A comprehensive music education begins early, in childhood. A music education must consist of not only repertoire knowledge, but theory, composition, history, and people. Professor Zoltan Kodaly, a Hungarian composer and teacher in the early 1900s, found that young Hungarian children were unaware of how to read and write music fluently, and also unaware of their musical heritage. To know Hungary now, one would not know that this was the case in the 1900s. Hungary lives and breathes music. Currently, Hungary has 800 adult choruses, and numerous professional orchestras. Hungary is a country about the size of Indiana, so music penetrates the country. Kodaly introduced a method, the Kodaly Method, which systematically teaches children, or beginning adults, music. The learning is based in folk music, of one’s country of origin, and uses the music to teach theory, composition, and history. This method has infiltrated the world with it’s easy to understand concepts and time lines.
In the United States music is taught in most schools. However, as funding and music teachers have become unavailable, music programs have been cut. This lack of education in the public school system leaves music education up to the parents, which unfortunately many parents do not have the knowledge or tools to teach their children appropriately, let alone fluently. In Hungary children obtain an eight year program devoted specifically to music which is separate from the children’s regular studies. In North America, schools have music once, or maybe twice per week, if at all. Although music programs in North America aren’t as intense as other countries, a comprehensive teaching method, such as the Kodaly Method, enables children to receive the basic skills of music literacy.