Piroska Varga

“I have known Micheál McCarthy for close to three decades now. I have observed his professional development as a teacher and performer over this time. During my seven years as a lecturer at the Canberra School of Music, we worked quite closely on a range of projects. Mr McCarthy was a guest lecturer many times and worked with my students in Canberra – this allowed me many opportunities to observe his work with students of all ages, from Primary school to Tertiary students, as well as choirs.

I was fortunate enough to visit his students at the University of Tasmania and later, at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, as well as at Cottage School of Music.

Mr McCarthy is one of the leading representatives of the Kodály Method and the Kodály Music Education here in Australia. As a Master Teacher of the Zoltán Kodály Music Primary, Secondary and Professional Conservatory in Kecskemét, and as a teacher at the Zoltan Kodaly Music Pedagogical Institute of Music, I followed Mr McCarthy’s journey through the period of his studies in Hungary and on through his career in Australia.

Mr McCarthy is one of those rare teachers that is capable of working with any age, always inspiring them to produce their best in any conditions. He is very consistent, demanding in the best sense, while his approach is musical, methodological, and at all times at a high standard – and he does this with a great, twisted sense of humour, and with the greatest care for the well-being of his students. A unique combination.

His dedication to the job that he has held for many years as a university lecturer in order to prepare the next generation of musicians, demands the greatest respect.

And yet, the dedication to work with children, so that there would be an upcoming, talented flock to fill university places, so that they might become professional musicians – or just simply, music lovers – is where the secret is.

Mr McCarthy’s understanding of the whole system in music education, from the youngest to the oldest gives him a unique view of what is happening within the music education system, and what has to be done to get from point A to B. There are very few lecturers and musicians who are both capable, and committed to do what he does. And he does it with flair, with high standards, with amazing results, with love, care and a great sense of humour. He is truly, one of a kind as a teacher, musician, performer and a human being.

I am honoured to call him my colleague.”

Piroska Varga, Former Master-Teacher of the Zoltán Kodály Music School, Kecskemét, Hungary, and former lecturer at the Zoltán Kodály Pedagogical Institute of Music, Hungary, the Canberra School of Music, ANU, and the University of Melbourne.

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