The Young Musicians Program is designed to build musicianship to our local youth from the ground up, using a fully integrated system of vocal and whole-body music training for skills that will last a lifetime.
A pilot series for the Young Musicians Program began in October 2016 with two weekly classes at Inverness school for kindergarteners and first-graders. The program is designed to follow children into West Marin elementary school and to supplement its current music programs. Children enrolled in West Marin schools are nearly 60% Latino.
About the Instructor
Program coordinator Sarah Cane approached Sound Orchard with this program proposal in early 2016. With a masters degree in music and extensive vocal and choral training, Sarah was awarded a scholarship to study music education and choral conducting for a year at the Kodály Institute in Hungary. She has taught music to every level, K-12, in her 30 years of teaching, including at Peninsula School in Menlo Park, Addison Elementary and Jordan Middle School in Palo Alto. She is now living in West Marin and devoting her professional life to making music with young people.
Sarah has made a study of folk music, dance, stories, and games and is currently learning old time fiddle. She loves to work with students to instill a love of music making in playful ways, incorporating dance, improvisation and games into a curriculum focused on rigorous vocal musicianship and music literacy.
Sarah is a longtime member and frequent soloist with the San Francisco Bay Area Chamber Choir, and is immediate past president of Northern California Association of Kodály Educators.
About the Kodály Method
Sarah's teaching uses the Kodály method, which is based on the principle that musicianship can be deeply internalized at a young age through vocal and whole-body approaches.
Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967) was a visionary teacher, composer and philosopher whose work has influenced musicians and music educators around the world. Following his folk song collecting trips with Béla Bartók in Hungary in the early 1900s, Kodály conceived of a monumental idea: that music could be taught artistically using the traditional folk songs of a culture. Gathering talented, creative teachers around him, Kodály developed a philosophy of music education based on the radical idea of universal music literacy.
Music is the core of the curriculum. The ancient Greeks believed that music was the center of all learning, because music involved a natural synthesis of thinking, feeling and moving. Music is essential to human development—intellectual, emotional, physical, social and spiritual.
The body—the singing voice and movement—is the best medium for making music. The voice is the universal instrument, free and accessible to all. Body and voice are the natural expressive means for every individual. Voice and movement are united in the traditional folk games and dances of all cultures.
Experiencing music cannot begin too early. Music is the birthright of every child. The child’s first connection to music comes through the voices of the parents. It is the responsibility of the school to develop this connection beginning at the earliest levels.
Traditional folk music provides the best and most natural material for becoming a literate musician. Everyone has a mother tongue—the language spoken at home. The traditional folk music of that language provides the source from which the basic elements of music literacy can be drawn. Following the study of authentic folk songs of the native culture(s), we can then explore of the music of other cultures and connect traditional music with all styles of composed music.
Music literacy is like language literacy. Everyone has the ability to hear, speak, read and write a language. In the same way, everyone has the ability to hear, sing, read and write music. Music literacy is something that everyone can and should enjoy.
Quality music is the best material for teaching. Kodály believed that only the best music by the greatest composers and the most beautiful and representative folk music of the culture are good enough for children. “Let Bach and Mozart be the teachers.”
Kodály’s approach has been adapted worldwide. A strong emphasis on the development of the teacher’s own musicianship is a hallmark of the movement. It is a living philosophy constantly being shaped by research on how children learn music in cultural settings and complements the emerging focus on world music by today’s music educators.
for grant funding to support the Fall 2016 pilot program.
The Young Musicians Program needs support from individuals like you to continue in 2017. Please consider a $40 membership donation or more.