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Musically-minded brothers in tune for exam success

October 1st, 2018

Three sets of musically-minded brothers are among 20 Monmouth students who have passed an innovative examination with flying colours.

Eight children from Monmouth School Boys’ Prep and 12 now at Monmouth School for Boys, shone in their extra-curricular Kodály musicianship exams run by The National Youth Choir of Scotland.

Brothers Harry, Jack and Tom G, James and Tom W and Sam and Milo M all impressed as Monmouth School Boys’ Prep became the first school to enter pupils at Gold and Silver levels in the Kodály programme.

Significantly, a pass at Gold level is an accredited Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) alternative to a pass at Grade 5 theory and it enables students to progress on to Grade 6 and above on their instruments.

The brainchild of Hungarian composer and educator Zoltán Kodály, the approach involves students learning through singing and playing musical games.

The Kodály programme is also being taught at Monmouth Schools Pre-Prep and Nursery, and Monmouth School Girls’ Prep, and is helping to develop well-rounded musicians.

The examiner, Lucinda Geoghegan, who is the Education Director of National Youth Choir of Scotland and the British Kodály Association, was impressed by the Monmouth musicians.

Nineteen pupils achieved distinctions and one merit in their recent Gold and Silver Kodály musicianship exams, with Isaac WM gaining a remarkable 100% result at Gold Level.

Mrs Geoghegan was full of praise for Monmouth’s musicians she examined, describing them as confident and secure in their own ability. She was very impressed that the children had achieved such a high level of musicianship at a young age.

The Kodály musicianship programme engages children using playful singing games and allows them to experience key musical concepts in a sequential manner. Children use hand signs, singing names and games which help build their motivation, enthusiasm and confidence, and lay the foundations for a lifetime of enjoyment.

Mrs Sarah Reynolds, Music teacher at Monmouth Schools Pre-Prep and Nursery, said the benefits of the approach had had a positive impact on concentration, memory and listening skills among her pupils. “Getting back to the basics and ensuring a sound foundation upon which the children can build has been very satisfying,” said Mrs Reynolds.

“Seeing our Year 2 students, for instance, achieve a greater understanding of the basic musical elements of pitch, beat and pulse, and rhythm has been wonderful.”

Mr Joe Walton, Music co-ordinator at Monmouth School Boys’ Prep, says the Kodály musicianship course was the natural step for children to build on the work delivered in classroom lessons.

“Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools offers a holistic and balanced curriculum that fully supports the development of well-rounded musicians,” he said.

“The Kodály musicianship programme is being developed from the pre-prep to our two prep schools.

The approach enables every child to develop as a musician regardless of their musical background.

“At the same time it stretches our more experienced instrumentalists and musicians, allowing children to develop their musicianship and theoretical skills in an integrated, engaging and empowering manner.

“It is fantastic to see 20 of our older students building on the foundations which had been laid earlier in their lives.”

The full list of boys who passed their extra-curricular Kodály musicianship exams at Gold and Silver levels: Oliver D, Edward G, Harry G, Jack G, Tom G, Alexander H, William L, Freddie M, Tom M, Sam M, Milo M, Charlie P, Dylan P, Kit S, Chris T, Barney TH, Miles T, James and Tom W, Isaac WM.

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