Reasons to Get Your Kodaly Certification

5 Reasons to Get Your Kodály Certification

If you're reading this, you might be a brand new teacher fresh from college wondering if what you learned in your music education classes actually prepared you for the classroom. Or, you might be an experienced music teacher looking for new teaching resources and wanting to add some new skills to your teaching repertoire. 
Wherever you are in your music teaching career, I believe a Kodály certification can give you a new perspective on teaching music and new resources to bring back to your classroom after summer break. In this blog, you'll learn five reasons why attending Kodaly training and receiving your Kodály certification can transform you as a music teacher and help bring joy to your classroom!

1. Learn dozens of songs and activities to add to your teaching repertoire

If there's one thing an Elementary music teacher needs, it is a vast repertoire of activities. This repertoire includes music, movements, folk songs, folk dances, and more. The more variety you have, the last chance your students will get to get bored in your music classroom. 

If you know anything about Kodály it's that the American Kodály method focuses on teaching and utilizing American folk songs. There are many reasons why folk songs are utilized, but that is for another blog post. You will not only walk away from the first level of your Kodály certification with dozens and dozens of new songs but also engaging activities and games to sing these songs with, as well as practical applications for these songs within the elementary music curriculum.

And if you're thinking that all you will be learning is folk songs, then surprise! You will be also learning a variety of folk dances, as well as listening activities that you can use to reinforce different concepts in your classroom through classical music. 

2. Strengthen the knowledge of your elementary music curriculum

If you're lucky, your school district already has a strong curriculum that you can use, and if you're very lucky your school also provides materials to go along with that curriculum. Many of us are not so lucky though and it can be a mystery to figure out what you should be teaching to your students and when you should be teaching it. 

I was lucky enough that my school district did have a very good scope and sequence, but when I first started teaching, I lacked the understanding of how to scaffold this knowledge and skills for my students. I also didn't have a very good plan at the beginning of the school year for what I wanted to be teaching my students throughout the year, and each week I had to decide what concept I wanted to work on with my students. This was obviously not a very good method, and even though my students and I had fun, they didn't necessarily have a strong understanding of all the concepts I tried to teach.

With the correct scaffolding, I understood the knowledge and skills my students needed to have before moving on to another concept. After my first and second Kodály levels, I had a much better understanding of how to plan out my school year, and make sure we got through the whole curriculum (or most of it) each year. 

3. Brush up on your aural skills

Was aural skills the bane of your existence in college while you were majoring in music? I know it was mine. However I have to admit that this was a very important skill to learn, possibly one of the most important, and as we know as a teacher, learning never stops. Be prepared to learn solfège if you haven't already and brush up on your sight singing, and part-singing skills. 

Don't let this sound daunting to you though! There may be many talented vocalists and people with perfect pitch, but most of us are just faking it until we make it when it comes to aural skills. If you don't know solfège yet or it's been a while since you were in college, you will be in good company with supportive teachers to help you out!

4. Improve your elementary choral pedagogy

You might be a seasoned vocalist, or you might be more like me and had only taken one semester of choir and vocal methods in college before jumping into the elementary music room. Either way, elementary choir is a beast of its own and there are many techniques, warm-ups, and repertoire that can make your job of teaching elementary choir much more fun for you and your students. 

Through your Kodály certification, you should have a more thorough understanding of the elementary voice. You will also understand how to incorporate warm-ups and exercises to build your student skills in part singing. With scaffolds in place to learn part singing, your students will be able to go from singing partner songs and canons to the octavos they really want to be singing.

5. Incorporate student-led learning in your classroom

A great Kodály teacher will not just teach students new concepts but will lead their students to discover it themselves. I didn't fully understand this student-led idea of teaching when I first started my career. Instead when I was teaching students something new, I told them exactly what the new notes or pitch was and what it meant. This was obviously not very exciting or interesting for my elementary-aged students, and it led to students being unengaged and uninterested in their learning.

After taking my Kodály levels, I learned to instead lead students to discover a new rhythm, pitch, or tempo by being able to define its characteristics themselves and then putting a name to this new thing they learned, my students were excited and took pride in what they learned because they were able to take ownership in their learning.

It's important to note that every American Kodály teacher training program is structured a little differently, but no matter where you go, you should be walking away with valuable resources to take back to your classroom. I would not have been the music teacher I was without my Kodály certification, so I hope you think about attending a certification program this summer or possibly attending workshops in your area this fall!

Learn more about the Kodály method here. Click here to find an OAKE endorsed teacher education progam near you.

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