Children learn music at CSUB via special method

First and second graders learn music via the Kodaly method at California State University, Bakersfield. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

In the halls of Cal State Bakersfield, a new generation of music makers is showing off their talents, but they still have a few more years to go until they get to college.

The CSUB music department has developed a children’s choir program that uses the Kodály method to teach the youngsters.

“This particular method gives them the skills to go into band/orchestra and choir,” Dr. Rene Ferrell, emeritus professor of the CSUB music department, said.

Ferrell is the Kodály specialist and works with Dr. Angel Vasquez-Ramos, director of choral studies at CSUB.

They were inspired by the importance of music, Ferrell said.

Developed by Hungarian composer and pedagogue Zoltán Kodály during the mid-20th century, the Kodály method teaches children how to sing properly and how to read music using rhythm, movement and other then-revolutionary techniques.

There are two children’s choir groups at CSUB – one includes first and second graders, and the other is made up of third and fourth graders.

Ferrell said the music department is considering adding a preschool group.

The ultimate goal is to create a large children’s performance choir.

Ferrell said the choir at CSUB is not meant to compete with the public-school choirs, but to complement them.

“We’re in the business of teaching music, of teaching music skills. These are skills that don’t stop at fifth grade, that don’t stop at 12th grade,” Ferrell said. “What we’re giving them is a lifetime of music.”

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