Ukrainian music education system has a strong national background with special focus on choral singing. Music plays an important role at pre-school and primary/secondary school educational levels. There are two purposes of music education for children in Ukraine – 1) development of a harmonious and creative personality under the influence of Ukrainian and world musical art; 2) development of personality’s musical skills, formation of his/her aesthetic experience and knowledge about musical culture in general.
Pre-school Music Education
The main tasks of the pre-school music education in Ukraine are:
- Stimulation of children’s artistic activities, focusing of their attention towards the perception of beauty, refinement and harmony in the art as well as in everyday life;
- Formation of children’s emotional and axiological attitudes to the Ukrainian and worldwide music art;
- Development of children’s general musicianship as a combination of musical abilities (e.g. emotional response to music, musical perception and sense of rhythm, musical thinking, imagination and memory) and skills in creative performing of music pieces, improvisation (vocal, instrumental, dance).
In Ukrainian kindergardens children are practicing music at the music classes, during musical entertainments, celebrating events and holidays, and additionally – at hobby classes or musical studios. The wide part of recommended repertoire in the pre-school curriculum contains the Ukrainian folklore and pieces from national musical heritage – children learn songs about Ukraine, its spiritual and cultural values, about Homeland and mother tongue language and others patriotic things. Music is an important part of children’s everyday activities – nursery teachers are using the music when children are playing, drawing, doing exercises, practicing reading or writing etc.
Music classes in kindergardens take places twice a week and contain all types of music activities: listening, vocal warming-up, singing, creative assignments, dance, playing the elementary musical instruments, playing the musical didactic games. According to the educational traditions, singing plays the key role in pre-school music education in Ukraine. These activities teach children how to percept, perform and create music, and represent all kinds of arts where presence the music – vocal art, art of instrumental playing and choreography.
Musical entertainments (holidays, events, celebrating) are aimed to make the kids’ everyday life interesting and bright. They could be organized by adults for children or with children’s participation. For example, it could be the birthday parties, The Mother day celebration, the theater play with musical accompaniment, the festivals of talents, thematic events etc. In Ukraine, it is very common to celebrate the Autumn Day, The New Year Holiday, The Easter, The Women’s Day, The Kindergarten Leaving Party and others.
Music Education in Schools
The key tasks of aesthetic and musical education in school are to foster children’s interest towards music and develop their musical abilities, skills and artistic tastes.
“The Music art” is in a list of the compulsory subject in Ukrainian primary and secondary schools. According to the curriculum, children study music from 1st till 7th grade once for a week or once for two weeks (switches “The Music art” and “The Fine art” every second week). For two years (8th and 9th grades) pupils study the subject “Artistic culture” (once per week).
The basic musical activity in Ukrainian schools is choral singing. At the music lessons, children learn how to sing correctly and clearly in unison and in two voices; how to read the music at sight and sing it; how to analyze and interpret the content and structure of songs; how to identify the typical musical expressions while listening and performing the music pieces. Except of choral singing, Ukrainian pupils also practice – playing the musical instruments, – listening and analyzing the classical and contemporary academic music, – improvisations with songs and rhythms, – learning the elements of music theory.
It is common to organize vocal ensembles, chores, musical studious for pupils in public schools or in the leisure-time centers for after-school activities. Some of them financed by the government or school administrations, but sometimes they could be private and financed by contribution of participants (parents committees).
Nowadays in Ukraine are the new government strategies in reformation of the public schools in general and the aesthetic education particularly. There is a strong tendency for integrating and combining the learning of fine art and music art into the one subject, which will covers the knowledge about the arts in general.
Music Education in Music schools and Schools of Arts
Children could learn music deeper and get the special music education in music schools and schools of arts. They are coordinated by Ministry of Culture, against of public schools, which are under the control of Ministry of Education and Science.
Children come to music schools in the afternoon and spend here 3-4 hours during the special music classes. The curriculum for music schools is based on the individual learning approach. Pupils can choose if they would like to participate the vocal or instrumental classes of classical (piano, strings, wooden and brass wind instruments, percussion) and folk (bandura, accordion, domra, guitar, pipes etc.) musical instruments. In music schools and schools of arts pupils get the skills of solo performing and collective music-making in the orchestras and ensembles. The curriculum states the number of compulsory subjects such as choral singing, solfeggio and musical literature. The education terms in music schools and schools of arts range between five and seven years.
In four biggest cities in Ukraine (Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odessa and Lviv) are located the special music schools for the most talented children and youth. This professional music-oriented schools prepare future musicians, where pupils are studying and living (if they come from other cities). Students are studying there for eleven years and the curriculum combines educational standards of general public school as well as advanced music school.
- Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine (2016) Instruktyvno-metodychni rekomendatsii shchodo orhanizatsii roboty z muzychnoho vykhovannia ditei u doshkilnykh navchalnykh zakladakh [Methodological recommendation for organization of pedagogical environment for music education in kindergartens since]. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3m2TqBM0APKWkVqWk1SYS1qRms/view
- Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine (2018) Opysy novykh navchalnykh prohram v ukrainskykh shkolakh [Descriptions of new curricula in Ukrainian schools]. https://mon.gov.ua/ua/osvita/zagalna-serednya-osvita/navchalni-programi
- Kachur M. (2017) Metodychni rekomendatsii do zmistu, orhanizatsii ta provedennia urokiv muzychnoho mystetstva v ZOSh dlia studentiv dennoi ta zaochnoi form navchannia [Methodological recommendation for optimization of content, organization and teaching the music art n general schools for intramural and extramural students]. Mukachevo: MDU.
- Sidletska T. (2012) Muzychna osvita v Ukraini: stan, problemy, perspektyvy [Music Education in Ukraine: circumstances, problems, perspectives]. Aktualni problemy istorii, teorii ta praktyky khudozhnoi kultury, (29), 462-467. http://ir.lib.vntu.edu.ua/handle/123456789/13879