History of Bridges to Music

These wonderful classes were introduced originally to the North Sydney Community Centre by eminent early childhood music educator Dr Doreen Bridges. The program has proudly maintained the integrity of Dr Bridges’ work by continuing to closely observe the teaching philosophies of the great 20th Century music educators Emile Jaques-Dalcroze, Zoltan Kodaly and Carl Orff. It is constantly evolving, cleverly integrating good music education while the children are building the skills required for playing an instrument. It is held in high regard by many professional musicians who bring their children to the program.

In 2001 the program was expanded to facilitate the needs of children who attend school each day such as Montessori and school aged children. These classes continue to be held at Neutral Bay in the afternoon and continue to expand.

The Bridges to Music children’s Music and Movement and Pre Instrumental classes are designed to joyfully awaken all of the senses and help the child’s overall development while establishing music as part of their everyday life.

Doreen Bridges



Although we make many assumptions about music literacy, there are some widespread misconceptions concerning its nature, the processes of acquiring it, and its role in music education. One problem arises because we interpret the words ‘music literacy’ too literally! The dictionary defines literacy as ‘the ability to read and write’. Applied to language, this definition surely implies comprehension, so that what we read or write has some meaning, and is not simply a matter of pronouncing or copying words. Music literacy too involves reading and writing, using music’s symbolic system. But unless there is aural comprehension as well – the ability to form mental images of the sounds represented by music notation – we cannot claim to be musically literate. To read music we must hear the notes we see before (or even without) producing them vocally or on an instrument, and we should be able to reverse the process and notate the aural images we have in our minds.


Jacques Dalcroze


DALCROZE EURHYTHMICS, developed by the Swiss composer-educator-performer, Emile Jaques-Dalcroze, is a musical-pedagogical education based on the relationship between music and movement of the body. It involves the integration of rhythmic study through movement and ear training, singing and listening, and the exploration of musical language through improvisation.

The principal techniques are practical and experiential, but the training also draws on a body of aesthetic and educational theories. The goal of Dalcroze training is the development of an accomplished musician who is a performer and also a skilled teacher.


JAQUES-DALCROZE described his method for teaching music to children as follows:

“The object of my method is to establish an intimate correlation between the functions of our body and those of our mind, to make the child understand himself, to develop his faculties of concentration, energy and judgement, to make him conscious of his innate rhythms, to teach him to put into action that which he conceives and not to conceive anything which he cannot act upon. It seeks to make the child conscious of his personality, to lead him imperceptibly to be his natural self, to free himself from the conventions of fashion.”


Zoltan Kodaly

What is Kodály Teaching? By Darren Wicks


The Kodály concept of music education continues to attract great attention around the world, primarily because of its ability to offer children stimulating and enjoyable music lessons while at the same time helping them become musically literate and develop musical appreciation.

The Kodály concept is an approach to music education inspired by a Hungarian composer and educator, Zoltan Kodály (1882-1967). Its primary goals are to make music accessible to all people and to cultivate a love and appreciation for music that is supported by understanding and direct musical experience.

Throughout Kodály’s writings are the notions that a person cannot be complete without music and that music serves to develop a person on all levels – emotionally, spiritually and intellectually. Kodály believed that it was the right of every individual to be taught the basic elements of music. It was only natural, then, that music should be given a prominent place in the school curriculum alongside other disciplines.


Kodály believed that musical aptitude is a characteristic of every person and that, ideally, a music education should begin as early as possible in a person’s life – first at home and then later within the school curriculum.

He believed that children should first learn their own musical mother tongue – the folk songs of their own cultural heritage. It is through this musical mother tongue that the skills and concepts necessary to achieve musical literacy can be taught. As these skills develop, children are given the opportunity to study and perform art music of all periods and styles.


Further Information