Read the Episode 80 with Kodaly QLD, Part 2

Introduction

Here is the Crescendo Music Education Podcast – Episode 80. Eight zero, I so love those big round numbers. Welcome to the Crescendo Music Education Podcast. In this episode, you’ll hear the second part of my chat with the Kodály Queensland committee members. I love these people, I get to work with them on a whole lot of big picture things that help our profession. So enjoy part two of the Queensland Kodály committee.

About ‘Read the Episode’: Sometimes, we would rather skim visually than listen to a podcast! That’s a great way to learn too!
The transcript of episode 080 of The Crescendo Music Education Podcast is below.


How Kathy Rappel Got Started with Kodály

Debbie
Now I’m joined by Kathy with a K. Hello Kathy. I’m going to start with our question, tell us about your Kodály education journey.


Kathy Rappel
Well, I always think of myself as a Kodály baby. My family lived in Nigeria for seven years, my dad was working in Nigeria. And when we moved back, I was in year two. And ever since then my family was musical, they play instruments and sing and all of that. But when I started class, you know, when I was in year two until year seven, I just loved being in the music classroom.

And I still remember Meredith Cook was my teacher. Shawn Metcalf was the other music teacher. Yep. So obviously, they were fantastic. And I still have my recorder book, that I almost think I should make use of in my teaching now and then over High School in year 10 I went to All Hallows and was under the tutelage of Tim Sherlock. And that was just, like, the biggest blessing I’ve had that now that I realise, being in the music teacher industry, it’s like, oh, yeah, Tim Sherlock, and everyone’s like wow.

I’m just a bit, I’m sad that I didn’t get him from year eight to year twelve, only from year ten. But the impact he made on me at that point for me was really great, was that the solfa just kept going. Like in primary school, it’s just stepping stones, you’re building that tower. And the foundation was so strong from primary school that once I slipped into year 10, I just, I was so in love with it as a young child, that it was like, Oh, my God, this is, this is where it’s at. This is Disneyland for me.

And, and I just loved singing and my class was amazing, like, the students and everything and then I knew, I guess from when I was a really young child, I would play teacher with my dolls. I wrote out a role and my brother still says, I’m really bossy – I guess that’s a common trait. I just knew I was always going to be a teacher. My parents friends would oh so what are you going to study? And I go, Oh, yeah, music teacher.

And they go, Oh, not a lawyer or doctor? No, no, I love music and I love teaching. And I’m, I think I’m pretty good at it for now. So I went to study music and teaching at UQ. And my piano teacher was a bit disappointed that I wasn’t just doing piano performance and that I was always just going to go into teaching. And I mean, that’s one thing I sometimes regret that I didn’t actually just focus on performance, and get as much musical knowledge as I could before actually getting into the teaching.

But I’m also very grateful that I did get teaching pedagogy. Not that university was really the place for me to find it, it was joining associations like Kodály Queensland back in the day, KMEIA. And, and I mean, at the end of year 12 Tim was like, Oh, girls, you should go and do this course. And we did. We actually were at the Summer School at UQ doing a high school course.


Debbie
Your foundation. I’m just sitting here so jealous. I wish, I wish I had that foundation.


Kathy Rappel
And so it’s when you say things like that. And when people say things like that, that I go, Oh, I actually have a gift that I have to share. Yeah, that’s why I’m here. I’m here to share my gift or what I think is a gift.


Debbie
Absolutely. And you should share that, because those of us who did not have that education and had to develop it as an adult, it’s much slower coming as an adult, those bricks that you’re building up that just come so naturally when it’s done in such a sequential, logical, aural way, as we know, you had that. And that’s lovely. So I’m glad you’ve ended up here to give it back.


Kathy Rappel
And I’ve just always loved singing. So I think that really goes well with this philosophy. And that it’s so accessible. I’ve always been in choirs, and I was in the Australian Youth Choir since I was in year 4. And I had Sarah McGarry. as my conductor there, as my conductor ever since I was in high school.


Debbie
And now it’s your turn to be on the other side?


Kathy Rappel
Well I’m still learning as much as I can.


Debbie
You never stop learning. That’s one of the Little Debbieisms I have is if you’re a teacher, okay, message to everyone out there. If you’re a teacher, and you think you know everything, it’s time for you to stop teaching. Because you don’t know everything. And if you get to that point, you know, it’s so we always like we always learn, I want to know why you’re on the Kodály committee, you’re a fairly new ish member to the Kodály committee. So why have you joined us?


Kathy Rappel
I guess, I think it was Allisen, because we sung in Fusion together. But I had been on other committees for a long time. And I thought, well, actually, I’m really tied to Kodály Queensland’s just in who I am, I really should see other options in that committee and see what I can do. I do think I try to help as much as I can.

But what really, really got me going was that to see Deb and Debbie on the committee, and there’s so much to learn, and how much more can you get from just going to workshops and seeing them then to see them every month. And for me, it’s the thinking processes that they go through and how they go about effecting change. And knowing for me, it’s kind of going through that and seeing how that happens, actually helps me try and work out what I could do and how I go about it. When the time comes, not yet but when the time comes.


Debbie
It’s amazing, we are so happy to have you happy Kathy with a K.


Kathy Rappel
Thank you. It’s a great place to be. It’s like every other committee member, like it’s just a joy to be a part of the team. And many hands just make light work. And I just figured if I can only just be here just to organise the names in alphabetical order, I’ll do that.


Debbie
Yes, when I joined when I was 19 or whatever, my job was to buy the biscuits for the morning tea. That’s all I was allowed to do. Mind you, I didn’t know much more than to be able to do that. But every bit helps. And you do a lot more than putting the name tags in order.


Kathy Rappel
And I do also think like being in the conversation, if you want to make change in yourself and in others, you have to know what is behind closed doors to then be able to go, oh this is how I do it all. You’ve got to know the system to break the system


Debbie
Is it a Maree, a Maree Hennessy saying? That it’s better to be at the table than on the menu. And not that I think anybody involved in anything run by Kodály Queensland are going to be on the menu. But you know, there’s something about being behind, as you said the closed doors, not that they’re deliberately closed, but to know the mechanisms behind. Yeah, that’s wonderful. Thank you, Kathy.


Kathy Rappel
Thank you.


Melissa Black’s Kodály Journey

Debbie
Now I’m joined by our Kodály Queensland Secretary, Melissa Black. She does all of those important minutes, agenda, correspondence, all of those things. So Hello Melissa.

Melissa Black
Hello.

Debbie
Now would you like to tell us a little about your Kodály journey?

Melissa Black
Sure, I’m not the product of a wonderful Queensland education where I learned from Kodály inspired teachers, I’ve come to the party quite late in life. I studied in Sydney and I’d always found through university, through prac, through early years teaching that something was missing.

And I really was looking for something that connects my students with meaningful sequential learning. I was teaching, I was doing all sorts of PD just trying to find what was the missing link for my students, I came across an Kodály New South Wales event and it was with Maree Hennessy. And I don’t know what brought me to it. I didn’t know who Maree was but it was a back to school day, in February, and I went along, not expecting anything.

And I must have used the notes from that day to program for the whole year, I just used everything from it, I found it really engaging and interesting. Then the next year, just by chance, was the Sydney national conference. And I saw that John Feierabend was coming and I did know his name and thought, oh, this would, this would be interesting, but again, didn’t know very much.

And I went along, and I saw all these badges that said, Queensland member, Queensland member and I think I realised then I was like, something is going on in Queensland. Anyway, I went to it and it was, you know, first taste of musicianship and all these really interesting things. And I spoke to at the time Carla Trott who was on the book stall with Hayley Ritchie, and I said, you know, how can I learn more about this?

And she said, Oh you really need to do some levels. So that got me on to attending summer school. And then I did two levels in one year, I did a summer school in Queensland and summer school in New South Wales. And I just, I just was hooked. From there, you know, to the point that my husband at the time said, you know, What do you think about moving to Queensland, and I went, Oh, my gosh, like, I would love to, because I just know that there are so many wonderful educators there, and how good like, there’s so much that we could learn.

So that kind of brought me to committee as well, because I just was so inspired and wanted to be like these wonderful teachers I was meeting who seemed to just have such a great understanding and passion and interest in this methodology. So I just wanted to pick their brains as much as possible to the point that I moved here.


Debbie
Wow, so joining the committee was about sharing with like minded people.


Melissa Black
And making friends as well, I think and networking and new city didn’t know many people, I thought that it would be a good way to get to learn what was going on but to also find out how I could contribute and assist.

I sort of figure that I’ve always had a bit of a service mentality, my family really instilled that in us, like my brothers and sisters and I, that every act, no matter how small is important. And you should always be volunteering and working out what you can give, because it makes a difference. So that’s what sort of got me on to volunteering.


Debbie
Well, we’re really pleased that you’re on the committee, and you’re giving back. That’s important. And everyone should look at what they can do.


Melissa Black
Everyone on our committee has different talents and areas. And it’s really great, because when we come together for these workshops, and events, we all do little parts to put the workshop together or put an event together. A lot of people when they start they go I don’t know what I can do. But it’s everyone just doing a little that makes these things happen. And it also, personally, is really, I think it gives a lot back to you. You feel good when you are working with others to put something together.

There’s a collaboration with that, but also, I suppose when we have workshops, like we’ve just attended today, you know, there is a product at the end of it. You’re also learning, there’s people who, especially in Queensland committee, there’s people who’ve been on committee for a long time, and you’re able to use your knowledge and skills, but also, you’re learning from them every time that we meet or speak or work together.

And particularly, I’ve really enjoyed working, doing editing for resources, like fabulous Debbie and Deb are working on now. Musical Beginnings 2.0 at the moment and you know, something as little as editing to check that, you know, there’s no notational errors or the spelling’s are correct, like thats something small, but I figure that you’re able to gain something from that.


Debbie
It’s so important, every little bit, whether you’re buying the biscuits for afternoon tea or you are a champion editor I must say. You’re getting nearly everything.


Melissa Black
I’m very lucky, I’m surrounded, I just sit on the what’s the saying, you sit on the shoulders of giants, because we’ve just got some fabulous people up in Queensland and it’s been really wonderful being on committee, and I think I’ve been here since since we moved here, so 2015 or 2016, or something. So it’s certainly worthwhile, and the people on it, they’re just so friendly, I think you surround yourself with wonderful colleagues and teachers who, you know, music nerds like myself, who want to come on weekends and attend these sort of things, and learn and be the best teachers that they can be.

So that their students learning, you know, best practice from the teachers and the students learning as much as possible. And it’s really exciting every year because you get to think about, oh, who can we invite this year? Or what can we do that we haven’t done before? Or you know, there’s this new curriculum, how can we assist our community? What gaps do they have? Where do they need support? If it feels really good to be able to do it always, always different? Always exciting?


Debbie
Yes. I love it. Giving back so important, and finding your people.


Melissa Black
Finding your people. Yes, true. And finding our community.


Debbie
You are amazing. Thank you.


Melissa Black
Thank you for having me.

How Karen Gordon Got Started with Kodály

Debbie
And now I am joined by Karen Gordon, one of our hard working committee members. Hello, Karen.


Karen Gordon
Hello, Debbie.


Debbie
Now I want to start finding out how you got here, where you are now on our Kodály committee in Queensland.


Karen Gordon
Well, my Kodály journey actually goes back decades to before I even started school. So back in the western suburbs, there was a little music school that my mother sent me to before I started school that had a little pre-year one as it was back then, kindy music program, I was also very fortunate to go to a kindergarten in Chapel Hill that had a very progressive coordinator and kindy teacher.

And there was a piano there that I was allowed to use one finger on. And the kindy teacher was also Kodály trained. So my musical journey, and my Kodály journey actually started right at the very beginning. I was also fortunate enough in grade six, to go to a school that had a very enthusiastic Kodály trained teacher. So that was very influential before I went into my high school years.


Debbie
Oh, that’s makes me think you’re really lucky. You know.


Karen Gordon
I was, and I didn’t realise how lucky I was until probably in the last 10 or 15 years. Because I also then went to university in an age in Queensland of many Kodály trained teachers and Orff trained teachers. So I got the best of of both. And when I went out, after university, I was actually secondary trained, but went to a primary school and started off my program using, was it QMP? You’ll have to remind me.


Debbie
Yes it was the Queensland Music Program, QMP.


Karen Gordon
That’s right. It was just natural for me. It flowed naturally. And I just assumed that every other primary school music teacher was using that program and knew all the songs like I do or would research the few that I didn’t coming out of university. So that’s definitely how it started. As far as coming on to the committee then that was more I guess, looking at the number of years that I had been teaching, where I was at with my family, and just finding that I had that little bit of extra time in my week.

And thought that I’d like to start giving back to something that I had by that stage realised wasn’t how everybody else had started their music experience, or in fact, was teaching for other children’s music experience.


Debbie
Wow, that’s great. Well, I’m really pleased you did that. Because I think that’s something that everyone should consider doing, is doing that little bit of giving back it makes a difference doesn’t it?


Karen Gordon
Yes absolutely Deb and I think I understand early in your career, you’re certainly working hard to to establish yourself but I actually also think that that could also be a good time to pop onto a committee, because there are people with much more experience, who you will have a closer relationship with. And you will be able to gain so much personally, as well as still giving back that little bit more.


Debbie
Oh, I agree, because I first joined the Queensland Kodály committee as a student representative. So that’s a long time now, I don’t know, I don’t want to do the maths, but maybe 43 years, something like that, and it was amazing. And my early years I’ve been on the committee basically had a little break, but ever since I’ve been on the committee.

So I loved being on the committee then, seeing these great people. I mean, my job was buy the biscuits and help set out the tea and coffee. But you know, it’s a job that had to be done. And I learned from these amazing people.

So what do you think talking to our listeners out there now? Why should they consider joining a committee, it doesn’t, now we’re talking Kodály because that’s the heart of our philosophy, but any music education, I belong to ASME and you know, many other people may be in their Orff association you’ve mentioned and other music ed committees. What would be the advantage for them? And for other people? We’ve already touched on it. But what else could we add?


Karen Gordon
Yeah, there certainly is a dual gain, in as much as you are able to help out in some way, even if it is only buying the biscuits, and I still don’t mind doing that right now.


Debbie
You are good at that Karen.


Karen Gordon
Apparently. But I think the extra ideas, the expanding of your learning, and your practice is really important. I think that has to be ongoing. That has to be week by week, month by month. How fantastic to have these people right on your doorstep to talk to, to collaborate with and the collaborations fantastic on a committee, because the ideas that come in, spark other thoughts and ideas from yourself and other people.

So collaboration is a really big thing for me. And I think as music teachers, we can sometimes be very isolated. And I know in my career, because I’ve been sort of all up and down the East Coast in the private sector and public schools, and very rarely have I had the privilege of working in a school with other music educators. So it’s a lot of what you know already, you do tend to rely on mainly, and then what you can find these days, of course, online.

But there’s nothing better than the face to face, in person, whether it be professional development, or whether it just be professional collaboration. And I think in giving, you are able to not only give some of the ideas that you have used in the classroom, so you know that they’re tried and true. But even if it’s just buying the biscuits and setting up and being part of a group that are bringing a fantastic educator in from overseas, or setting up a webinar with somebody that you would not normally have that privilege of listening to or being a part of. It’s endless, the gains that you can get personally.

But also, I think sometimes I have been very much a person who’s gone. Oh no, everybody else knows that, so nobody needs to know what I do on a day to day basis. Nobody needs to know how I use seesaw in the classroom, or seashells or any of the other little ditties that we do use. But in fact, not everybody does use it necessarily the same way as you do and the expansion activities, and certainly now getting into digital technologies and how we can actually bring the traditional songs that we’ve used for many, many years into the modern age and make them just as appealing to our modern students, as we have done over the years.


Debbie
Yes, some really great points. And I do think being on a committee does provide those unique learnings. And I I just think that the professional profile increases or improves our whole outlook on our profession, doesn’t it? You know what I’m saying, so I do think that people should really, look I shouldn’t tell people what to do. But I think if everybody gives a little bit. It just makes our whole profession richer.


Karen Gordon
Absolutely And I think the thing is that it’s not the daily or weekly, or even a monthly commitment. Well, once a month we have a meeting for our committee. But I think you can put in or get out as as much as you can at the time.

I think even if you’re committing just for one season, one year, possibly on a committee of some sort, just put your toe in the water and find out what it’s like, you may find that you really do enjoy it as I did, or, you know, you’ve got that opportunity to pull out if you don’t. But if you don’t give it a go at some stage in your career, I think you’re missing out.


Debbie
Yes, I agree. And on that note, I will say Thank you, Karen. And our call to action is people get on a committee, give it a go and help our profession.


Karen Gordon
Any way you can. Thanks, Debbie.


Debbie
Thank you, Karen.


Sign-Off

Thank you for joining me for this podcast. Don’t forget that you’ll find the show notes on crescendo.com.au/80. You can also find the transcripts there. So you’ve got all of the details that you need. If you found this podcast useful, I’d really love it if you share the link with a colleague. Remember all I can be is the best version of me. All you can do is be the best you. We’ll meet again. I hope we will. Bye.


Just for Laughs

As we know laughter relieves stress, don’t lose sight of the funny side of life.

The future, the present and the past walked into a bar. Things got a little tense.


Links Mentioned in the Episode:

Kodály Queensland

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