Holy Names University enjoys an international reputation as one of the major centers in North America for Kodály music training. The first institution of higher learning to grant an advanced degree in music education with Kodály emphasis, Holy Names University has maintained an internationally renowned faculty in its program for over thirty years. Students come from throughout the Americas and the Pacific Rim to study with Hungarian master teachers and distinguished American faculty to develop their own musicianship while learning how to teach. An integrated and practical curriculum, a supportive atmosphere, and a high standard of excellence are hallmarks of the program.
The Kodály philosophy of music education, inspired by Hungarian composer and educator Zoltan Kodály (1882-1967), is based on a vision of the place of music in the intellectual, emotional, physical and social development of every child. Incorporating ideas from many different cultures, it places singing at the foundation of musical development. Authentic folk songs and masterpieces of classical music form the basis of the curriculum, in accordance with Kodály's belief that, for a child's education, "only the best is good enough." Kodály music education is known for its sequential development of skills, emphasis on music literacy, and strong choral programs, a natural flowering of a singing-based curriculum.
The Resource Center in the Kennedy Arts Center houses a folk song collection that has been declared an archive by the Library of Congress. This special collection, representing major and minor regional and ethnic groups in the United States, is uniquely organized according to pedagogical content and has proved invaluable to teachers who come to select songs for teaching musical skills through singing.
The curriculum is designed for music teachers, choral conductors, church musicians, and performers who seek an advanced degree emphasizing the Kodály approach to music education. The curriculum features core courses in pedagogy, solfège and musicianship, choral conducting, folk music, children's vocal pedagogy, and choral singing. Supervised student teaching placements are provided in surrounding Piedmont and Oakland public schools. Part-time choral conducting and teaching internships are often available for experienced students. Teacher credentialing is also available at HNU. Through generous funding by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Kodály Endowment fund enables the Kodály Center for Music Education to award fellowships to qualified students.
The course of study for the master's degree begins with the Kodály Summer Institute and continues sequentially through the academic year. The degree can be completed on a full- or part-time basis.