Greg Thomas, Music & Drama Teacher
“...There should be music in the child’s environment, just as there does exist in the child’s environment spoken speech."
- Dr Maria Montessori
In my years of teaching secondary Music, I often heard high school students say, in effect, “I can’t do Music”. This was dismaying for me to hear and, once ingrained, is a very difficult belief for them to overcome. Anyone can “do Music” if given the opportunity and encouragement, and the earlier in childhood the opportunity is given, the better. At FMS we give every child the opportunity to explore music.
We combine two Music education methods which originated in Europe, Orff and Kodaly. Both Carl Orff and Zoltan Kodaly separately researched and developed music teaching programs in the 20th century that were based on the natural way that children make music. The Orff method, known as the Orff Schulwerk, is a way of teaching children about music that engages their mind and body through a mixture of singing, dancing, acting and the use of percussion instruments like xylophones and djembes. The Kodaly method starts with the premise that the voice is the most fundamental musical instrument. Just as languages are learned first through hearing, then speaking and only later reading and writing, music is taught through hearing and singing before music notation is introduced. Both systems incorporate play, such as musical games, which help the children learn at their own level of understanding.
Children have an innate sense of rhythm and music that does not have to be introduced to them, but rather given the chance to be expressed and then further explored and developed. In our Music classroom, freedom is a given and the opportunity to progress on a life-long musical journey of discovery begins.
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