The Kodály Method in Brazil

Consul Teleki Szilárd, first row on the left

The Kodály Method in Brazil

István Arato

On February 14th we celebrated the Day of Hungarian Culture at the Casa Húngara de São Paulo (Magyar Ház) in Brazil. It happened that day since the location was closed for vacation on January 22nd when the date is actually observed.  It was a great pleasure for me to have the opportunity to go to the Magyar Ház in São Paulo since I had never been there. The place was established in 1926 and it offers Hungarian language classes, dance groups and singing among other choices of learning and amusement.

The event started when the speakers, professors of the Hungarian language at the University of São Paulo, Anita Demkó and Fanni Szalai discoursed about the Hungarian Anthem and the history of the country’s music.  They gave us the first stanza of the National anthem with all the lines cut up and we needed to place them in correct order, after which we all sang it.  

The event had a very interesting mixture of generations, giving us the opportunity to learn with each other’s life experiences.  There were some older people who immigrated to Brazil decades ago and also their descendants, some very young, who are interested in the Hungarian culture. I even met a couple of them who are living and studying in Budapest.  We also had the presence of Consul Teleki Szilárd.

The special guest was Professor Marli Batista Avila, founder of the Kodály Association in Brazil who gave us a lecture about the great method of musical learning developed by the Hungarian composer and educator, Kodály Zoltán.  The technique is a main musical teaching approach in many places in the world, having started in Hungary more than 70 years ago.  I particularly enjoyed the lecture – it was really great and gave us plenty of information about the Kodály concept.

The event ended with a quiz of 12 questions about what we learned that evening and the winners could choose between a taste of pálinka and Unicum.  Afterwards, we enjoyed listening to the Hungarian Chorus of São Paulo; and even if I did not answer all the questions correctly, I managed to have some taste of the liquor.  It was a very interesting and pleasant evening.

István Arato, son of Hungarian immigrant parents, was born in São Paolo, Brazil where he was a journalist.  He came to the US in 1996 and now works in the hospitality/restaurant business. He attends the Hungarian School sponsored by Magyar Studies of America in Fairfield, CT.