Welcome to the First Thing Music project.

First Thing Music started out as a randomised control trial, (RCT), in 60 primary schools in the North East of England investigating the impact of Kodály based musical activities for Year One primary classes in 60 schools September ’18 to June ’19.  The project was funded by the Education Endowment Foundation and the Royal Society for the Arts and was administered by Tees Valley Music Service, in association with the British Kodály Academy.

The programme was initially designed for teachers of Year 1 classes participating in the trial and assumes no prior musical knowledge.  After completion of the first year in 2018/19, most had not completed the programme so we have reorganised what was originally 3 terms’ work into 3 stages : 1. Beat,     2. Beat and Rhythm, and     3. Beat Rhythm and Pitch, which we feel would not only  cover Key Stage 1 in the UK, that is Years 1 and 2, but would also be useful for nursery and reception classes- Early Years Foundation Stage, ages 3-5 years.

The website was intended to be a study aid in combination with 6 CPD training days throughout the year which involved a lot of practical experience and musical interaction. Though we made the first term’s worth of  material on this site freely available, the rest is now password protected for those who undertake the necessary CPD as we feel it’s important it is used sequentially. We are are non profit. Our aim is to ensure every primary teacher has the skills to sing simple songs to the youngest children, which in turn will result in a general strengthening of music in their schools.

If you feel confident to move on yourself without support please contact us (form below) or contact the British Kodály Academy  for details of training courses or for teachers in your area who might be able to help you, or the International Kodály Society around the world.  If you are in North East England, Tees Valley Music services are planning courses so contact them direct.  (Lindsay Ibbotson, the Project Lead, will also be very happy to help with any queries – please fill in the form below.

It is important to tackle the songs and subjects sequentially as they are carefully chosen to follow on from each other over the year, working with the underlying pedagogy.   The  Teacher Perspective June 2019  video gives some experiences of participating teachers at the end of the year.


Future plans are to expand the materials, both to cover musical preparation for the younger children, and also to develop skills in the older children in Year2.

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If you are interested in learning more about these techniques and methods please send us your email on this form and we'll get back to you.
The material on the site is copyright (see here for details).