The Kodály Centre of London

Our centre began in 1992 and is based in North West London to provide training for adults who wish to become even better musicians or for those who wish to begin the study of music. Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967), the great Hungarian educator, composer and musician believed that music was everyone’s birth-right. He believed that music touched the soul and was one of the greatest achievements of mankind. He said those who rendered music accessible to as many people as possible are benefactors of humanity.

The Kodály Centre is run by David and his wife Yuko Vinden. They studied at the Kodály Institute in Kecskemét from 1981–1983 both gaining the Advanced Diploma. They married in 1984 and decided that their centre would be an important platform for them to carry out their work. Yuko is a fine piano teacher and accompanist as well as an excellent Kodály trainer. David spends most of his time lecturing, researching and editing scores teaching use. .

The approach of Kodály is based on singing because everyone has a voice, it is inbuilt and is best way of making a connection with our ‘inner hearing’, arguably the most important aspect of any musician.

The next issue is singing what? Kodály said that only the best was good enough. He set about collecting and saving Hungarian folksongs along with his compatriot Béla Bartók because folksongs have evolved over long period and embody the heart and soul of the people who sing them. In the training singing should be unaccompanied so that people can really hear themselves and develop finer tuning and intonation.

Classes have been developed at three levels (beginner, Intermediate and advanced levels) for students to participate in and details may be obtained through this website on request. David also gives and workshops in the UK and around the world. He has travelled extensively in America, Canada, Europe, Australia and Japan giving lectures, talks and demonstrations. For many years he was invited back to teach on the prestigious summer courses at the Kodály Institute.

He has collaborated with many fine educators such as Cyrilla Rowsell, Dr. Susan Brumfield (Texas Tech University) and Dr. Mónika Benedek (Tromsö University in Norway). He is a member of the Phoenix Collective which promotes excellence in Kodály Music education. He has co-authored ‘Jolly Music’ with Cyrilla Rowsell which provides primary school teachers with a well-planned music curriculum. He has also collaborated with Monika Benedek on a joint book entitled ‘Harmony through Relative Solfa’.
He has also had a very long and productive association with the Colourstrings movement created by Géza and Csaba Szilvay. This movement teaches string instruments to children who have first had a grounding in Kodály musicianship, and the song material they learned then goes on to provide the foundation of their instrumental work so the music and the experiences of it are in their heads already. David taught for many years at the Colourstrings centre in Roehampton. Instruments are an extension of our ability to sing.

David has built up an impressive collection of teaching material and teaching aids that can be purchased. Please see the section on ‘Materials to purchase’.

David has been a member, director and treasurer of the International Society for very many years. In 2016 he produced a collection of 150 canons in their original languages which is available. Profits from the sale of this collection go to help the I.K.S. in its essential work of promoting the work of Kodály around the world.

David has been a lecturer in Kodály Musicianship at Birmingham conservatoire, Trinity/Laban College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music. Before that he was director of Music at the Purcell School and has taught many of the talented young artists of today.

In his spare time David has researched many canons and is in the middle of editing many 100’s of examples by Padre Martini which have laid dormant in various European and American libraries. He has made collections by composers such as Cherubini, Haydn, Mozart, Salieri. He has also made a modern performing edition of Music Transalpina I. His collection of ‘Songs for Singing’ is a firm favourite with music teachers.
In 1918 David won the very prestigious Music Teacher life-time achievement Award sponsored by the Incorporated Society of Musicians for his work in music education.