone, Susan’s active workshop, ‘Level Up! Progressive Challenges for Successful Differentiation’ explored innovative practice ideas to engage the brain and body. Designed to cater for all levels of ability in the music classroom, these activities increase motivation and musical success in Primary aged students.

Susan and Deb’s presentations were received with excitement and praise from their international colleagues and in turn, they have returned to St Peters inspired to implement new songs, games and research-based practices with a greater international perspective.

Connections were made with music educators working within various teaching contexts, including PYP educators from around the world. The week-long conference provided opportunities to collaborate, philosophise and engage in reflective and open-minded discussions with like-minded educators. These rewarding interactions affirmed the teaching practices in place at St Peters and have inspired fresh perspectives on holistic, creative and stimulating approaches to music education.