Ireland's Bébhinn Ní Mheara among educators attending SLC's Kodály Summer Music Program

Posted On July 01, 2015

Bébhinn Ní Mheara traveled more than 3,500 miles from Cork, Ireland, to attend Silver Lake College’s 2015 Kodály Summer Music Program.

She is one of more than 30 music educators — many from other parts of the country and the world — on campus for the two-week program, which runs from June 29 to July 10.

Bébhinn wanted to study with Silver Lake College professor emeritus Sister Lorna Zemke, internationally honored for her decades of work in Kodály, as well as some of “the new boys on the block, who are adapting the methodology to modern cultural situations,” she said.

The summer program offers a variety of courses in Kodály, an experience-based approach to teaching music developed in Hungary by Zoltán Kodály during the mid-20th century.

Bébhinn, who teaches musicianship skills at the C.I.T. Cork School of Music, is completing her Silver Lake College Master of Music in Music Education Degree with a Kodály emphasis.

She attended her first international Kodály conference in Hungary during the early 1990s after she and another music teacher thought their school’s music program needed reform, Bébhinn said.

“People talked about music but didn’t make music,” she recalled. “We looked at various methods. Kodály was the best because it was the most democratic. It uses the voice as the primary method of making music, so you don’t have to invest in expensive instruments.”

She learned of Sister Lorna’s international reputation in the field after taking a later Kodály course in Boston. This is Bébhinn’s fifth time studying with Sister Lorna at Silver Lake College.

Bébhinn said she enjoys the Kodály experience.

“We sing songs and make music," she said. "Through those musical experiences, you move toward music literacy. You’re not just learning about music, you’re making it from day one. It’s very joyful. It’s very enabling."

Bébhinn also enjoys the campus and surrounding area.

“The nicest thing about Manitowoc and Silver Lake College is you have this feeling of community and support,” she said.