Questions for the Workshop leaders of the CMM workshops 6 and 7 February 2016 Amersfoort


The workshop leaders are all members of the puntComp study group, and one workshop leader is also employed at the Royal Conservatoire The Hague as head of the Master NAIP



Q  What did you think of these two days?



1 Very interesting and enormously instructive. The workshops took place in a music school which is in itself unique: in terms of history (one of the oldest and most respected music schools in the Netherlands, where a great deal of talent is taught) and in terms of the building. The school forms part of a complex for cultural/educational activities unparalleled in the Netherlands. The Municipality of Amersfoort has therefore clearly signalled how important art and culture are in the community.


In addition, the two days were very well organised. There was a great deal of support from the Music School itself, but all the participants knew what was expected of them. What’s more the programme on offer could elaborate on educational pathways that had been laid out earlier. In other words for us, the workshop leaders, it felt like coming home.


My participation during these days was also a form of research/challenge. I have been involved in leading ‘creative workshops’ (CMM in the jargon) for 15 years and a few years ago I came to the conclusion that there were some serious limitations in the way of doing things. Because I was not satisfied I and others of the same opinion began to investigate how we could raise the levels of current practice. That was how we discovered the initiatives taken at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague to introduce the Kodály method to Dutch music education. That inspired us enormously. 


This weekend was my first chance to see in practice how three forms of musical education could influence each other: traditional musical education focusing on learning how to play an instrument,  creative music-making and music education as inspired by the Kodály method. 


2  First of all, it was a good experiment. Well organised and thought out. I always enjoy seeing and hearing adults and children doing things with music together.


I got to discover the various teachers’ musical qualities. These are all good musicians. I had the impression that this talent is normally insufficiently deployed. It may be that teachers do not always feel at ease with each other. This would negatively affect the group dynamics needed to communicate through the music at the required level.


I really enjoyed working in a large team. Although collaboration was sometimes limited, it is nevertheless really good and instructive to work on a project together. 


And lastly I would like to say how good it is that a weekend like this is rounded off by ‘literally’ giving people the stage. I think this gave all participants a feeling of satisfaction.



3 It was good to work with such a team of strong workshop leaders in a project of this size, with such a diverse group of participants of all ages. In fact it was amazing how well everything went, although I feel that we, as a team, should have thought more about the compositions in terms of how the materials would suit the various groups. I feel we missed a few opportunities there. That was probably due to the fact that we all had insufficient energy by the end of the first workshop day, because there was certainly the opportunity to do so and there was a requirement for this. Nevertheless I think it’s fantastic that this music school has come so far!


I personally had varying success in working with the group of teachers. On Saturday we began with plenty of energy and developed some splendid material and I think that most of the workshop could be described as energetic. Despite some teachers being sceptic about CMM (they were quite open and honest about this), most of them were prepared to remain open to the possibilities. 


The relationship between CMM and Kodály was not in balance in our group. Kodály requires a great deal mentally and this had a negative effect on our workshop at a certain point. On Sunday there was even less energy and the group radiated a negative feeling. There were a number of factors responsible for this. There were only five teachers on Sunday, which meant that we did not have the full complement. In addition to vulnerability and frustration because others apparently would/could not invest in the weekend, the negative atmosphere led to a less satisfactory result and we got less of a kick out of playing together, in contrast to the Saturday when we had all played together with so much enjoyment.



4 Very positive.

Good team, and combination of expertise and flexibility. Driven, yet relaxed working ambiance. Pleasant, good and motivated children.

Even moving venue appeared to go well.

Big compliments to everyone. 


5 Top! Inspiring. Challenging. 


Working with a dream team was enjoyable. Really cool! Encore!


The repertoire we used was chosen because the Dorian scale was to act as starting point for the weekend.


The chosen pieces (song and instrumental) provided both Dorian mode and rhythmic patterns, a bass line and melodies which the children could all sing. These elements then became the starting point and the building blocks for the CMM session.


There was a particular focus on Bartok’s Former Friends from Microkosmos. Everybody could sing the melody and walk the bass line. Some of the pupils investigated the melody on their own instruments, others did this with the bass line. We elaborated on this material in various combinations and by means of a number of tasks we arrived at a new composition. We also investigated ‘new’ sound colours a bit. Something surprising had to ‘happen’. There was discussion about form, beginning-middle-end, the chain composition. The children had ideas about balance and ‘being able to hear’ the loud/soft instruments. On Sunday the groups were allowed to rehearse their pieces, finish them off and play them to the rest.

There was also time for something new and we went to work on a rhythmic pattern. (This did not make the final performance, by the way) 


We remained rather close to the original Bartok composition. 



Both days were organised well.

It was really pleasant to have so many suitable and quiet rooms available. It gave us the possibility to work in relatively small groups (about six children per group) in a focused manner. 

Beforehand we had been worried that the pianists would not have enough to do because of the other instruments that were present. The children however sorted this out successfully amongst themselves. And it was REALLY good that there was a grand piano in the Flint after all! That made a big difference. THANKS!


I also noticed that for some children it was quite a lot and quite intense. 


I also noticed a ‘buzz’ in the whole building. Everywhere there were groups hard at work. The atmosphere was quite different from normal.


6 I enjoyed the two days working with youngsters and my colleagues 

It was heart-warming. Wonderful, and nice and relaxed. It all felt quite natural. Hats off!


It was good to work with youngsters who play their instrument well. Being young and leaving the well-trodden path; in fact that seemed to be quite natural to them, I noticed. Yet they were not used to some things and then another point comes to the fore. 

The youngsters learn that playing music at sight is the very best that they can achieve.

Something they’re not yet conscious of: how making your own music actually works. The strength you get from it.

That intrigues me.

Why is it more satisfactory to reproduce a piece than to make one yourself?

Of course this is connected with age.

The adolescent. Looks uncomfortably around to see if he’s doing what he’s supposed to do. Or to see if it’s RIGHT..


Q What did you notice in particular?



1 I’ve never before witnessed how the method of creative music-making could get the process of learning going so quickly and at so many levels; this led to high quality learning. All participants (students, teachers, external workshop leaders) experienced a collective process of learning for a whole hour. They learned to sing in tune, move synchronously, imagine the sound ‘from inside’ and to perform complex rhythmic patterns according to the Kodály method. After that it appeared to be really easy to involve the participants in the process of creating music. This process demanded a considerable amount of working together. And of learning from each other. But it was also a process in which the participants showed considerable commitment to creating music that enabled them to express all their own musical qualities. 


I’ve never before seen such wonderful results being achieved on this scale and with this intensity in such a short time.


2 At the top of the list: the lack of inhibition and musicality in the children. Of course this is a talented group, but the ease with which they switched between reproducing and composing was remarkable. It seemed to be one and the same thing for them. This group can achieve fantastic things together and this I think is unusual in the Netherlands.

I also noticed how diverse the opinions (and openness) of the teachers’ team was. This is probably related to age and experience. Once more I’ve noticed that if teachers have to work in groups, think up solutions and work with their intuition, this leads to problems (although probably unnecessarily so). 

A third point is that I was very much aware of the drive and motivation of those that initiated the weekend. To get such an event going you need an enormous amount of motivation and vigour. My compliments.



3 I noticed that the teachers had many questions regarding the usefulness of CMM and how they would be able to translate these workshops into their own lessons. The motivation to apply CMM is still very limited, but varies from one teacher to another. I noticed a certain amount of rigidity and in some teachers enormous frustrations when it came to playing without a score and not knowing exactly what you were doing until the presentation; there was a need to plan everything exactly, and a fear of letting go. For that reason some of the teachers, I believe, felt very vulnerable and not in control. Thinking back, I believe we didn’t do enough for them. Ideally I would like the contact with each participant to be at the point he/she has reached, at the point he/she feels strong/confidant. As far as I’m concerned that did not happen. The frustrations increased on both sides as a result. That is a shame. 


4 What I particularly noticed was the positive mood. These children are used to new approaches and are ready to experiment. They have confidence in and are curious about what will happen and they can work creatively without help. Something the organisation should be proud of.


5 What I noticed in the children was:

Collaboration, intense degree of playing together. Growth. 


In the teachers: uncertainty, pleasure, resistance, but also people who dared to show their vulnerability.


In the parents: enthusiasm


In the workshop leaders: curiosity.


-All groups worked for long periods and really hard. And these children seemed to be able to remain focused right up to the concert.   

-The children got on really well together. There was a great deal of peer-learning, although that differed per group. 

-The children knew really well what the others in their groups were playing. They weren’t just concentrating on their own parts but on playing together and on the whole.

-One of my pupils said that he had to do his best to get his ideas across to the group and he was pleased that after plucking up courage, he managed it.

-Another pupil said that she normally felt quite intimidated by other players at the Academy, but that during this weekend that had not been a problem at all. 

-And someone else said that he was lucky with his group, that they had good discussions and lots of ideas. They were proud of their piece. 

-There was also a group of five that did not manage to make any music at all for some time. Endless discussions and chatting, and they also really wanted to write the notes and melodies down on paper. 

- One teacher that was helping out felt the groups needed guidance. 

Personal note: I myself would like to understand some things about this subject better.

How does that work precisely, why does a ‘helping’ adult prevent the creative process developing in the pupil? Our pupils are all very used to working with teachers who provide help and tips. So I think they immediately go into the usual mode. They know what they should be aiming for musically and  technically, what is expected of them, and how that will subsequently be confirmed. But that takes away all creativity!!

For instrumentalists is that polishing up for a performance later in the process definitely important. But probably they can do much of that themselves because they are used to taking the responsibility and especially if their reflective powers are called for. Control over one’s own learning process.


This same adult also believes, by the way, that the final result was poor. This is difficult, because how do you discuss this? Which results are we talking about in fact? 


-Some children were in their element. They had ideas, enjoyed themselves, stretched their limits. They thrived on it!

-Other children had fewer ideas, so were less satisfied, asking ‘What’s the point of this? ‘ 

For them there was insufficient challenge and click, and perhaps these children are only used to teacher-guided working. When asked to think up something themselves, these children couldn’t produce anything challenging, so they were insufficiently involved. 


6 I noticed that once they got going, they put together some splendid pieces of music. They told a story. Even though they weren’t completely aware of this. Gifts, little pearls, raw diamonds. It is always a case of feeling for and seeking the entrance; switching on/making possible an environment in which creativity can blossom. Where experimentation is possible and desirable and which can be extended through to one particular presentation moment. 


I also noticed that there were strong leaders within the group. Logical but also rather remarkable. How do you tackle this? On the one hand, it gets the group going, but on the other hand it can also halt the creative process. I mean that a group can go no further …… in their amazement. 


*How do you regard the relationship between ‘Kodály Prepare’ and what came out of the CMM workshop?



1 It creates a world of difference for me. That makes it really valuable. Without ‘Kodály Prepare’ there wouldn’t be a CMM workshop, as far as I’m concerned.


2 I find both methods of working interesting and I think it’s very worthwhile using them at arts centres. I don’t think the collaboration was at its best this weekend. But having said that, it was also the first time, and so there has to be opportunity to experiment. A few things that I noticed in the collaboration were:

  • The preparation was totally ready (fixed) as far as the Kodály people were concerned. I understand that many hours of preparation go into this work, but I would like to see more flexibility in the materials.
  • The Kodály moments were long and intensive. This requires a great deal of energy which means that there’s not enough left for the CMM section.
  • The Kodály moments were planned during the moments when people were still fresh (mornings, after the lunch) which meant that CMM had to be done at the more difficult moments of the day (end of the morning/afternoon). 
  • All the CMM work is applied according to what the Kodály method has supplied. It would also be interesting on, for example, day 2 to use material in the Kodály moment that was made during CMM on day 1.
  • All the CMM people took part actively in the Kodály activities. It would have been nice if the Kodály people had been able to participate in CMM (if only to practise thought-up elements).


3 Up to a certain point, I believe that Kodály is certainly valuable in ‘pre-researching’ the material you want to use for composing. I also liked the fact that the Kodály method was also applied in the teachers’ group to their own – complicated – melody, in order to internalise it. In no time at all, everyone knew the melody and the groove as a result.
So far I’ve found the Kodály repertoire rather dry and fussy, but that is purely a personal taste and preference. What I really saw as valuable was the idea that you can approach interesting facts about a piece of music from different starting points and in this way internalise it. In follow-up Kodály workshops I would let the group further elaborate on the material they’ve made. I believe we will then have found a good balance between learning skills and creating new/personalised materials.


I particularly noticed the enormous concentration showed by the pupils right up to the very end (what an achievement after a weekend like that!). They were amazingly capable of approaching everything in a flexible and open manner in both workshops and presentation; they could separate themselves from their scores and in that way show their creative sides. Fantastic this has already been achieved. 


4 I’m very enthusiastic about the method and about the two workshop leaders who did the preparation. Wonderful how they needed so little effort to get everybody taking part. Fantastic to experience this, really great.


5  As far as I’m concerned, it is extremely logical and sensible to bring together ‘Kodály prepare’ and CMM!! 

The basic musical elements of form, sound world, harmonics/melodic/rhythmic building blocks can be ‘rubbed in’ in an enjoyable manner. By singing, clapping, and moving we and the students took in the music, keys, and the rhythmic patterns of the bass lines. We could further elaborate on these during the creative work process



I noticed that the Kodály lessons brought me more sharply into focus and made me cheerful. I got into learning mode. After a short while I was able to participate in the group in a way I had not thought possible. I could absorb the music in various ways and at different levels. It was important to experience this. Consciousness comes later on.


The next step – transferring this to your instrument – is a logical one. The Kodály Prepare stage gives the pupils the tools to hear and recognise the whole piece as well as their own part.


6 Working according to the Kodály principles works. It opens up your brain 

But . . . . I would also like to have seen more of this.

What do I mean by this?

The body percussion that was ‘learned’ could also have had a place (optionally) in the workshop sections, such as in the tutti section. I think a lot can still be achieved there. Or singing together. Because that works. Also in the tasks the workshop leaders carried out amongst themselves. More could have been achieved there.


Kodály is all about skills. Apart from the fact that I think the sol-fa system is enormously enriching for dealing with language, tones and notes. These skills should be more broadly deployed.


Warming up together was really valuable. You get to know EVERYONE involved.


Ideas for further development: 

- Interchange between the groups. I myself needed.

- Combining the pieces of music.  


This sort of thing continues to be an interface; an intersection where you, if you have the opportunity to overlook the whole process, you can see what could be possible. What the potential is in a group.

Questions for Kodály teacher regarding the CMM workshops  6 and 7 February 2016 Amersfoort



The Kodály teacher works at the Royal Conservatoire The Hague, as head of the Master’s course of study ‘Music education according to the Kodály concept’



  • Q  What do you think the relationship is between the Prepare stage and the Creative process?


A  I believe that good preparation – knowing and being able to do something well – is extremely important for working creatively. Both musical memory and imagination are very important for creativity (closely related, I think), but you first need to have learnt something, and retain it.



  • Q How would you describe the students’ involvement during the Creative process? 


A I saw a small part of the activities when the primary school pupils were at work both with and without a teacher and the involvement seemed to be considerable in some children (the  ‘leaders’?). That was less evident with the more timid children. During the primary school pupils’ performance on the Saturday afternoon it was obvious to me they were making music together. They were aware of each other, and everyone did what they were supposed to do. They played with a lot of concentration.


  • What did you think of the results?


A  In the performance you could hear variation in compositions but you also noticed that the key, rhythm, melody and sometimes the harmony all remained close to, for example, the Bartok piano piece. I don’t know to what extent that was advised by the CMM workshop leaders; I wasn’t able to see that.

Also, on the Saturday afternoon you could already hear very clearly that some children were playing ‘with vision’. It seems it was necessary for them to do it in this way (but it could be that these particular pupils would also do that in their normal lessons). Unfortunately I didn’t hear the final performance. 


Q Anything else you’d like to comment on?


 A  It was perhaps a bit too long. Perhaps the sessions should be shorter. Some primary pupils began to sigh when they heard that they would need to be present from 1 to 5 on Sunday as well. It would be better if this method of working was part of every normal group lesson, in addition to all the other things done in the lessons. Then it wouldn’t be seen as something separate (now we’re going to work/compose creatively), but integrated instead. There could also perhaps be interaction between the pupils and their teachers: compose and perform a piece together. I think that would be very valuable! But that does demand certain skills of the teacher



I was not really able to see how this all worked for the teachers. The first session with secondary school pupils together with teachers was really enjoyable. I don’t know how they got on in the CMM sessions.


Questions for teacher (observer)



Observer is Teacher (for students with bassoon as Major)




What did you think of this workshop/lesson?







What did you notice in particular?


For me it was mainly a reminder and confirmation of the idea that these learning techniques provide a good basis for playing all sorts of music.

The techniques are also particularly relevant to current thinking because over the last few decades many of these skills were not thought to be essential for performing classical music, but nowadays they are becoming increasingly essential because, for example, the whole classical music world is extending into other style areas and so skills such as improvisation are required more often.

This type of versatility demands a renewed look at these skills which, at the same time, allow a broader interpretation of more traditional classical music by concentrating less on reading “from note to note” and more on working on the basis of the underlying structure.




How were various skills expressed: commitment, giving each other opportunities, and listening to each other?


In a light-hearted manner, with challenges. It’s necessary to be practical, at the same time listening to what the others pick up directly.



How would you describe concentration and focus during the lesson?


Good, my experience of this group in particular is that it is often a question of balancing between good concentration and having fun, which went well.



How could you see that there was freedom to change roles (leading, following, supporting)?


Ooh, rather a difficult question. Perhaps I missed this bit because I was absent for a short time.



How could you see that there was sufficient freedom to take risks and to make mistakes?


Because there was an easy-going feeling and everyone realised that nobody is ever able to do this completely right the first time 








How often was it obvious that the participants were enjoying themselves?


Quite often, sometimes because of another student’s struggles or the obvious absurdity of the materials and the movements.




When were the moments of providing opportunities for creativity, and what helped to produce this creativity?


The materials often demanded some creative thinking about what the “basic codes” such as ta ka di mi and even do re mi actually mean.




How did this method of working influence intonation and ensemble playing?


I noticed that progress was mostly made after doing the exercise to listen to each other’s parts (while singing your own part).




Which elements contributed to understanding/experiencing the first movement of Mozart’s concerto?


I suspect that “experiencing” was the keyword in this lesson; really experiencing rhythms physically, singing the music while being aware of the intervals. In that way the music is saved effectively on your hard disk, thus forming a basis for further, more analytical, understanding. I would be interested to discuss, in a follow-up session, how this leads to, for example, the approach to phrasing in general, the broader lines in music, because this way of doing things really gives you something solid to hold on to. Students often get caught up in so many interpretations by all their favourite bassoonists or their various teachers. The result is that they lose track of how they can interpret the music themselves. In that case, this method is one of the few ways which can lead them back to their own characteristic interpretation. 


List of questions for BASIS observer


29 March – a lesson for pupil Merten 

Observer is also BASIS BMO teacher



What did you think of this lesson?


Enjoyable! Mieke challenged her pupil by constantly introducing variety (alternating between playing, singing – in various languages, and notation, etc) and by keeping up a lively pace. She did all this with relatively little material. As a result, Merten was being challenged, but in a nice way. Mieke asked a lot of the pupil but did that in a relaxed manner, sometimes with humour. Merten was therefore focused on the lesson, but also had the chance to laugh now and again. 



What did you notice in particular?


The constant change in activity. It was really good to see that Mieke allowed the pupil to experience a short piece of music in all its facets. 



In what way were the following apparent: involvement, giving each other enough  space, and listening to one another?


-Mieke asked Merten lots of questions during the lesson. ‘What you think of your embouchure at the moment?’ ‘Are you ready to play that again?’ ‘How do you do that at home?’ 



How would you describe the concentration and focus during the lesson?


- Merten had just come from an ensemble lesson, so his embouchure was not ideal. That is why Mieke started off with a writing task so that Merten could focus on getting started, but at the same time giving his mouth a rest. 



In what way were there opportunities to change roles (leading, following, accompanying)


-Merten wrote in his own way how he was able to practise a new fingering at home. Mieke read that through and said: ‘I understand what you’ve written. Can you understand it if I write it down like this?’ And Mieke noted the same fingering, but in another way. 


- Last week Merten had been asked to write down the notes of the song Epo i tai tai. Mieke played the notes exactly as Merten had written them down so he could hear what was incorrect. Then 

Merten played the song from memory, without looking at the music. In that way he could more easily discover which notes he had written incorrectly. 



In what way did it become apparent that there was sufficient chance to take risks and be allowed to make mistakes?


-While Merten played a scale (one that was difficult for him at that point), Mieke allowed him time to find a note whenever he wasn’t sure. While Merten was having a think, Mieke helped him by playing the right note now and again. He took his time to think and after Mieke had played the note 3 times, Merten found the note himself.





At which moments in the lesson did you observe pleasure?


- Merten laughed often – whenever Mieke asked him something in a humorous way. Merten himself also has a nice musical feeling for humour. If something sounds funny, he laughs. 




CMM weekend 6 and 7 February 2016

Questions for bassoon students about the workshop 15-03-2016 




What is your most important experience in this workshop/lesson?


1 I think the more carefree way of learning by playing is very helpful, it makes it fun to learn.


2 This workshop has enabled me to understand that certain basic things could be better, such as feeling the heartbeat, but also the aspects of being aware of what I’m actually doing when playing – that could be better too.


3 For me the most important experience was when we started to combine singing and a rhythm. I discovered that it is harder then you would expect. When you practise this more it can really help you to do a number of things at the same time.


4 Working on the piece without sheet music


5 To explore non-notated ways of thinking about music


6 My most valuable experience in this workshop was the fact that it was fun and free, while still being educational.


Which elements of this workshop were really new for you?


1 The coordination of walking, clapping and singing were new. Very difficult!


2 In fact, everything we did was new for me. For example, I have always used the names of notes and never learned solmisation. Neither have I worked with the language of rhythm and I’ve certainly never played Mozart’s concerto.


3 I have done some Kodály in Amsterdam, so most things I had heard about. Rhythm was a bit different, but was a lot clearer this way.


4 Nothing was really new


5 Pretty much all of it. Singing in solfege, the hand signs, rhythmic movements


6 Almost all of the workshop was fairly new for me. I think when I was much younger, I learned about the hand gestures for solfege as well as the rhythm language, but it was so long ago (and before I started playing music seriously) that I didn't really remember any of it. Everything else was really completely new for me, though.


What opportunities were there to change your role (i.e. leader, follower)


1 The role of leader was more fluid, when everybody listened it felt like everybody was leading.


2 The group was divided up regularly. I wouldn’t call it a division into leader and follower, but it was certainly a difference in responsibility, for example when the rhythm cards were exchanged. This person had a great deal of influence on the players. The one playing the heartbeat appeared to be less important, but in fact was extremely important for the rhythm players. When we were playing and walking at the same time the bass part provided a natural support for the melody. Nevertheless even here it was also important that everyone listened to everyone else and played at the same tempo. That was more important than the division of responsibilities.


3 In every exercise  there was a possibility to change role.




5 mostly follower


6 Whenever there was an exercise that involved one person leading and one following, the exercise was then always reversed so everyone had the opportunity to be in both positions.


In which way did you have the feeling there was room for taking risks?


1 Not sure, maybe that it was a new experience.


2 When playing with the rhythm cards it was obviously possible to take risks by playing different notes from the triad. This was a limited but extremely pleasant way of discovering your own potential.


3 In the exercise with the cards, we needed to improvise on a chord; there, we could have taken risks. In most of the exercises you could just go for it, and that could mean taking risks


4 improvisations


5 Plenty, it was a very comfortable environment


6 Because the exercises mostly involved non-serious music (or at least disguising something more serious), it gave us the freedom to be more free and put ourselves out there more. Also, since everyone was pretty much in the same boat, it didn't feel like any one of us was embarrassing ourselves.


Which elements from the workshop contribute to developing creativity?


1 The new way of approaching learning by playing.


2 Being able to improvise on a triad was a good way of going in search of creativity, especially because this was done in combination with reading the rhythms while playing.


3 The exercise with the cards when we needed to improvise. 


4 Improvisation. Maybe the workshop could be more open in the future, letting the students suggest new exercises.


5 Thinking about different ways to think about music


6 All the exercises that required us to listen to everyone else while simultaneously concentrating on our own task helped to develop creativity. When you are forced to listen to the rest of the group, your brain begins thinking in a more creative way and focusing a bit less on the specific technicalities of the individual task.


Which elements from the workshop help you to have a better understanding of the first movement of the Mozart concerto?


1 The grouping of the rhythms made it clear that it was all connected.


2 Although I’ve never played the Mozart before it became obvious that a large part of the workshop involved this piece and how to approach it. There were attempts to approach the piece in various ways, for example by using rhythm language, playing the bass line, playing in twos, etc.



3 When we took the rhythm separately from the song. Also when we did the bass, that really helped a lot



4 Knowing the bass line and singing by heart



5 It was nice to approach it without notation, consider what the basic material elements are.


6 Because everything in the workshop helped to develop our creativity and willingness to take risks, while also subtly introducing elements of the Mozart bassoon concerto. The creativity and risk-taking allowed me to connect with Mozart which turn will help me with these aspects in my own development with the piece. 




What do you want to develop more?


1 Coordination.


2 During the workshop I noticed that I could be much more aware of what I’m actually doing while playing. I’ve already looked for information on rhythm language and I would like to find out more about solmisation. What’s more I’ve noticed that I don’t always feel the heartbeat of a piece. So I’m going to work on that too.


3 I would like to be better at  singing Kodály, and also the rhythm


4 Knowledge of the harmony and other lines in the piece (not just melody)


To be able to listen to the others

Psychomotor activity


5 The direct relevance to performance of the concerto.


6 I would like to see how these exercises could be taken to the next level and directly applied to more in-depth work on the Mozart concerto.

Questions for participants/students attending the workshops 6 and 7 February 2016 Amersfoort


These students are all member of the School for Talent. Besides their normal music lessons, they are offered a Saturday course with additional classes, to singing in a choir, playing chamber music, rehearsing together and attending special activities like this CMM-weekend.



*How old are you?










  • Which instrument do you play?


Alto Recorder








  • How long have you had lessons?

7.5 years

5 years

6 years

5 years

2.5 years

4 years

4 years

5.5 years




Q  How would you describe this way of working and why?



1 Firstly, we did a couple of quick tasks and then thought up our own piece in small groups 


2 Original and instructive. Because you weren’t looking at your music the whole time, you were more concentrated on the others and could think of more things.


3 Relaxed, first a warming up. So I can start to concentrate on making music.





5 Sometimes it was rather chaotic because one person might say we had to do something in a certain way and then somebody else came along and said we had to do it differently. However, it was clear what was happening.


6 It was rather difficult working on the melody without having the notes. Normally we have a score.


7 Original and it got you moving. Normally you don’t have lessons like this; here we began with all sorts of movement things.


8 We had to work in small groups and compose music ourselves by making variations on an existing piece. 



Q  What did you think of the workshops?



1 I really enjoyed it except that it was sometimes rather too long and began to get a bit boring.


2 Instructive and enjoyable. The teachers were committed and pleasant.


3 Nice, it was nice to sing and to clap a rhythm. And then to think up a melody in groups. I only joined the secondary school group after the Christmas holiday so I didn’t know many people. During the workshops I got to know them better. Now I know much more about them and that is a good feeling.


4 The workshop was enjoyable because we could make our own piece from a few notes, plus the teacher had a nice way of doing things.


5 I enjoyed it but when we all started together on Saturday (not in the small groups) and had to make one single piece of music, it was rather boring, playing just one note the whole time, but the small groups were really great.


6 Really good! I learned a lot (for example the hand system for scales) and also getting to know the group better.


7 I enjoyed the workshops, but it was a shame you had so little time to compose a piece. 


8 It was really nice to do this; something completely different. However it was a long music weekend; it would have been better spread out over two weeks.



  • Q  What did you find particularly interesting during the workshops?



1 I was particularly taken by the fact that you could make so many pieces from just a few notes and with just a few instruments.



2 Everybody was curious about what we were actually going to do. This meant everyone remained focused, so we could work well and achieve a splendid result.


3 Walking in time to the music – it was really good how everyone moved together with the melody being played on the piano.


4 That we produced our own piece with a few notes, and we had to discover the rest ourselves. That was really fun.


5  The singing. I thought, we are going to do something quite different, but the clapping games in particular were really good fun. 



6 I really enjoyed everything. 


7 That we could compose a second voice ourselves. 


8 For me it was really interesting to play together with various instruments in combinations that were new for me.

Also, the concert in the Flint was really cool.


Questions for the participating music school teachers at the CMM workshops 6 and 7 February 2016 Amersfoort


In general the music school teachers work in a teacher-led manner. One teacher is doing a Master’s in ’Music Education according to the Kodály concept’ and one teacher has trained in giving Creative Workshops. Some of the teachers are following the internal Kodály training course for teachers within the Scholen in de Kunst.



CMM stands for Creative Music Making,  an addition to existing methods in music education that brings the collaborative and creative aspects of learning to the forefront.



  • What do you think the relationship is between ‘Kodály Prepare’ and the CMM workshops?


1Because there was a ‘Kodály Prepare’ session in which all the tunes were obviously in the same key and in which games were played, creative ideas were easily generated. The process went quickly and the Kodály elements could be used (sol-fa, takadimi language, moving to the music) in order to support the individual creative process. As a result you were able to imprint the newly made piece in your memory more quickly


2 The way I see it there is no clear relationship


3Kodály makes it possible to process the CMM material more quickly


4 That is difficult to judge because I have had too little training in either.

I think that children will get a lot out of it, especially Kodály (first) and then especially from the age of three at school. A grounding in Kodály makes CMM more achievable and more functional, as well as more serious, than without it. 


5 Both were enjoyable but the only overlap was the key and the song. The way of preparing material with Kodály was not really followed up in CMM as far as I’m concerned. 


6 The workshop leaders constantly sought the connection by using elements from the Kodály repertoire in CMM.  You could say that the common factor in these two systems is discovering and experiencing music by listening.


7 The relationship is that the note-based material practised in the Kodály workshop was used subsequently for CMM. Kodály Prepare is an excellent and effective manner to get to know the notes really well. 


 8 We tried to build a  relationship between these two workshops ourselves, but this involved only a small part of the composition. We changed the few bars we had written into solmisation.

I don’t know if it’s always possible to apply this. I have my doubts. It’s not easy. 


  • What differences did you notice between the Kodály Prepare and the follow-up in the workshops? 


1 ‘Kodály prepare ‘ is all about experiencing the material, learing a song with the help of games, sol-fa, takadimi, and feeling the beat and rhythm. There is an obvious framework. During the follow-up with CMM you could get to work yourself to compose fine music, with some limitations. For both approaches it is necessary to work in groups and that is really enjoyable.



2Kodály is well constructed I find, with clear and interesting musical learning aims, and a consistent build-up. That wasn’t obvious with CMM, I thought. 


4 Kodály Prepare throws you back to your own beginning and that is far removed from our way of doing things now. CMM as such is not really difficult for me because I am an experienced player.


5 In Kodály you’re working receptively; in CMM you are actively creating something. Everybody takes part in Kodály but during CMM it’s mainly the show-offs that are being creative. Guiding the group dynamics should actually be an important element of this (as in cooperative learning).


6 Kodály offers a number of useful pointers in the form of songs, movement and solmisation. The CMM workshop concentrated mainly on developing oneself. Workshop leaders therefore gave as little guidance as possible, stimulating the participants constantly to make their own choices.


7 The ‘Kodály Prepare’ was done really professionally. This part was one big musical experience.

It was fun to do. For me there was no real musical experience in the CMM; it was more a case of applying hints and gimmicks, and the result sounded as if it had been cobbled together.


8 Differences between Kodály Prepare and the workshops – really difficult to compare!

Kodály Prepare leads to something concrete: a song or a piece of music.

CMM Prepare consisted first of a clapping exercise which I really enjoyed, but then I had to leave for a while (to go and vote) but the composition had to be produced with a number of building blocks, intervals and various bars. Rather fragmentary but enjoyable to do.



  • What do you think went well (or otherwise) during the CMM process?


1 Super- the interaction with Kodály, which meant the proces went quickly. Collaboration and playing together were the best elements. Sometimes we spent too long on one moment in the process and then you had to play the same thing really often; more variation would be nice. With more and more challenges being added.


2 Pleasant atmosphere, tasks were well explained, enjoyable to do them, but not clear what the added value was. The creative element was to be found mainly in making elementary choices (Shall we do it once or twice? How are we going to perform that rhythm?); there was little depth. 

The quality of the final presentation was really poor; I don’t know whether there was enough challenge in it for advanced pupils.


3 Sometimes there was too much endless discussion about whether or not to do something. More guidance/decisiveness on the part of the workshop leaders would have made a difference.


4 Too much semblance of minimal music, too little at an intellectual level (strange word, but too basic) 

*Too much playing around. Not my thing. 

  • A good point: trying out something different yourself for a change


5 + nice to think up something together with other teachers

+ nice ideas to apply in groups in schools 

- your own creative contribution is very limited. Most things had already been decided.

- having to work towards the final performance made the Sunday rather tough/tedious.

- suitable for school classes, but less so for our pupils because there would be insufficient challenge for individuals.


6 I thought the workshop was very promising to start with; an enjoyable way of exploring rhythm and tonality. As far as I’m concerned we didn’t get much further after that. The ideas could have been elaborated on better.


7 During the CMM process, creativity should be at the fore, but I didn’t notice that. Of course you have to work within the required framework, but I had the feeling the course leaders and not the participants were determining too much of the framework. As long as it sounded atonal and there was no fixed pulse, it was acceptable. Disappointing.  

Collaboration with colleagues was good and enjoyable.


8 Enjoyable  - to think how you can make/compose something, work together, and especially how you can listen to each other well.

Coming to a compromise and seeing how that works out.

Not enjoyable  - that the piece is so short and has to be repeated so often. Boring ….. 

Then with two groups together, placing the two pieces one on top of the other was good fun, but the result did not really produce enjoyable listening.


  • What is for you the difference between reproducing something and, as you did in these workshops, creating something, when making music (the musical experience)?


1 It is good to play auditively and to investigate with the help of the knowledge of Kodály. I wasn’t there at the end, but I’d expect making music with everyone together to result in a new musical experience.


2CMM is musically less interesting than working with existing music; there is little depth, but it is certainly good to work with other people. However, I find working on existing music is much more creative 


3 The process was too short to see any differences. But I think one complements the other. 


4 I quickly get bored with CMM. Far too much repetition for me, with too little material. As far as I’m concerned everything, including reproduction, is creative because you always put in a great deal of yourself. That has never bothered me, in contrast with CMM. Give me Mahler 7 any day.


5 I enjoy being actively creative. In reproducing music, it’s the quality of the performance you focus on. With CMM, performance is subordinate to the idea. 


6 I didn’t notice much difference. The creative part mainly remained within a predetermined framework and once we had agreed what we would do, we repeated that many times. There wasn’t much opportunity for improvisation.


7 The question is to what extent we created something in CMM (also see question 3). In fact, I had the idea during the CMM that we were producing something in a rather mechanical way, and it was not really a musical experience. I think that was because the music was reasonably mechanical and had been made with the help of series of notes, in which the focus was on the quavers while the broader lines totally disappeared. However this did not apply to the Bartok, which we began with and walked to. Then notes were added in a totally random fashion, some notes had to be “found”. I suggested throwing a dice, but my ‘joke’ was not appreciated. In fact it was not entirely a joke, more a creative idea (John Cage!). Initially they wanted to play the Bartok really fast, on the basis of the quavers. Fortunately we managed to resist that ….. So there was a musical experience after all: Bartok reproduced with a sprinkling of CMM.


8 The musical experience during CMM was scanty, I thought, it was a question of counting properly, working together, listening and “doing what had been agreed”.

It was more “programming” then making music, and it didn’t sound at all pleasant. It felt like a gimmick  .


  • To what extent does it correspond with your own lesson-giving?


1 CMM is difficult to apply in one-to-one lessons. At the moment, it would be good for groups as a project, so they have a new method of working together.

Eventually work towards a learning pathway with group lessons in Kodály and CMM


2It doesn’t


3 Not yet, but more so in the future hopefully 


4Not yet


5 I use CMM a lot in class situations. Not in individual lessons. (Improvisation I do use, but that’s quite different, I feel). I use Kodály for teaching rhythms (I believe it’s the original, simple version). Because I work using the Suzuki method, I always begin totally auditively, but not with solmisation.


6 Some methods of working correspond excellently with my lesson-giving. It has certainly inspired me.


7 Many elements of ‘Kodály Prepare’ can be applied in my lesson-giving in order to prepare for pieces pupils are going to play. I can’t yet see a use for CMM. That’s because I’ve not really had positive experiences with CMM, except the element of playing together. At the moment I can’t think of how I could usefully apply CMM in a lesson.


8 I think that for children who do not yet play an instrument, it is fun to do this. You get to know music making on any sort of percussion instrument or on a whistle or simple plucking instrument or keyboard, etc.


  • What would you yourself like to develop further?


1 I’m already further developing the application of Kodály in my lesson-giving 

2 More Kodály, no CMM things

4 Kodály first please

3 The link between individual lessons and CMM/Kodály

4 Kodály first please

5 Nothing different to what I now do. 

6 Because of my music theatre background I am really interested in a combination of singing and games (movement). The exercises we did during the first hour on Saturday were the most enjoyable of the whole weekend for me. I would like to read through everything we did once more!

7 Kodály Prepare.




Pupils with natural talent and interest will get there. They will always develop themselves on their instrument and learn to apply their creativity. But I would like to contribute to a rich and lively music-making and learning environment for the large group of children who attend a music school.  


If we’re talking about instrumental education:

Then I imagine that in the ideal situation, the instrumental teacher would have the skills to teach in both ways, both Kodály and CMM. 

I think it would be ideal if teacher and pupil both spoke the same ‘language’. Both solmisation and takadimi. And that it is normal to experience a piece of music by means of singing and movement. Then to investigate this further on the instruments and to start playing. 

But it is also important – thinking logically – that the ideas of both the pupil and teacher are equally important. 

The teacher knows how to stimulate the pupils, he knows the value of ideas, and he knows how to get the pupils to develop these ideas further. Thus, getting the pupils to be in charge of their own learning process. Who knows, while making something, a new learning question will arise. Or it may seem a logical step to make the connection to existing repertoire.  (Art music in Kodály)



If there weren’t any practical limitations I would immediately start working in this way:

Regular group lessons (in addition to instrumental lessons) such as PI / BASIS/ Blazersplus class. 

The group lesson consists largely of Kodaly and instrumental work, and reacting to what happens in the lesson: a small part of a sort of CMM. 

Project basis: 1 or 2 times a year larger CMM project. Possibly involving more than one discipline.



My wish is to give creativity a natural place in instrumental education. I’m still looking for the best way of doing this.

In a general way I believe that creativity is ‘life energy’. This also applies to music, I believe. Things start happening as soon as ‘creating’ develops naturally from learning. And also vice versa – that learning comes from ‘creating’. In other words, creativity is connected with learning all the musical and technical skills on your instrument during the instrumental lessons and during playing in ensembles and orchestras

The skills I have learned from working with the Kodály method and from the CMM workshops provide me with lots of possibilities. They have given me the freedom to tackle music and learning in a way that is quite different to what I was used to when giving lessons..

Questions for the Observers at the CCM workshops 6 and 7 February 2016 Amersfoort


Two observers – one is from the puntComp study group and trained to give creative workshops, while the other observer is a music school teacher without any training in Kodály or CMM.



  • What did you see in terms of pleasure and involvement among the participants?


Primary school pupils: initially they did not know what to expect during the Kodály workshop, although there was involvement right from the start. I saw a few youngsters becoming a bit rebellious. Were they being sufficiently challenged? The singing was rather hesitant to start with but it improved later on.

At the start of the CMM workshop I noticed pleasure now and again: they played using four notes and that appeared to go too slowly for some. Yet there was considerable involvement. The pleasure and involvement were at their best when the pupils were working in groups and presenting to the others.


Secondary school pupils: I did not see a lot of this group, but the involvement during the Kodály workshop was considerable. Everyone was focused and wanted to perform the exercises well. I didn’t see much of the CMM workshop, but I did see them presenting to each other the compositions they had made. They paid full attention to each other and were concentrated while playing. 

I heard a few reactions from pupils who said to the workshop leaders at the end of the day things like: ‘It was cool!’



  • considerable pleasure and involvement during the Kodály workshop. The material was familiar to many of them, but new for the others. However you saw that everyone participated and did their very best.
  • There was also involvement during the CMM workshop. In some pupils more than others, but that depends on character: how much do you want to contribute? During the group work there were ideas for dealing with musical challenges and they made the link with Kodály.
  • There was also pleasure in making music. It was more noticeable on Saturday than on Sunday. 
  • There was also evidence of pleasure and involvement in the fact that one teacher returned for the Sunday and although some participants couldn’t manage the Sunday, they did attend the concert.
  • Involvement could also be deduced from critical remarks.

2nd observer


  • What could you see in terms of pleasure and involvement in the participants? 
  • Varied. The older pupils were certainly enthusiastic, especially at the beginning.
  • As the weekend progressed, the pupils began to find it rather long.
  • Looking back, they enjoyed the Kodály warming up exercises the most.






  • What did you notice in terms of musical development?


  • I would describe it as follows for the teachers:
  • from a collaborative musical experience via Kodály with the emphasis on some elements, towards a collaborative CMM start which included elements from Kodály, both rhythmical and tonal material. Then in two groups to make a melody and rhythm. These were ultimately combined in various ways to produce a good-sounding result. Not really finished off, because on the next day they had to play in a different group. 

On Sunday there was some theory: three variations for accompanying Bartok: 1. Original, 2 free note-based material, 3. Which interval of a second fits the accompaniment to Bartok? There was much discussion about that last point. 



2nd observer

  • Some groups worked constructively; during their time together they produced some good things. I noticed that in each of the groups there was an obvious leader who determined what happened and how. The “leader” had a clear idea, which was then followed by the rest. In the groups of younger children, in particular, no one knew what to do, so the teachers had to supply ideas. Even with these teacher-injected ideas the children were often not very creative in elaborating on the ideas. During the concert the same ideas were performed and repeated.




  • Q  How much of the Kodály Prepare method do you see influencing the creative process? 



  • The note-based materials are familiar in CMM; there’s always a starting point (for example a melody or rhythmic material) which can be worked with and which can be elaborated creatively. In some CMM workshops you have to make that material yourself and then continue further. Here, there was a good starting point. 
  • It is easier to make one single piece with three different groups because you then have the same starting point. All the groups knew certain of the melodies which enabled them to take part (apparently). 


2nd observer


  • How much of the ‘Kodály Prepare’ did you see being further used in the creative process? I myself was not present so I can’t judge. But I did hear enthusiastic reactions to the Kodály Prepare session.
  • The pupils enjoyed this.



  • What did you think of the result?


  • Bearing in mind the limited preparation time, I think we can be very satisfied. I had expected and hoped that there could be more combination within, as well as between, the three groups. The result here was cobbled-together pieces and I think more could be done with these. 
  • Pupil commitment was very considerable and they memorised things even after just one rehearsal. Fantastic! 
  • It was great that teachers were mixed in with the pupils. Perhaps they could have played an even bigger part – a solo or something like that – in their supporting role. I think they could have been deployed much more and that the results would then have been even more satisfactory.
  • The collaboration between the workshop leaders was excellent and worked smoothly but I think that in bringing all the parts together, more could have been achieved if there was more/better consultation or if there had been more time to listen to what they had.



  • 2nd observer


  • All things considered a very positive feeling! For the parents it was largely an enjoyable final result.
  • If you saw and heard everything one after another, it seemed to be a real achievement. But I was disappointed at what was performed ultimately by talented pupils 
  • After so many hours of working with these children, you would expect much more.
  • Most of the pupils I asked, felt the same. They found it difficult to really produce something, or to make their own contribution to the whole.
  • I don’t believe this way of doing things is a success. The older pupils are still too self-centred to be able to perform a task in a group, while the younger pupils do not have the freedom to play, or to think up something and perform it. And this applies to everyone: they have no/not enough theoretical knowledge to enable them to do something with the material.
  • I think that CMM is useful for the younger, more uninhibited children who have not yet encountered ‘instrument problems’, or for conservatory students who can really make something of this.