Pamela Burton is highly regarded and well known for her pioneering work in Kodály music education in Queensland during the 1970’s and 1980’s. During her time as Lecturer in Music at the Kelvin Grove College of Advanced Education (CAE) she wrote the monograph ‘Creative Music the Kodály Way’ which became a prescribed text for students studying Music Education courses at the college. Pamela’s dedication to the Kodály philosophy was highly influential for students studying full time Music Teaching Diploma courses at Kelvin Grove CAE as well as the many students studying part time at Kelvin Grove as part of their Bachelor of Music Education courses at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music.
Pamela’s primary, secondary and tertiary music education had been, although unknown to her at the time, Kodály based. In 1975 Pamela commenced study at the Holy Names College in San Francisco where she found she already had the basic ‘tools’ for Kodály music education – solfege and a large repertoire of national folk songs.
In 1976 Pam was one of six Queensland teachers who attended the Kodály Education Institute of Australia (KEIA) Summer School in Bathurst, NSW. By the end of the seminar this group had agreed to form a branch of KEIA in Queensland. This pioneering group worked hard over the following five months to write newsletters and hold workshops to encourage teachers, parents and students to become members. The Queensland branch was officially opened in July 1976 with Deanna Hoermann in attendance as the principal guest, along with the Hungarian Consul and Mr and Mrs Nagy from Sydney. Pam was the founding President.
Kevin Siddell, then Supervisor of Music at the Qld Department of Education, was inspired to travel to Sydney to observe Deanna Hoermann’s program at Northmead School. A number of pioneering Queensland teachers began to incorporate Kodály principles into their school music programs at this time. Many of these teachers went on to play influential roles in the wider establishment of Kodály music education in Qld.
Pamela returned to the USA to complete her studies at Holy Names in 1977/1978. Her legacy as a key figure in the establishment of Kodály music education in Queensland is still in evidence today.
Sources: KMEIA Bulletin 1998 and ‘Creative Music the Kodály Way’ by Pamela Burton revised edition 1983.
Author: Katharine Finlayson
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