Guest Contributor: Robbin Marcus, Director of Summer Kodály Program
Every music teacher has their own way of teaching. Sometimes, it takes us a long time to decide what methodology is right for us. Sometimes, if you’re like me, you know right away. From my first introductory Orff-Kodály-Dalcroze class, it was clear to me that I had a strong attraction to Kodály teaching. I love its clear sequences, and the idea that each concept you teach needs to be prepared before it is presented, and then practiced before you move on. I’ve been at it a long time, long enough to now be the Director of Kodály at George Mason University, our annual summer program.
Last Monday, wanting to be in better shape for trekking across the George Mason campus in July, I started the “Whole 30 Diet”. Deep in the middle of food prep for the week, I found myself trying to come up with just the right sequence of foods that I could pre-prepare and have ready to eat. What dinners could I use for lunch the next day? What quantity would I need to prepare to make that happen? What kind of healthy snacks could I make to give myself a break from protein, fat and veggies? It took me a while to plan out and prep food for the entire week, but now having survived week one (and lost 3 pounds!) I can tell you that it was well worth the ease in coming home and having dinner ready in less than thirty minutes each night.
Eating breakfast on Sunday and getting ready to do all that again for this week, it dawned on me—this kind of planning came to me naturally because it was just like Kodály lesson planning!
Whether planning meals for a diet or lessons for my music classroom, I do think in monthly plans. I know what my goals are for the month—losing weight and preparing re—and in the weekly plans I carefully break down how to get there. I can switch up foods for variety just like I can switch up activities in the classroom. Each day varies that process just a little bit—a different protein and a different song—and for fun I can insert a new—snack and singing game.
Wow! No wonder I’m enjoying my new diet. I’m losing weight and eating three delicious, nutritious, fresh meals a day and practicing what I preach.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to have a plan, to know where you’re going, to never have to wonder “What am I going to do in class today?” five minutes before the bell rings, then the Kodály method (or maybe the “Whole 30”) is for you. Come to think of it, most of the Kodály at George Mason University faculty has been on the “Whole 30” at one time or another.
I’d love to invite you to join us this summer. We’ll give you a great, well-planned education in two weeks of Kodály levels, and model the kind of teaching I’m talking about for you. You’ll go home with a year’s worth of music materials to use in your classroom, some great new games, and a plan for the year—broken down into months, weeks and days. You’ll meet some great new colleagues and join our support system, so that you can have people to ask questions of all year long. We offer credit and non-credit options, and now have a wonderful hybrid-online Master’s of Music in Music Education program—come for your Kodály levels on campus for three summers, and do all your other coursework online.
I know from years of experience (and I’m learning again!) that in the beginning this kind of planning takes time. But once you get started, it gets easier and easier. I wouldn’t teach any other way, and my husband certainly hopes that we won’t eat any other way since he’s getting three square meals on the table every day. Just like the kids loved my Kodály classes, my husband loves the food I’m feeding him now. Healthy, nutritious and fun. A great combination.