Mickael - "I want to make music education fun, approachable and inclusive"

12 January 2023

Mickael, a jazz guitarist from Cyprus, never expected to find a love for teaching. However, after completing his bachelor's degree and working as a music teacher at an elementary school, he realised he wanted to become a better educator. That's why he decided to pursue a master's degree in Kodály, a method of music education that emphasises singing and games. He recently graduated from the Kodály program.

"I want to make music education fun, approachable and inclusive," said Mickael. "I decided to look for a master's program in education. The Kodály program gave me the tools I needed and is so much fun. Who doesn't love to play?"

Mickael originally applied to a master's program in jazz guitar at Codarts, but when the first lockdown hit, he found himself at home with time to reflect on his passions. He looked into education programs and was accepted into both the Musician Educator and Kodály programs at The Hague. He ultimately chose Kodály because it was different from what he knew and, therefore, more of a challenge.

The versatility of the Kodály method

In addition to singing and games, the Kodály program covers a range of subjects, including repertoire, methodology, analysis, solfege, choir, and conducting. According to Mickael, the method is versatile and can be used in any setting, not just with children. "The Kodály method doesn't require a lot of equipment, so you can do it wherever you like," he said. "You can use it in all situations, not only for kids. The method is useful even outside of teaching and in non-musical situations. For example, in the summer, I was in Italy with some friends and sat around a campfire. I suggested we play a Kodály game, and before we knew it, we sang together the whole evening. Those little things are gratifying and make me love this master. It's so much fun." Mickael believes the Kodály method is especially practical with children because it can be adjusted to any repertoire, they are familiar with. "As a jazz musician, I was a little bit snobby about classical music, but now I've learned it's just about how you approach it," he said. "If you offer it to the children through games, it helps them feel more connected to it. Classical music has so much to offer, especially with regards to structure and harmony."

Combining traditional Cypriot folk music and the Kodály-method

Mickael currently uses the Kodály approach in his master's research on traditional Cypriot folk music. "It's fun to play around with, and I find it important to keep my tradition alive," he said. In addition, his supervisor helps him stay focused and on track with his research.

As a teacher, Mickael believes it is crucial to listen to both music and people and to be well-organized and structured in lessons. "The most important skill you need to develop as a teacher is the ability to listen, not only to music but also to people," he said. "I still want to get better at being organised and structured in my lessons. In this master's, I've learned that having a goal and plan for your lessons is important. It helps your students; the more organised and well-trained you are, the less stressed you are."

Close-knit community

The Kodaly department is small. However, the close-knit community allows them to observe each other's lessons and offer support when needed. "We often observe each other's lessons and help each other if we have problems or doubts."

The teachers at the Royal Conservatoire are dedicated to helping the students succeed academically and develop personally. “They see us as individuals with potential. In addition to their focus on academics, they also make an effort to connect with us personally and show compassion and empathy towards us, similar to a parent's role.”

Mickael has found that to be an effective teacher, it is not only important to have the knowledge but also to be approachable and empathetic. “I have the privilege of teaching three children in a foster home near The Hague, and it is a truly special experience. While these children have faced challenges, I am committed to building a strong bond with them and helping them connect through music and fun.”

Interested? Go to our 'Apply now' pages for more information about the Royal Conservatoire.