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The Precursory Model: ULWILA

Precursory Model of Barrier-Free Orchestral Work in Hungary


The basic concept of this ULWILA method similar to the pillars of the Kodály Approach because strives to make music available for everyone, use the nonmusical benefits of music consciously and learn music in community.  Similarly to Kodály , who studied the best methods of his time and did not want to establis a firm closed system, but a continulally evolving one ; we, professionals working in the field of  music education for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, try to continue our work in his spirit .


However the nonmusical effects of music education would help students living with disabilities to develop their social and intellectual skills Hourigan (2007) refers to the challenges that these students face in general music education. He points out that, “There is a staggering absence of special needs preparation in preservice music education. In addition, there is little research into the effects of special needs experiences for preservice teachers in music education” . In order to fill this gap in the field of special music education, in 1997, Anna Vető and her colleagues adapted the innovative approach worked out by Heinrich Ullrich, a German special needs therapist and music teacher. In 1997 an association was founded named after the famous quotation of Kodály: "Music Belongs to Everyone".

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ulwila-harangjatek.jpgThe key concept of his method called ULWILA is based on of the fact that the inability to read normal sheet music served as the greatest impediment for individuals struggling with intellectual challenges to make music collectively. Ullrich became the father of a new method of reading music with the help of a color scheme that replaces the 5 bar line system.


ulwila-sip.jpgEach tone of the diatonic scale has a different color. These colours, which appear in the score, are also indicated beside the strings, pipes and keys of the instruments. According to Ullrich’s method, the children can match a tone with its corresponding colour without even knowing the names of the colors (Ullrich  & Vető 1996).

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ulwila-kotta.jpgThe semitone is simply denoted by the two colors, which the tone is between.

The marking of the rhythm is also simple: The quarter note is a full circle, a half note is two circles interlinked, the whole note consists of four circles and an eighth note is a semicircle. The musical rest is marked by a blank hexagon. Further rhythm values denoted according to the above rules.

Instead of barlines the notation use signs for the strong beat.

It is also important to mention that the method uses only the colors that can be find in nature. The method use dark colours for lower and light for the upper tones. Therefore, the visual manifestation of the notation supports musical understanding. Skilled players after years of learning are able to play from a partiture.

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See one of the concerts of the Parafónia Orchestra:


One of the most important characteristics of this method is that it teaches music in groups. This is different from the western tradition of instrumental music education which is based on a method of instruction where musicians gain experience through individual lessons.


After working five years with this method and the Parafonia Orchestra I wanted my new clients living with severe disabilities to experience the joy of common shared music. My new clients could not use this method, I had to found something even less complicated...



Heinrich Ullrich worked out a comprehensive method including seven different area of music education, such as singing, music listening, instrumental performance, dance, improvisation, composition and making musical instruments. He is a founder of a special school, Tom Mutters Schule in Frankental, Germany, where the basic of the education is the everyday music lessons. His approach is similar to Kodály's conception about Singing Primary School.This study focuses on the color system and the orchestral music based on his method.


Examples from Hungary:

The ULWILA Method (In Germany HU's) become nationwide popular method of music education in the filed of special education. There are official trainings with national cerification (accreditation) where the method can be learnt.

Gábor Bajnok, the music teacher in "Dió" Elemenatry School and leader of the of the Dió Orchestra (consist of children living with intellectual disabilities) have been organizing yearly festival called "Spring Feast of Music" in which 10-12 special orchestra can meet and perform together in every spring since 2005.



Source of the pictures:

Henrich Ullrich'S  Method (Farbnoten - und Instrumentesysteme):

Parafónia Orchestra:



Andriska, Sz. (2011) Értelmileg akadályozott fiatalok zenetanulása, zenei vonatkozású integrációja (Thesis, Budapest, Liszt Ferenc University of Music

Bakos, A (2014): Zenetanulás színesen – a színes kotta módszer magyar nyelvű kiadványai . Parlando, 2014/3

Hourigan, R (2007) UPDATE: Applications of Research in Music Education. Fall/Winter2007, Vol. 26 Issue 1, p5-14. 10p.

Kövics, Á. (1997) A hangszeres zenélés, mint közösségi tevékenység az értelmileg akadályozottak nevelésében (Thesis Bárczi Gusztáv Gyógypedagógiai Tanárképző Főiskola, Budapest, Hungary).

Palojtay, D (2011): Színes hangok és lelki egészség: Értelmi sérült fiatalok zenei nevelésének mentálhigiénés vonatkozásai In: Embertárs, 9/3. pp. 243-257.

Palojtay, D (2010): Az értelmi sérült fiatalok zenei nevelésének mentálhigénés vonatkozásai (Thesis, Budapest, Semmelweis University)

Stifán, O (2012) Az én szivárványos zenekönyvem Kaposvár: Lililibri Kft.

Tiszai, L. (2004) Ulwilla módszer (Thesis. Berzsenyi Dániel Tanárképző Főiskola, Faculty of Music. Kaposvár, Hungary).

Ullrich, H- Vető, A (1996).: ULWILA színeskotta. Down Alapítvány 1996.

Vető, A (1993): Középsúlyos értelmi fogyatékosok zenei nevelése és terápiája egy német módszer alapján.(Thesis.Bárczi Gusztáv Gyógypedagógiai Tanárképző Főiskola, Budapest, Hungary.)

Suggested citation:

Tiszai, L. 2015, March 07. Consonante / The Precursory Model: ULWILA.