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The Kodaly Institute - Kecskemet, Hungary

HUNGARY | Friday, 25 February 2011 | Views [1210]

After much anticipation I found out a few weeks back that I actually got in to the Visitors Course at the Kodaly Institute in Kecskemet, Hungary. So I booked everything and all I then had to do was make my way into the Great Plains of Hungary.

Thats where it all starts! In true Braidwood fashion it wouldn't be fair to allow me one disaster free journey now would it. It all begins at 5:00am catching the BUS to Heathrow because I overlooked

a) Tube engineering works and

b) that the first tube to Heathrow leaves after I needed to be past security for my Sunday morning flight.

So all was well on the N9 bus until an hour into the trip when the bus broke down!!!! The bus was full of early morning passengers and we all had to get off in the middle of nowhere and wait for another bus. Each bus that passed was like a Connex scramble for seats and I was just lucky enough to be one of the sardines in the third bus. Unlucky that this bus wasnt going all the way to terminal five but I figured I could work it out. Lucky I am good at talking to strangers because I found out there is a free shuttle train between terminals so I managed to get onto one of those and made it to Heathrow T5 only forty minutes later than the bus would have had me there. 

Once in Budapest I waited for what felt like a lifetime for my bags and was almost the last woman standing (horrible feeling) and managed to get a mini bus to Nyugati station where I needed to find a train to Kecskemet. The ticket machine translated to english so I managed to get my ticket easy enought but then couldnt find my train anywhere! There were no signs and I couldnt speak hungarian so I was at a total loss. After a while I got on a train that I thought might be going through Kecskemet because it was going to a town further south (Lucky I studied the map). I got yelled at by a ticket inspector for being in first class without a ticket (I thought it was nice) and was ushered into cattle class and aside for not having any announcements to help with what stop was what I managed to get off at the right one (with a little help from the previously assumed angry ticket inspector) and started walking the streets of Kecskemet. I was tired and completely worn out from all the disasters I had already faced in the day and all I wanted was to go to my hotel and shower the day away... but NO. When I got to the hotel there was no one there, no one answered the bell (and I rang it for a good 30mins) and no one would answer the door. The streets were dead and it was a total zombie town. After a crying episode in a museum I was helped with my Hungarian and the lovely people helped me call the hotel and ask where they were. so after all I made it safely to my hotel. What a Day!!!! 

The next day was my first day at the Kodaly Institute where I would spend the next three days studying the Kodaly Method with some amazing students and lecturers. Our typical day was: (Rough combination of days)

8-10am Solfege and Musicianship with Dr. Laszlo Nemes

10 - 10:30am a very hasty walk to get to the Kodaly School in time for our observations

10:30 - 12:20 Observing different classes including year 1, 3, 5, 8, 9 and Choir

12:20 - 1pm Debrief and consultation on observations

1:30 - 2pm After a quick walk back to the Institute we were granted usually about an hour lunch

2-4:00pm Methodology with Klara Nemes

4-6:00pm Lecture with Dr Mihaly Ittzes

After six there was either a concert or we made our way to dinner.

Every single day was amazing!! I cannot explain enough how magical this place was. The kids in the Kodaly School were fantastic, practiced their singing and music every day for at least an hour and then had to do a choir also. The year one group could sing in unison better than some choirs I know of :) The whole school was musical; from the decorations around the school to the entire essence of the place. The other people studying at this course were also worth a mention:

-   A head teacher interested in using "wasted time(that is my term)" (eg. in the morning after register and at the end of tasks) to inspire children through singing. She is planning on implementing a whole school Kodaly approach where every class with learn Kodaly for at least ten minutes a day. She believes the practical, simple and fun nature of Kodaly will improve discipline, student engagement, focus and much more. She has the complete backing of her full staff (if only all schools in the UK could have this type of vision).

-  The woman who is going to help her implement this (I will be visiting now also)

-  A bunch of people from the Netherlands there in an attempt to change the way music is taught. They think that they are way behind when it comes to music education and they were there learning how to translate the Kodaly message into their Dutch education curriculum.

- A girl who is working as a music teacher in Hungary for free because the school couldnt afford to pay her!! She is from the US and hearing her story was just incredible!!!

Everything about the course was amazing!!! 

After that I got on a train and headed to Budapest... TBC

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