Dr James Cuskelly OAM

Dr James Cuskelly is a celebrated music educator, lecturer, musician and mentor. He is internationally renowned for his knowledge of Kodály methodology and practice, choral conducting, his research into the importance of meaning in music and his deep involvement in community music. With his work as a music education lecturer and facilitator, James been influential in the lives and careers of thousands of school-aged to tertiary students and has mentored generations of music teachers, conductors, performers and lecturers. James’ commitment to the teaching and practice of music, as well as his mentorship of his students has improved musicianship globally.

James is extremely active in the advancement of Kodály methodology as the President of the International Kodály Society (2015 – present). He is respected for his inspiring keynote presentations at international, national and local music and music education symposia. He not only lectures in Kodály philosophy and pedagogy at numerous universities around the globe, but also runs the Summer School Music Program, alongside his partner Michael Muller, in Brisbane every year since 2009. The Summer School attracts expert lecturers from Hungary, England, Scotland, Malaysia, New Zealand, and America and offers a range of courses that allow musicians, students, educators and community members to engage in high-quality music-making in Jazz, Choral, Musical Theatre, Education, Instrumental and Opera programs. James has been instrumental in the development of courses that allow students to gain accreditation in the Australian Kodály Certificate and these are offered across Australia and the Asia Pacific region.

James embodies Zoltan Kodaly’s vision of allowing people of all abilities, ages and backgrounds to access the best quality music. His humbleness and ability to work with a diverse range of people is lauded, especially in the choral world. His work as the Director of the Queensland Kodály Choir, which is made up of members of the Brisbane community, is a testament of James’ ability to bring communities together.

Dr James Cuskelly is highly regarded for his contribution and service to the teaching profession, music education and for inspiring and mentoring many students and musicians to achieve performance and pedagogical excellence. He has transformed music education both locally and globally. Through his dedication, vision and inspirational teaching, he has empowered a new generation of musicians, music educators and those from non-musical backgrounds to understand the immense value of music in our everyday lives.

James’ conceptualisation of music education has had a profound impact both on music education practice and on teacher training. Demonstrating a rare nexus between theory and praxis, he has remained involved in all levels of teaching throughout his career. He remains abreast of current trends in education and is consistently able to incorporate such ideas into relevant and effective classroom practice. James has been able to formulate music education which honours the traditions of music and music education but which also ensures powerful discipline-specific learning for students. His approach to music education has retained the integrity of the art form through an insistence on rigour and artistry while clearly demonstrating highly engaging and stimulating pedagogical approaches. His teaching has been a significant inspiration for the development of Kodály-based music education throughout Australia and this influence is felt globally through his work in the International Kodály Society.

Honorary Life Members

Latest News

2022 Award Recipients Announcement

The Kodály Australia National Council were delighted to receive impressive applications and nominations for the 2022 Awards for Excellence in Australian Kodály-inspired Music Education. It was inspiring to see a high number of peer-nominations across each of the five categories. …
Read more

2022 President Update

I am humbled to be elected as President of the Kodály Music Education Institute of Australia. The President along with members of the National Council provide leadership and governance of our association. I look forward to working with the 2022-2024 Council members …
Read more

Season’s Greetings from Kodály Australia

On behalf of Kodály Australia, I write to thank you for your support this year and offer our season’s greetings. I trust your work has now wrapped up for the year, and you are celebrating the festive season with family …
Read more

2022 Awards for Excellence in Australian Kodály-inspired Music Education

It is an honour to introduce you to the 2022 Awards for Excellence in Australian Kodály-inspired Music Education. These awards aim to recognise members of our community who in the past two years have made an exceptional contribution and impact …
Read more

Identifying Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Members

Kodály Australia promotes and facilitates reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. As part of our journey in reconciliation, we have updated our membership registration to include the following voluntary questions: I’m an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Person: …
Read more