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Conservatorium High School

Conservatorium High School

Our Patron: Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC KC Governor of New South Wales

Telephone02 9351 1350

Every day music

Integrated Music and Literacy Program

Music Every Day with a Kodály emphasis at Fort Street Public School

Zoltan Kodály’s philosophy of music education:

  • A joyful experience for all participants
  • Accessible to everyone (not a talent-based model)
  • Lessons are commenced early in life and taught regularly
  • Reflection and transition of cultural heritage of students  
  • Sequential and skill-based learning (not unitised)
  • Appropriate to the developmental stage and ability of the participants
  • “Well-trained hand, well-trained ear, well-trained mind, well-trained heart.”

Skills developed and practiced in a Kodály-inspired music lesson can include:  

  • Language development
  • Social skills
  • Development of inter- and intra-personal skills
  • Turn-taking, co-operation and collaboration
  • Determination and resilience e.g. mastering a skill
  • Self-monitoring
  • Spatial skills
    • Making and moving in a circle
    • Ability to solve complex problems and puzzles
    • Attention and concentration
  • Emotion and expression
    • Self-regulation
    • Music is a form of human expression and can communicate thoughts, ideas and feelings
    • Celebration, community bonding and cultural identity
    • Fun and enjoyable i.e. singing releases endorphins
  • Memory: text in a song, instructions for games, re-call of information
  • Physical co-ordination: gross- and fine-motor skills
  • Form and pattern recognition
  • In- tune singing
  • Audiation (inner-hearing)
  • Beat, meter and pulse
  • Comparatives
    • Speed (fast/slow)
    • Dynamics (loud/soft)
    • Pitch (high/low)
  • Musical literacy: Reading/Writing
  • Creativity: Improvisation/Composition
  • Subject-specific terminology
  • Listening
  • Part-work: canon, beat/rhythm, etc.
  • Instrumental playing
  • Cultural heritage and awareness of folk song repertoire


  • Singing as basis for learning (aural-vocal approach)
  • Development of audiation skills (thinking in sound)
  • Range of styles and genres of music – games, rhymes, folk songs, dances, Art music, popular styles, etc.
  • Holistic and multi-dimensional
    • Visual, Kinaesthetic, Aural
    • Active engagement
  • Use of tonic solfa and duration-based rhythmic syllables
  • Short segments
  • Mixture of seated/standing activities
  • Use of singing and un-tuned percussion instruments
  • Group and individual tasks

The Power of Music (2015) – Susan Hallam

A research synthesis of the impact of actively making music on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people.

Susan Hallam is a world-renowned Music Education physiologist and researcher. In this document, she summarises hundreds of peer-review research papers and presents findings in relevant, reader-friendly language. Of particular interest to our context are the chapters about how music education can help develop the language and literacy skills of a child.

Potential effects of an Integrated Music and Literacy Program (from ‘The Power of Music’):

  • Fine tuning of auditory skills linked to language development
  • Immersion in language and vocabulary achieved by wide range of repertoire (over 150 songs and rhymes in one year)
  • Development of auditory cortex leading to enhance discrimination between sounds
  • Automatic transfer between encoding and identification of speech sounds and patterns and active engagement in music. Furthermore, the earlier the exposure and the greater length of participation, the greater the impact.
  • Isolation of phonemes and rhythmic entrainment to encourage recognition
  • Phonological awareness (precursor to early reading) through analysis of text in songs
  • Practice of syllabic segmentation/division and recognition
  • Word decoding linked with auditory skills (e.g. inflection, pitch awareness)
  • Reading comprehension requires word decoding and high-level cognitive processes like memory and attention
  • Verbal and auditory memory
  • Reading skills align with development of rhythmic skills
  • Direct transfer of reading skills with reading of notation 
  • Fluency of reading linked with pitch and rhythmic skill development