A Week of Intense Fun and Learning by Jimmy Rotheram

Jimmy Rotheram is music coordinator for Feversham Primary Academy, a school in inner-city Bradford which in the last five years has transformed from a special measures school to ‘outstanding’ by prioritising music and drama, and is now in the top 1 per cent of schools in the country for pupil progress. He also supports local schools with music training and events and performs soul, funk, jazz and comedy at weekends.

It’s difficult to find the words to describe the BKA Summer School experience to somebody who hasn’t seen it for themselves. So rather than spouting superlatives, perhaps the biggest testimony I can give is that when I had to go home, I sobbed and gulped like a baby who had had all of his favourite dinosaur toys taken away.

Serious fun
If you haven’t been before, it is a week of intense fun and learning. A week of revelations. A week of having the most fun you can possibly have with a room full of people and their voices, knowledge and imagination. A week of bonding with people who don’t think you’re weird for putting hand signs to distant car alarms. A week of people unselfconsciously walking round in a state of bliss, pressing in their belly buttons whilst blowing a song about rabbits through a straw into a bottle of water. A week of sideways looks from bemused delegates of other conferences. You will be exposed to a smorgasbord of musical styles. You will develop musicianship and classroom pedagogy from some of the finest minds in music education from around the world, alongside like-minded people who take music and having fun very seriously. I’ve never seen so many people having ‘personal breakthroughs’ so expect some – from the lady who had suddenly discovered a wonderful vibrato voice, to the young women who had never sung in choir or public before, to the man who could suddenly conduct easily.

A morning’s work
Let me walk you through a typical Summer School day. We would begin with an hour of rehearsing Haydn’s Missa Brevis with Árpád Tóth. I learned so much from watching him conduct and coach the choir – such as how to make the lyrics crystal clear, or how to ensure balance and musicality on each phrase, as well as how to warm up and prepare your choir in engaging ways for a session of singing.

This was followed by musicianship classes with Esther Hargittai, who showed us how to have fun whilst developing crazy skills like the ability to suddenly switch modes from any degree of the scale. Even singing and playing in the Phrygian mode was ‘always a joy, never a torture’ (guess which notable music educator said that this is how music should be?). After a quick brew and a natter with kindred spirits at coffee time, it was back to Esther who showed us how to consider all the details of conducting a children’s choir and make part-singing easy for them.

Optional Extras – Singing
I signed up for all of the extras, and recommend the investment to anyone. Allan Hubert-Wright’s singing lessons are truly bespoke and extraordinary. He can show you how to do anything, easily, with your voice. He has the scientific knowledge to know exactly what you need to do physically, and the musical knowledge to apply this perfectly to whatever you want to sing. He added an extra octave to my comfortable range, and suddenly a clear, powerful tone was coming out of my head voice for the first time ever, with a lot less effort than I was putting in before. I should also add that Allan could also be a professional stand-up comedian – he’s completely down-to-earth, friendly and hilarious. You don’t really question the reasons why you are singing ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ in huge tremulous raspberries or blowing bubbles into a bottle of water while you sing, but once you’ve done these exercises and got rid of your giggles, you can sing like a champion. My new voice is like getting a brand new instrument to play with!

Optional Extras – Piano
Piano lessons with Orsolya Szabó are worth every penny. There are certain passages in pieces I practised for hours and hours without getting anywhere. Some gentle movement away from the piano, a slightly different posture, miniscule adjustments to my hand shape and suddenly I could play these passages straight away, without even having to practise! This woman has superpowers! If you don’t believe me, she is a Hungarian gymnastic champion, international concert pianist and a respected fine artist and poet, with a PhD in philosophy!

Joyful and inclusive
After lunch, we would have an afternoon of fun and games and belly laughs with the likes of Lucinda Geoghegan and Gerard Klaassens. We also enjoyed wonderfully creative Dalcroze workshops from Jacqueline Vann which I can’t wait to take back to the classroom. Many first attempts at the games ended in chaos and giggles, but soon we were mastering the games, and reassuringly, kids are far better co-ordinated with new things than most of us ‘old folk’ (over 20s!). Following this, we went deep into the detailed pedagogy with Bori Szirányi, which underpins all the fun and games and ensures musical literacy for everyone. In the evening we enjoyed lectures from the likes of Paul Wilson (folk music) and a wonderful performance from the London Adventist Chorale.

At the sun set, the reasonably-priced bar was filled with people making music together. A huge gang of joyful, inclusive musicians, clutching folders of Irish folk music, jazz real books, or just armed with their ears, wielding accordions, guitars, violins, violas, saxophones and ukuleles with up to three people on the piano singing part harmony. Students, tutors, virtuoso musicians, beginners, guest lecturers, all making music together for the love of it. Imagine the best jam or open mic night ever. Every night! But of course we were all up again bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the next day to do it all over again (at least we were after a hearty breakfast and a coffee or two).

I wanted to take everyone home with me and keep it all going in my garden. The anger of my girlfriend discovering hundreds of strangers dancing around our garden making strange noises and hand signs would be a small price to pay to stay a little longer in paradise. I’ll just have to settle for keeping in touch with my new family on Facebook, where incredible support is available for us.

But where the real magic happens is when you take all this back to the classroom and try it out. I’ve been studying the Kodály Approach in some depth over the last few years, and the more I learn and apply from my studies, the easier it is for my pupils to excel. People unfamiliar with the approach are amazed that my year 4s can aurally dictate pentatonic melodies, or sing in harmony, or keep a rhythmically complex ostinato whilst singing in canon. Especially when they are having SO much fun doing it. This is how music should be. Always a joy, never a torture.

My Summer School Experience by Louise Cooper

Louise Cooper is Head of Music at William Perkin C of E School in Greenford, West London.

I want to learn about this Hungarian school of music. What is the method by which I can achieve great results in my classroom? There is no method. There is no rule book. But go to the Summer School and you can find out more.

Looking back on it, attending the Summer School was akin to developing your mind in the way of the great spiritual traditions. Alongside rigorous scholarship (in our case, endless classes, study, homework, classes, study, homework), I learned as much by being in the presence of those who carried a great light for music education. Although I did not know much about Kodály the man himself, listening to Orsolya (and others) speak about him made me consider what an incredible gift he left us and what an incredible vision this man had. Cecilia Vajda was one of many who were so inspired by him that she carried a beacon for music education to this country. Through her endeavours, my education had been made possible. In my own humble way, I saw myself as part of this tradition of music educators: how would I carry that vision forward? What were my responsibilities to help others share the joy of music?

Making GCSE music accessible
As head of music in a secondary school, one of my challenges is how to make the study of GCSE music accessible to those who wish to study it. How can I teach them to read notation, carry out dictation, identify cadences and analyse scores when their ears (and eyes) may not be trained in Western Classical music? And how can I get them to love this?! About ten years ago a friend of mine recommended the Kodály approach and I went to evening classes with David Vinden. I immediately understood that this approach gave me a framework for introducing students to notation so I began to replicate many of the exercises with my students. Ten years on, I had embedded this approach into the curriculum and it was working. But I had a feeling there was more to learn…

There are no rules, but…
The Rule Book does not exist. But what did I learn? I can summarise my learning about this philosophy of music education in three points. My points may not be the same as yours and I reserve the right to change the points in another ten years! But this is where I got to:
1. Learning music should be fun! It can be learned at a desk, but the learning does not have to all be intellectually-based. Learning can be multi-dimensional: through movement, through singing, through games. Learning can be audio, visual, kinaesthetic, social. There are so many ways to explore music which are applicable with older students as well as younger students.
2. Through a well-planned, systematic, step-by-step approach it is possible to train students’ ears (with particular focus on the ‘inner ear’) in order to appreciate art music at a deep level. The ultimate goal is not a GCSE grade or even a class of perfect sight-readers; the ultimate goal is to share the joy of music with our students. If the methodology is good, we can get there.
3. We should have high expectations for our students. Frankly, I was blown away by the videos of the Hungarian primary school children as what they were able to achieve would be challenging with an A-level class. It has made me consider that I need to set the bar higher for my own students.

I came back from the Summer School buzzing with ideas. (I also momentarily considered retraining as a primary school teacher: how effective could this approach be if used in the early formative years?) Then back to school and dealing with the usual deluge of work which has swept me through September. Realigning my secondary curriculum with this approach will take me some time to effect. But as I carry the light of that inspiration I gained from the Summer School with me, there is no doubt in my mind that it will happen.

Magic by Laura McFall

Laura is a 25-year-old musicianship teacher and classical singer from Northern Ireland, and has recently accepted a place on the MMus Vocal Performance and Kodály Musicianship course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. She has also recently taken on the role of musicianship lecturer at the Junior Conservatoire of Scotland. Her plan for the future is to go back to Northern Ireland and teach musicianship in areas of deprivation, especially in the rural parts of Northern Ireland, as well as develop creative hubs and spaces for people living with dementia and special educational needs to come together and experience the life-changing power of music.

I don’t really know where to begin… The BKA Summer School was one of the highlights of my professional training to date. It is almost surreal now to think that I was fortunate enough to not only experience the highest level of musicianship training from the world’s most incredible Kodály experts, but also to be selected as one of the recipients of the CVMS award, which in all honesty, made this experience possible for me.

Bringing theory alive
During the course I attended a range of different musicianship classes during the day, and every evening I took part in the extra activities which included Morris dancing, Elgar part songs and of course, the Irish céilí. As invaluable and worthwhile as every single class was for my personal development on the course, I want to give a particular mention to a few of my own personal highlights. Firstly, to my amazing musicianship tutor, Esther Hargittai. Somehow, she managed to turn all the mathematical information that lay dead in my brain from those previous, scary ABRSM ‘theory’ exams about figured bass, chordal progression and modal harmony, into solfa magic! Already, I have started embedding these new ways of thinking with my new class of 10 – to 16-year-old musicianship students, who, after just one month of teaching, have already told me how much easier and FUN their musicianship class is… Magic!

Paul Wilson

Paul Guitar c DaveGreen

Paul is a professional music educator, composer, singer and song-writer, with thirty years’ experience. As a music educator with Marilyn Tucker, he co-founded Wren Music, which now serves over 30,000 people a year from its base in Devon. He regularly writes articles and gives talks on folk music and education. His dedication to preserving, maintaining and creating traditional music was recognised in 2002 with the award of an Honorary MA in Music Education by the University of Plymouth. He is the course director for the new level 4 Trinity course Certificate for Music Educators delivered by Wren Music.

www.wrenmusic.co.uk

Kodály Summer School 2017 – Talk 1

Mother Tongues and Other Tongues

Singing Songs In Foreign Languages

Paul Wilson

This talk will take a broad and informed perspective on the perennially ‘tricky’ subject of singing and teaching songs in foreign languages. In a world where English as a language is taken to the remotest corners of the world through internet and social media use, how should we approach the learning and teaching of songs in tongues which are not our own?

There is no question that in the past, perhaps in our desire to promote songs in other languages, we have been cavalier. Many influential organisations singing leaders and publishing houses have approached the understanding of foreign texts with an amazing lack of care and respect. To begin to address this positively and work towards a more genuinely inclusive song culture for our society, we will aim to provide a few key pointers towards building a code of practice.

We want to enjoy singing in other tongues, especially with the possibilities now opening up with new media, but we need to accord the other tongues the basic respect they deserve and that we would want for our own. The talk will contain many ideas which are highly transferable. It is not necessary of course to run a whole project or even a whole concert around this concept, but the sequences of activity can be employed anywhere for anyone wishing to approach a song in a foreign language.

Delegates will be invited to get their tongues round a few tricky sounds from another tongue – from listening to recordings of first language speakers – lots of fun!!

Kodály Summer School 2017 – Talk 2

Centuries of Song

A romp through the timeline of English Folk Song

Paul Wilson

The talk will take selected significant events over the last half millennium or so, to provide a birds eye view of what we now describe as English Folk Music. Of necessity we will stop a little longer with significant signposts and watersheds.

We will flag the 17th and 18th century European philosophers and writers like Herder and Bishop Percy and their search for national identities. Compare the ballad anthologists and commentators. We will ride around 19th and early 20th century Devon and Somerset with collectors like Sabine Baring Gould and Cecil Sharp. We will find out why latter day collectors were keen to visit working men’s clubs and gipsy encampments and bring things right up to date with the description of new initiatives which are being created through internet resources and public funding. The talk will touch on some scarcely believable truths and may explode some long standing and credible myths and will feature historical musical examples sung live alongside audio from more recent collecting.

We will consider how much or little of this work is being applied to educational situations and how the current scene is one of unrivalled opportunity for music educators interested in bringing forward English Folk song with their young people.

Finally, there’ll be lots of opportunity for discussion and sharing of perspectives on this fascinating and often hidden raft of treasures.

copyright – Paul Wilson

July 2017

Ben Lawrence

Ben LawrenceBen divides his week by managing Calderdale’s Public Children’s Library Service and being the Early Years Librarian, a job he finds incredibly rewarding. He loves sharing his passions for music and literature with the families in and around Halifax, West Yorkshire. He is also chair of both Yorkshire and Humber Youth Libraries Group and the Kirklees and Calderdale Children’s Bookgroup.

Ben studied music at the University of Huddersfield, studying viola with Helen Brackley Jones, and graduated in 2008. After graduation, he continued his studies with Sarah-Jane Bradley. He is a member of the British Kodály Academy, and endeavours to apply Kodály’s philosophy of music education in all his sessions. In 2013, Ben was awarded the Cecilia Vajda Memorial Scholarship to further his studies at the British Kodály Academy Summer School.

Ben, with his colleague Shelley Bullas, co-authored the chapter Music and Rhyme Time Sessions for the Early Years in the book Library Services from Birth to Five – Delivering the Best Start, edited Carolynn Rankin and Avril Brock.

Ben regularly presents at conferences and delivers training on using songs and rhymes for Children Centre and Early Years staff as well as Children’s Library professionals. In 2014 Ben was invited to speak about the power of sharing songs, rhymes and stories at an MP’s reception at the Houses of Parliament. More recently, Ben has recorded songs and rhymes for the charity Booktrust, for their National Bookstart Week celebrations.

Ben sings with, and is administrator for, the Northern Kodály Choir based in Huddersfield. He LOVES playing viola, and can be found playing regularly for Espressivo Chorus and the Fields Ensemble.

Ken Burton

Ken Burton_photoKen Burton started his musical training at a very young age, playing piano, descant and alto recorder, violin and steel pans in his primary school and at church. He then entered Trinity School, with its acclaimed boys choir, for whom he played on a number of occasions. After his schooling, Ken pursued his BMus degree at Goldsmith’s College, University of London, and undertook professional development studies in music education, specialising in vocal coaching.

As a performer, Ken has conducted, played, sung and made many radio and television appearances at all the leading U.K. venues, as well as in Europe, Africa, Asia, North America and Australia. On an orchestral level, Ken has conducted the London Mozart Players, and members of the RPO and RLPO.

Ken’s choral activities began when he was nine years old, by accompanying the Croydon SDA Youth Choir (now the Croydon SDA Gospel Choir), and at fifteen directing the choir. Choral activities became a more integral part of Ken’s musical life, and he was accompanist for the Goldsmiths’ College Chorus, and singer in the Goldsmiths’ Chamber Choir. After completing his initial studies, Ken was appointed chorus master of the Goldsmiths’ Chorus, and, subsequently Musical Director of the Goldsmiths’ Chamber Choir. In 1990, Ken was invited to join Derek Hoyte as director of the London Adventist Chorale. He has enjoyed success in a number of competitions and awards, namely the Sainsbury’s Choir of the Year, won by the London Adventist Chorale in 1994, with the Croydon SDA Gospel Choir in second place, out of a total of 306 Choirs. The London Adventist Chorale was also voted BBC UK Gospel Choir of the year in 1995, and the Croydon SDA Gospel Choir has enjoyed first place in local music festivals.

As a recording musician, Ken’s activities have been extensive. His first recording was with Gospel band, Ekklesia, in 1986, with an album release mostly containing Ken’s original pieces. Further recordings have been made with choirs and bands. Among them are Croydon SDA Gospel Choir’s Until We Reach, Perfect Love, and The Very Best of Gospel; the London Adventist Chorale’s Deep River and Steal Away; Graham Kendrick’s Rumours 0f Angels, and Illuminations, Southampton Community Gospel Choir’s Southern Praise (a commission). Ken is continually working on a number of projects.

Radio and television broadcasts have been numerous, not only in the U.K. but all over the world. Ken has conducted, performed, interviewed, and had his compositions of his own played on television and radio stations in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, America, and Australia. Workshop activities are also very regular events for Ken. His workshops are in demand around the world, in Europe, America, The Caribbean and Africa. As a composer, his music is published by Faber Music. Currently, there are two volumes of arrangements for choir, the first – the best-selling –‘Feel the Spirit’, and the second, released in the new Millennium ‘Good News’. A third SATB volume will be available soon. In 1997, he was commissioned to write a Gospel work for the Southampton Community Gospel Choir. This was entitled Southern Praise, and the work received both television and radio coverage, as well as being recorded and released on CD. Ken’s compositions cover a broad range of musical styles and types, including orchestral, band, solo vocal works ranging from 17th century through to 20th century idiom, a cappella choral cantatas, jingles, and many more.

As an educator, Ken has led and continues to lead many workshops, seminars and lectures in concert halls, schools, colleges, universities, churches and to private choral groups, on an international level. In the course of his career, Ken has also served as head of music at a north London church school.

Currently, Ken teaches performance to students at John Ruskin College in Greater London, directs the chamber choir at Goldsmiths’ College University of London, adjudicates for competitions, including the BBC Television series ‘Choir 0f The Year’ and is musical director and orchestrator for several television programmes, including the BBC series, ‘Songs of Praise’.

Rhys and Owain Boorman

Rhys and Owain

At the 2017 Kodály Summer School, Rhys and Owain will present a fun and interactive introduction to Cotswold Morris Dance, the most graceful, dynamic and complex of the Morris Dance forms alive in England today. Morris Dancing has easy-to- grasp structures, which are filled with a vocabulary of steps and arm movements distinctive to each “tradition”, and a number of figures and group movements shared between traditions. We will learn one or two accessible dances to explore the beauty of this tradition.

Rhys and Owain Boorman have both been dancing since the age of 12; they are 24 now. Their first side was Mad Jack’s Morris from Hastings, which was their only team for six years before going to university. Since then, Rhys has joined various teams, notably Morris performance group: Morris Offspring and Molly Team: The Seven Champions Molly Dancers. With Morris Offspring he has performed on various stages, including the Royal Albert Hall for the 2014 Folk Awards and has performed in shows in America and Canada.

Owain was just as busy at university, joining and leading two sides in Southampton: Red Stags and King John’s, who dance Border and Cotswold Morris, respectively.  He also formed a new mixed Cotswold side in the Autumn of 2014 called Clausentum Morris.

Rhys and Owain won the famous John Gasson Double Jig Competition in 2015 representing Clausentum, with Owain winning the Solo competition that same year; Rhys was placed 2nd in 2015 and 2016.

Gerard Klaassens

Gerard_photoGerard Klaassens lives in Limburg, in the South of Holland. He has a B.Ed. in Music Education and has studied solo singing. Since 1993 he has attended all the International Kodâly Seminars at the Kodály Institute of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music in Kecskemét, Hungary where he has attended many solo singing courses led by Dr.János Klézli and Roland Hadju.

Gerard teaches Kodály Musicianship and recorder at the Myouthic Institute for Art and Culture, Thorn and is also a music teacher at the Music Primary Schools of Hout-Blerick, Montfort and Linne. As a conductor, he directs a children’s choir, an adult choir and a concert band; his adult choir have performed in Poland, Vienna, Salzburg and Baden-Baden.

In Holland he is in demand as a lecturer in Primary Music Education and has given workshops on Kodály teaching at the Utrechts Conservatorim. Last August, he was invited to meet the Minister of Education to discuss music education in the South of Holland. Together with Paul Mestrom he has written a method for recorder based on Kodály principles and is now working on a book about music listening.

Gerard has a great interest in multicultural songs and has travelled (and continues to travel) to many different countries to collect songs.

Nicola Gaines

Nicola Gaines_photo

Nicola Gaines, BPhil(Hons), listed Cecchetti, is a specialist performer and teacher of Early Dance.

Nicola will be running two dance workshops, on Sunday afternoon and evening. The first is French Baroque Dance – steps and rhythm. Nicola will focus on the Minuet, showing how experiencing the steps of this typical Baroque dance can illuminate the music.

In the evening we can let our hair down with some English Dances from the 17th century – patterns and fun! In 1651 Playford published “The English Dancing Master” or “Plaine  and easie Rules for the Dancing of Country Dances, with the Tune to each Dance.” These dances were intended as light relief from the more formal dances of the age and were all about “meeting and passing”.

A graduate of the London College of Dance and Drama, and the Royal Ballet School’s Teachers Training Course, she worked for many years with the late Belinda Quirey MBE. In 1998 she recorded a highly acclaimed video on Baroque dance with Christopher Tudor.

Nicola has worked and performed on numerous educational projects with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. She has also led educational projects for the Victoria & Albert Museum and Viva (East of England Orchestra). Nicola has also delivered workshops for EPTA, BKA and the Purcell School of Music

Nicola is the Dance Leader and Administrator for the Early Dance Faculty of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance and has taught and demonstrated Early Dance on numerous courses run for dancers and musicians.

Nicola is also a senior teacher for the Junior Associates Scheme at the Royal Ballet School where she is responsible for the use of Early Dance material in the JA training programme and performances.

 

 

Kodály 4 All

Fleet, Hampshire

Two twilight sessions (4 – 6.30) on the application of the Kodály principles to classroom music teaching (Early Childhood and Primary – easily adapted for instrumental use)

Tutor: Len Tyler

Location: Court Moor School, Spring Woods, Fleet, GU52 7RY

Dates:
Part 1: Wednesday 11th January 2017 from 16:00 to 18:30
Part 2: Wednesday 18th January 2017 from 16:00 to 18:30
Single session attendance by arrangement. Priority give to those attending both sessions.

Who is this workshop for?
Anyone interested in classroom music teaching (preschool and primary). There is no need to be a music reader. This workshop is also suitable for instrumental teachers who want learn the Kodaly principles. Very useful for “whole class” teaching.

What will the workshop include?

  • Use of the basic Kodaly principles
  • Lots of songs, routines, and handouts
  • Examples of easy to produce resources
  • Loads of practical ideas (all tried and tested)

Comments from previous delegates

  • Everything was marvelous and extremely useful
  • All very exciting as my first experience of music teacher training. Loved the practical exercises
  • Having done pre-school music for the last 10 years, and being a professional musician there were surprisingly quite a few things that I hadn’t thought about
  • So many great ideas. It was all useful to me
  • Len was excellent in how he explained the course. Good to listen to and very precise. I enjoyed it immensely.
  • I found Len very inspiring and helpful.

Download the Kodály 4 All Flyer

To register your interest or book a place
Contact: Theresa
Email: enquiry@lentylermusicschool.co.uk
Phone: 01276 504666

This workshop has been set up specifically to support classroom teachers in preschools and primary schools in Fleet (Hants) and the surrounding area and is open to all in both the state and private sector. While there is no need to be a music reader to attend this workshop there will be plenty for the music specialist. As the Kodály principles are easy to see in early years and primary this workshop is ideal for any instrumental teacher wanting to find out how this approach works. The composer Zoltán Kodály (1882 – 1967) discovered that music education in his native Hungary was not good, and certainly not as he had personally experienced music as a child. As a result he set out to improve things by seeking out “best practice” around Europe while travelling as a professional musician/composer. It was in 1964 that the Incorporated Society of Music Educators held their annual conference in Budapest. At that event the world saw for the first time the great benefits of music the education system in Hungary. There are now Kodály organisations in many countries including USA, Canada, Australia, UK and of course Hungary.