Abstract 2 in English


György Kurtág Játékok (Games) – interplay between body and piano

This presentation reflects upon the pedagogical speciality of Játékok (Games) - a collection of piano music by the Hungarian composer György Kurtág. I will present those aspects, which Kurtág’s contemporary approach brings to teaching the piano, especially in the early stages. I also will present aspects of kinaesthesia and how they relate to Játékok and piano teaching in particular.

Játékok (Games, in English), composed by Hungarian György Kurtág, is a collection of short piano pieces which have been composed for pianists of all ages. The main pedagogical idea is to use the piano as a toy as well as to use the whole body for playing. In Játékok, Kurtág is using some modern piano techniques, such as different kinds of clusters and glissandi. With the Játékok pieces, children can use their whole body for playing right from the very beginning. (Beckles Willson 2007; Johnson 2002; Cavaye 1998; Haláz 1998.)

Kinaesthesia is a special type of sense which cannot be confused with the other five senses (sight, taste, hear, smell and touch). Kinaesthesia is largely referred to as a sense of movement. It is sensory information that is movement related and is available prior to action, during and after action (feedback). Kinaesthetic feedback is believed to be of central importance to the development of motor performance of any type. Kinaesthetic experience is the increasing acceptance of the body as a form of intelligence which is integrated into the mind. (Galvao & Kemp 1999.)

Many writers have emphasized the kinaesthetic nature of a young child’s music making (Burnard 1999; Cohen 1980; Davies 1992; Marsh 1995; Campbell 1998; Littleton 1998; Young 1999). The presence of multiple and integrated forms of bodily movement suggests the significance of a multi-sensory experience involving what they see, as well as what they hear and feel. A number of authors have proposed that the nature of musical experience, and a sense of bodily response, is inextricably linked to the dynamism between the sounding object and the bodily experience of music (Clifton 1983; Clarke & Davidson 1999).

The traditional way to approach playing a musical instrument involves the accurate execution of fine motor movements. These are highly dependent upon kinaesthetic information reaching the central nervous system (Galvao & Kemp 1999).  If the performance of music represents the integration of a physical and mental plan, then it is sensible to believe that kinaesthesia plays a fundamental role in this integration. There is both clinical and experimental evidence to suggest that the control and perception of movements is very weak when the kinaesthetic channel is not working adequately (Bahrick 1970, cited in Galvao & Kemp 1999; Autio 1997).

It is important to enhance the ways in which a student uses their kinaesthetic sense in their playing. The natural physiological development of children proceeds from large bodily movements, (gross motor skills), to tactile ones (fine motor skills) (Gallahue 1982; Gallahue & Ozmun 2006). For children approaching the piano with large movements, this is very natural. With natural movements, it is possible to become concerned with one’s kinaesthetic link between sound and movement (Galvao & Kemp 1999). This is helping children to develop kinaesthetic awareness.

Játékok as part of the teaching material can help to awaken the possibility for children to experience music and movement in a sensitive way. Finding quality for body movement can reinforce musical experience and improve musical hearing. Játékok is supplying the means and opportunities to enable a more kinaesthetic approach to teaching piano.

Junttu is a performing pianist and piano teacher; she also gives workshops about Játékok. She has studied for many years with Marta and György Kurtág and Valéria Szerwansky. György Kurtág has been an advisor on this Játékok project.

Keywords: kinaesthesia, play, Kurtág, Játékok, piano pedagogic, body

Kristiina Junttu

Rihlakuja 3

00920 Helsinki


Gsm: +358-41-5135 889

Email: kristiina.junttu@siba.fi

Sibelius-Academy, DocMus- Department of Doctoral Studies in Musical Performance and Research, Applied Study Program, Helsinki, Finland, with professor Marcus Castrén as the supervisor


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