This may be of interest to very few regulars, but here it is for the future Kodály googler.
More YouTube trolling has turned up this footage of Zoltán Kodály himself interviewed on Hungarian Television in 1953. It was around this time that the ideas about music education he had been putting out in his writings for decades were just starting to be put into practice officially in Hungary’s education system.
I’ve never seen footage of Kodály before, or heard his voice, so this is a real gem for me. Below, I’ve translated the essential part of Kodály’s comments in the interview.
Yes, on a trial basis, the Ministry of Education has allowed about ten schools to teach singing six hours a week. So, we don’t have a lot of experience yet, but we’re seeing a surprising result in these schools. The students are improving in all areas. Their speech has improved; their writing has improved; their reading has improved. They’re learning to read earlier.
All of this goes back to music. For example, writing music down requires such precision that, if the written note is too high up or low down, it means something completely different. So, that influences their penmanship. Math is also going a lot better for them. Music involves constant counting, so it becomes useful to arithmetic as well.
But the most important thing is the effect it has on discipline. We complain about how hard it is to teach children discipline. Generally, in these schools things go a lot more smoothly. Ensemble singing gets them used to discipline and a feeling of responsibility.
Some of this may seem a little forced, but the epilogue is that Kodály’s notions on singing in schools were put into practice in Hungary in the 50′s and 60′s with the well-documented results that Hungarian students excelled in a number of areas as compared with those of other countries.