Pittsburgh Youth Chorus utilizes many of the music education principals developed by Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály. The Kodaly Method is highly structured and sequenced, with well-defined skill and concept hierarchies in all elements of music. These sequences are closely related to child development—the way in which young children progress naturally in music. As a child develops physically, socially, emotionally, and intellectually, he or she also develops musically in the acquisition of increasingly complex skills and more involved concepts.
Some of the tools used at PYC from the Kodály Method are solfége (do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do), Curwin hand signs, rhythmic syllables, and a movable “do” system. Through the use of these tools PYC choristers begin with the simple, and sequentially move to the more complex, always building on the foundations laid in the beginning. Like all skills, practice makes perfect. Once a concept or skill is learned, it is practiced again and again so that it becomes second-nature. With each layer of mastered skills and concepts, the development and artistry of the student is heightened and Zoltán Kodály’s philosophy is evident.