Dalcroze Musicianship Classes
Powerful, Interactive, & Dynamic Music Education
Integral Steps offers integrative education programming for children, teens, and adults. We foster balanced development by integrating physical, cognitive, and social-emotional learning.
Dalcroze music education is prominent in many of our programs. It is a teaching and learning philosophy with over a hundred-year history and widely practiced throughout the world. Through movement, social interaction, and improvisation, Dalcroze education provides comprehensive musicianship training which deepens and supports instrumental or vocal training.
In Dalcroze classes at Integral Steps, we intentionally balance the three centers of learning:
Watch a Dalcroze Class
This 5-minute video shows highlights of a demonstration class featuring students from one of our partner organizations, The Dalcroze School of the Rockies.
This class was given at the 2020 Dalcroze Society of America Conference. The students in the video are 11-13 years old and have multiple years of experience in the Rhythmic-Solfège sequence.
Dalcroze Classes during Covid 19
Integral Steps is currently offering its Dalcroze classes via live Zoom call as well as in-person. Because the principles of Dalcroze education include movement and active listening, they lend themselves particularly well to synchronous online learning. Our teachers have over ten years of experience teaching online and we have been teaching exclusively in this format since March 2020. We are engaged in continuous professional development to make our Zoom teaching engaging, interactive, and effective.
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Principles and Benefits of Dalcroze Education
Benefits of Dalcroze Education
- The Body is our Instrument. Students externalize beat, rhythm, meter, phrase, pitch, harmony, and form using a variety of gross and fine motor movements. Daily natural movements such as walking, running, skipping, lunging, and clapping are combined with students’ improvised movement ideas. We fine-tune the body’s coordination, control, balance, attention, flexibility, focus, spatial awareness, and emotional knowledge. When we invite meaningful participation of the body in music education we become more engaged, expressive, free, alive and whole. When a student applies the musicianship skills they learn in the Dalcroze classroom to their applied instrument, they bring a deep internalized understanding of music. They can focus on the technical challenges associated with their instrument because they have internalized the music through their body.
Covid 19 Note: In our live Zoom classes, the screen facilitates learning through the body. Learning doesn’t take place on screen. Rather, students hear musical cues through their speakers and see visual cues on their screen, and respond by moving throughout their space. Students then return to the screen to discuss and share their experiences with their peers. We also get creative with the frame of the camera, sometimes using it as a proscenium and creating movement sequences for us to enjoy together in “gallery view” in real time.
- Theory follows Practice. We explore new content by experiencing and ‘doing’ first. Then we follow it by analysis and cognition, including written notation and theoretical understanding. Doing leads to thinking. Both are important, but thinking, processing, analyzing, and synthesizing are all based on experience.
- Social Interaction. Students learn with and from their peers. Through partner and group games, they embody a variety of ensemble experiences from solos and duets to larger combinations. We build a community in which students support each other in learning, and where everyone feels that they can take risks to overcome and celebrate new challenges together.
Covid 19 Note: In our live Zoom classes, students interact with each other through watching classmates’ movements, creating movement ideas together as a group, discussing and practicing together in supervised breakout rooms, and sharing answers through a variety of methods. The teacher facilitates interpersonal communication and relationship-building among the students.
- Improvisation and Invention. Students improvise in a Dalcroze classroom to internalize musical topics and create a personal connection with the music. Creativity and group improvisation are embedded in the practice.
- Active Listening. Through games involving signals, changes, and surprises, active listening develops participation of mind and body. The mind can wander to the past or future, but the body is always present. Our bodies are the source of musical expression and communication, whether we are teaching or performing.
- Music is the Motivator, Stimulator, and Regulator. Music itself drives the learning in a Dalcroze classroom. Students are surrounded by music constantly - they listen and respond to improvised and composed music performed by the teacher or classmates, as well as respond to a rich variety of recordings from cultures around the world.
- Joyful Discovery-based Learning. Emile Jaques-Dalcroze said "Joy is the most powerful of mental stimuli." Learning should be pleasurable, unhurried and supported by encouragement from the teacher. Dalcroze education is a process-oriented program. By experiencing musical ideas in their body and with their peers, students discover the musical concept of the lesson rather than being told what it is. By inviting students’ imaginations and playfulness into the classroom, students enjoy the learning process, which has been proven to increase retention of the material.
Covid 19 Note: Students participate in our Zoom classes from their living rooms or bedrooms. We encourage flexibility and creative thinking as students adapt the movement instructions to fit their own space. They often invent new ways of showing and responding to the music and instructions in class using the objects and spaces available to them. Sometimes students find ways to participate from their yard or a park. We continuously emphasize safety and smart choices about taking care of themselves and their space.
Benefits of Dalcroze Education
- Improved intonation
- Finer listening capability
- Better ensemble skills
- Energetic rhythmic and metric vitality
- Development of inner hearing (internal audiation of music)
- Development of expressive and imaginative-music making
- A deepened understanding of musical analysis, nuance, and aesthetics as they relate to performance