Émile Jaques–Dalcroze (1865-1950) was a Swiss composer, improviser and music educator. He developed the Dalcroze Eurhythmics method in the early 20th century and it focuses on physical movement involving the whole body as a way of expressing and learning about music. This very creative approach to music education is useful for all ages.
In Dalcroze Eurhythmics, rhythm, structure and musicianship are understood through using movement. Eurhythmics means ‘good rhythm’ and the defining disciplines that are important in this training are Rhythmics (experiencing music through movement), Solfa (aural training based on the Kodály Method), and instrumental and vocal improvisation. Rhythmics involves the whole body and teaches the student to remember activities and feelings that will become especially useful later when they move onto singing and playing. Their aural perception and ability becomes especially acute as does their sense of rhythm and coordination. The pupil can also develop a larger capability for concentration and memory whilst training with this method.
The positive advantages of this system include increasing confidence, communication skills, the capacity to feel music through the whole body, and a greater facility for creativity and expression.
The benefits of this can be felt not just in music but throughout the arts where movement is important – dancing, acting, musical theatre, and the circus as well as an increasing appreciation of other arts such as painting and sculpture. If you would like to find out more about this very creative approach you will find lots more informtaion here
Extract from my book So You Want To Play The Piano? published by Alfred Music.
A children’s class in action below (photo courtesy of www.music.utsa.edu.com).
For much more information about how to practice piano repertoire, take a look at my two-book piano course, Play it again: PIANO (Schott). Covering a huge array of styles and genres, 49 progressive pieces from approximately Grade 1 – 8 level are featured, with at least two pages of practice tips for every piece. A convenient and beneficial course for students of any age, with or without a teacher, and it can also be used alongside piano examination syllabuses too.
You can find out more about my other piano publications and compositions here.