From the Office in Budapest

Dear members and friends of the IKS,

On December 02, 2016, UNESCO’s intergovernmental committee for the world’s cultural heritage included Kodály’s philosophy of folk-song based Music Education on the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. This announcement was greeted with great enthusiasm by all in the international Kodály community as it endorses our global efforts to promulgate music education employing the cultural traditions of the people. The impact of pernicious elements of popular culture is felt particularly strongly in Music Education and Kodály’s approach serves as a manifesto in which each generation may not only learn the technical aspects of music, but more deeply enact the essential sense of identity and belonging through an immersion in music. On its webpage, UNESCO states that the Kodály concept advocates, “making traditional folk music accessible for everyone through mainstream education and civic organizations; teaching music skills; encouraging everyday use of the music by communities concerned; researching and documenting it using local and international strategies; coexistence between research, education, community culture and composition; and respect for all music traditions.” This official proclamation reminds us of the purity and clarity of Kodály’s vision and recognises his deep understanding of the potential of music in the lives of all. It also serves as inspiration and catalyst for all who work to bring about a greater sense of integrity, belonging and purpose in our communities, and we should feel acknowledged and motivated to continue our efforts to develop and deliver the best possible Music Education in all places, at all times and for all peoples.

The worldwide Kodály family is a rigorous and exciting organisation which not only acts as an advocate for excellence in Music and Music Education but always provides a range of professional development and publication opportunities. Perhaps the most outstanding of these activities is the biennial Symposium of the IKS and we are eagerly looking forward to the 23rd Symposium and Music Festival to be held in Camrose, Alberta from August 08 – 13, 2017. The organising committee has worked with diligence and flair to prepare an outstanding event and this is an opportunity for all to be involved in lectures, workshops, presentations and concerts. Importantly, the Symposium is also a chance for us all to gather, reflect on the role and importance of Music and to share our own stories and the stories of those in our communities.

I urge you all to make every effort to attend the upcoming Symposium. The IKS is only as strong as its membership and your participation and contribution is highly valued. The UNESCO endorsement of the Kodály philosophy and approach is clear evidence that our work is held in the highest regard. As Music Educators we may sometimes feel that we are working in isolation and often in less than ideal circumstances. The Symposium provides the arena in which we can celebrate our work and to work together to continue that great work.

Dr. James Cuskelly