The Effectiveness of Two Visible Elements of the Kodã¡ly Method in Second Grade General Music: Rhythm Syllables and Solfa/Hand Signs

Date of Graduation

Spring 2005


Master of Music



Committee Chair

Paul Garrison


The Kodály method of music education originated in Hungary in the early 20th century. Although Zoltán Kodály did not mandate any specific content or sequence, his philosophy addresses five points: (1.) musical literacy for all, (2.) starting as early as possible, (3.) the voice as the first instrument, (4.) native folk songs as the first learning vehicles, and (5.) only literature of the highest quality, whether folk or composed. The movement migrated to the United States in the 1960s, and many teachers have been successful in implementing the Kodály concept. However, many others are unable to spend the time, effort, and money required for the Kodály training, lesson planning, and song study. Music teachers may choose to incorporate some of the more visible aspects, or teaching tools, of the Kodály method. Gradually incorporated and encouraged by Kodály, strategies like rhythm syllables and solfa names used with hand signs have found a place in many American music classrooms. This study attempted to measure the effectiveness of these two teaching tools by modifying existing second grade lesson plants to include or eliminate one or both of the tools. The data showed that hand signs are more effective than rhythm syllables as tools for classroom instruction.


Kodály, music education, solfa, rhythm syllables, elementary education

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© Krista L. Noland