by Author Montserrat

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An introduction perceptive on Tort’s approach from Mexico….

Latin America has a very wide, rich and diverse cultural and music traditions and opportunities, for example in Mexico, which favours focusing efforts on the creation of music education approaches for teaching and musical learning based on the ethnic music of our nations.

However this approach and thinking are not always present in our music teaching and other teaching methodologies, which, although historically have been effective,  do not contribute to the training of children and young people those components and traditions of their own local cultures. Learning and teaching that does not integrate a sense of belonging weakens the authentic development of the child, and without it, music loses its meaning as a means of emotional, social and educational integration.

In Mexico, the Ministry of Public Education (SEP) determines the curriculum for elementary, secondary, and teacher education for the entire Republic. According to the Education Development Program (SEP, 1994), music is not considered a subject within the national curriculum. Instead, it is viewed as an activity subject to the interests, capabilities, and resources of each individual school. Accordingly, only a few schools can afford to hire music teachers.

Cesar Tort Oropeza (1925-2015), a pianist, teacher, composer and Mexican musical educator, started from this principle of teaching through the generation of a national identity. He dedicated much of his life to promoting and fighting for the music education in Mexico. Tort believed that Latin American music education would benefit from developing a more indigenous approach to music education, rather than merely imitating pedagogical approaches from other cultures.

He was the creator of a method of musical education that today is applied to young children from 3 months to 13 years of old across Mexico. The value of the so-called "Tort Method" bases its teachings on the traditional children's lyric, regional folklore and the practice of this music on Mexican vernacular instruments. Developed in 1965, Cesar Tort developed his teaching approach using genres, modes, melodic traits, rhythmic patterns, cadences, and texts from Mexican folklore. He also encouraged the use of folk instruments in the classroom and designed models to be used in the music classroom. Tort’s method provides a teaching framework which provides a step by step progressive teaching method which covers from young children in their early years through to their teenage years.

Tort’s approaches and pedagogical principles are a contemporary of the New School for Social Research associated with John Dewey which was founded in New York in 1919. Tort defended his ideas from different areas, he founded the Artene Institute, Center for Pedagogical Children Music, created for the application of his Method and respecting one of its most important principles, that of the participation of any infant who wanted to develop the musical area of ​​their life without distinction or entrance exams; Music should be for everyone.


Film (in Spanish) on the Tort approach