Since 1992, our Suzuki piano programme has included the training of progressive musicianship through weekly classes taught by Betty Power, a Suzuki piano teacher trained in Japan and the USA, and a specialist teacher of Kodály music education. Classes currently range in size from six to sixteen students, aged 3-16, and are currently at four levels: Beginners, Juniors, Intermediate and Advanced.
Zoltán Kodály believed music should belong to everyone, and that singing is the core of music-making even when playing an instrument. In Erzsebet Szonyi's summary of Kodály's words, the true musician possesses 'A cultured ear, a cultured intellect, a cultured heart and cultured fingers. These four need to be developed simultaneously and kept in constant equilibrium.'
In our programme, students learn a common repertoire of folk songs and singing games from which specific rhythmic and melodic patterns are identified first through hearing, and gradually studied through rhythm work and stick notation. Included in Kodály musicianship training is the use of relative solfa (with moveable do, i.e. 'do-re-mi') and Curwen handsigns, to facilitate musical memory, reading and harmonic understanding.
Other musical skills/concepts are sequentially developed, including: music reading and sight-singing, music notation, dictation, part-work (ostinatos, canons, polyphony), improvisation, pentatonic/major and minor diatonic scales, modes, absolute pitch work in treble and bass clefs, bar-time and phrasing/musical form.