“Monte, I have a question for you. Presently in my Lecturer’s Elementary Music unit, we've been learning about Jaques-Dalcroze, and much of it sounds like concepts and techniques you used in your [Northwestern College] Symphonic Band rehearsals. I am really interested in learning about Dalcroze techniques, and how they relate to rehearsal environments. Do you know of any good resources that exist relating to this? Also, did you incorporate Dalcroze technique into your teaching/learning "process," and what did it look like?”
I was fortunate to have three colleagues with whom to work when I first arrived at the University of Tasmania in 1984. Two of my colleagues were classroom music educators who incorporated a mix of Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Alexander technique as well as Orff and Kodaly methods in their classroom music approach. The other colleague was a drama lecturer. He introduced me to the work of Rudolf Laban, which he employed in developing dramatic movement and body language. I gradually began to understand the rich benefits to be gained by implementing these men’s philosophy and teaching strategies connecting music and movement. The more I reflected on the implications of incorporating expressive movement as a way of enhancing non verbal communication, the more I became convinced of the effectiveness of integrating these strategies into my conducting/teaching practice, rehearsal regime and my private studio teaching.
Over the years I have come to value the usefulness of Dalcroze Eurhythmics concepts in communicating music expression in both my rehearsals and music lessons. After all, music often inspires and defines both physical and aural movement, much in the same way that Laban concepts of balance and 'Centres of Effort' can express, reflect and define motion and movement. As an ensemble conductor, I employ movement and physical gesture to reflect, articulate and communicate musical interpretation. In fact, I find that ensemble members more effectively connect with the expressive nature of music as it becomes more internalised and linked to their response to, and understanding of movement (‘felt’). Consequently the use of Dacroze Eurythmics can provide a powerful tool in assisting the development of emotional response in timing, internal pulse, space and physical shape. Of course, all of these things are interrelated with one another.
My study and use of Dacroze Eurythmics techniques has also influenced much of my understanding and use of the “Alternative Rehearsal Techniques” of Ed Lisk, which I continue to employ extensively in every rehearsal. Dalcorze Eurhythmics, along with my understanding of Laban’s descriptive ‘Centres of Effort’ have greatly influenced my use of expressive gesture and the importance of internal pulse, which generally leads to increased musical freedom of expression for my ensembles.
Further to my above comments on Dalcroze, one of its most important implications to rehearsal strategy is the nature of 'feeling' the sensation of ‘time and silence’. Dalcroze exercises can prove very useful in assisting our ensembles in learning to 'feel and measure' space and time. Music by its very nature of being in both ‘time and space’ consumes time and space through body motion, such as experiencing the sensation of playing asymmetric meters like 5/8 & 7/8. Thus, 2/8 'feels' different from say, 3/8. We intuitively know that it is much better to 'feel' rhythm, as well as in knowing how to count it. Counting is about the learning strategy we apply to understand a particular rhythm pattern with which we are unfamiliar. However, 'feeling' the rhythm is about how we practice, finally mastering the rhythmic passage, allowing us to now focus entirely on the musical line/phrase shape, without being distracted by its construction. For example, on many occasions in the past I have had younger ensembles step meters/rhythmic passages to great effect, such as in the 3rd movement in the Chobanian Armenian Dances, which uses this meter (2+2+2+3), or the crotchet-quaver figures in "Robin Hood, Prince of Thiefs".
Through consistent, mindful repetition, slow tempi and attention to specific detail we eventually have enough mentally and kinetically stored rhythmic material, enabling us to rely on the 'feel' of a rhythmic pattern instead of how to count or perform the rhythm. That is why each and every rehearsal should include a component on what, how and why to practice at home (i.e. rhythmic patterns, scales/arpeggios and technical/expressive etudes) by modelling the practice process and demonstrating successful outcomes in our rehearsals. Without these basic building blocks, the Dalcroze ideas cannot operate effectively.
Please keep in mind that it will be up to you to make the essential and valuable connections between the classroom music experience, the instrumental music rehearsals and individual music lessons.
Here are some other great reads: "Tone Deaf and All Thumbs", Frank Wilson; “Nurtured By Love", Shinichi Suzuki; "Sound in Motion", David McGill; and "Note Grouping", James Thurmond; “Master your Mind Master Your Instrument: Brass Wind Artistry”, Severson and McDunn; “Intelligent Music Teaching”, Robert Duke; “The Musical Mind of the Creative Director”, Ed Lisk. I hope that these resources will prove, in some small way helpful for you.
I include a small definition and bibliography of some Dalcroze resources. To my current understanding, the work of Dalcroze is not well known in instrumental music education circles, although it does have a strong following amongst some classroom music teachers. I also find that it is much the same with the work of Daniel Kohut, Ed Lisk and Rudolf Laban. Hopefully, instrumental music teachers will become more familiar with these men’s work and be able to research and implement the attendant applications towards improving the delivery of instrumental music education.
Here follows some further information on Emile Jaques Dalcroze downloaded from the site below, http://musiced.about.com/od/lessonplans/p/dalcroze.htm
The method of ‘eurhythmics’ was developed by Emile Jaques-Dalcroze, a Swiss composer, music educator and music theorist, who studied with Gabriel Fauré, Mathis Lussy and Anton Bruckner.
The Dalcroze method, also known as Dalcroze Eurhythmics, is another approach music educators use to foster music appreciation, ear training and improvisation towards improving musical abilities. In this method, the body is the main instrument. Students learn to listen to the rhythm of a music piece and express what they hear through physical movement. Simply put, this approach connects music, movement, mind, and body.
Dalcroze was born on July 6, 1865, in Vienna, Austria. He became a professor of harmony at the Geneva Conservatory in 1892; by which time he started developing his method of teaching rhythm through movement known as eurhythmics. He founded a school in Hellerau, Germany (later moved to Laxenburg) in 1910, and another school in Geneva in 1914, where students learned using his method. Dalcroze died on July 1, 1950, in Geneva, Switzerland. Several of his students, such as ballet teacher Dame Marie Rambert, used eurhythmics and became influential in the development of dance and contemporary ballet during the 20th century.
Eurhythmics (Greek for "good rhythm") - Musical expression is experienced through movement aiding the development of musical skills through kinetic exercises. Students experience both rhythm and structure through listening to music while expressing what they hear through spontaneous bodily movement. For example, using stepping and clapping to represent note values and rhythms.
The method also employs the use of Solfeggio to assist and develop ear-training and sight-singing skills. Improvisation is used to stimulate creativity while freeing students from inhibition in musical expression. The improvisation exercises can also involve the use of instruments, movement or voice.
Although it is generally referred to as a method, there is no set curriculum. Dalcroze himself didn't like his approach to be labeled as a method. Hence, each teacher uses a different approach based on his/her interests; training and skills, while keeping in mind the age, culture, location and needs of students.
When employed the Dalcroze Method can aid in further developing imagination, creative expression, coordination, flexibility, concentration, inner hearing, music appreciation and understanding and practical application of musical concepts.
There are several training opportunities available to teach this method.
• Dalcroze Certificate - Requires a Bachelor's degree in Music; may teach children.
• Dalcroze License - Requires a Masters degree in Music; may teach adults.
• Diploma - Given after completing studies from the Jaques-Dalcroze Institute in Geneva,
• Switzerland. Holders of this diploma may teach other teachers and award certifications.
Essential Dalcroze Books:
• Méthode Jaques-Dalcroze (5 parts, 1907–14)
• Eurythmics, Art and Education
• Rhythm, Music and Education - Compare Prices
• Dalcroze Eurhythmics in Today's Music Classroom - Compare Prices
• Rhythm - Compare Prices
• Songs Without Yawns - Compare Prices
• Rhythm and Movement - Compare Prices
• The Eurhythmics of Jaques-Dalcroze - Compare Prices
Dalcroze Today: an education through and into music
Clarendon Press, Oxford, UK, 1991
The Unfolding Human Potential: Dalcroze Eurhythmics
Editions Papillon, Geneva, 2004.
Comparing Dalcroze, Orff and Kodaly: choosing your approach to teaching music. CFORP, Vanier - Ontario, 1995
Music, Movement and the Young Child
Australasian Publishing Company, Sydney, 1949 (revised ed. 1959) out of print but often available second-hand.
Rhythm, Music & Education
Dalcroze Society (UK), London, 1921 (reprint 1980).
Beth LANDIS & Polly CARDER:
The Eclectic Curriculum in American Music Education: contributions of Dalcroze, Kodaly and Orff
Music Educators National Conference, Washington D.C., 1972.
Virginia Hoge MEAD:
Dalcroze Eurhythmics in Today's Music Classroom
Schott, New York, 1994.
Joan POPE (ed.):
Heather Gell's Thoughts on Dalcroze Eurhythmics & Music Through Movement
CIRCME, University of WA (Perth), 1996
Julia SCHNEBLY-BLACK & Stephen F. MOORE:
The Rhythm Inside: connecting body, mind and spirit -- Dalcroze Eurhythmics
Rudra Press, Portland - Oregon, 1997
Teaching Music in Rhythmic Lessons -- Theory & Practice of the Dalcroze Method
(Private publication, printed in Israel)
Dalcroze Handbook: Principles and Guidelines for Teaching Eurythmics.
The Dalcroze Society (UK), London, 1984