The Oregon Repertory Singers Youth Choirs were established in 1994 to provide music education and choral performance opportunities for children (ages 4 to 18) in the greater Portland and SW Washington areas. We know that children who sing in choirs do better in school, make friends and build skills that benefit them throughout their lives. Our fun and engaging program uses the Kodaly method to teach students to sing what they see and write what they hear. The youth choirs, including four age appropriate co-ed choirs and two specialized groups, perform several entertaining concerts throughout the year.


The Kodaly approach is a philosophy of music education inspired and developed by Hungarian composer and educator Zoltan Kodaly (1882-1967).  All musicianship instructors and choir directors in the ORSYC program have gone through extensive training in this approach. Kodaly-based music educators share the belief that singing should be the foundation of children’s musical development.  Just as children develop language skills by hearing and imitating patterns in speech, they also learn to match pitch and sing in tune by hearing repeated melodic patterns prevalent in folk music and songs from early childhood. Kodaly methodology is a process which involves sequential layering of skills and concepts based on the developmental readiness of children at any given level.  Understanding rhythm develops through the use of movement activities and rhythmic syllables (ta, ti-ti, tika-tika, etc.); melodic and harmonic understanding develops through the use of solfege syllables (do, re, mi…) in the movable “do” system, interval training (aural) and hand signs (kinesthetic).

In ORSYC musicianship classes, students at all levels (Grades PK-12) have the opportunity to refine their skills in music theory and ear training in a unique format outside of the traditional choral rehearsal.  Based on singing alone, ORSYC students develop the ability to understand what they hear (through rhythmic and melodic dictation), then transfer that learning to sight-reading, writing, improvising and composing music.  Building these skills leads to greater musical independence for each singer which, in turn, leads to more effective choral rehearsals.

For more information, visit oake.org.