Dalcroze Rhythmic-Solfège General Description
Dalcroze's approach to music pedagogy is the only modern method that originated in teh Conservatory with adult pre-professional musicians. The method works the best when it is applied in tandem with an applied instrument so students can see how the skills they are learning the classroom function in real life at the instrument. Benefits of this education includes improved intonation, finer listening capability, better ensemble skills, energetic rhythmic and metric vitality, and finally a deepened understanding of musical analysis and nuance as it realtes to performance. This complete sequence will provide students with a solid and comprehensive music education, and students who complete the entire sequence will have the same competency of any college-level freshman conservatory student.
The Dalcroze Rhythmic-Solfège sequence will provide students with all of the necessary building blocks to achieve success at their own instrument. This process-oriented program maintains the Dalcrozian tenants of joy, discovery, and experiential education as its foundation, but begins to delve more deeply into musical subjects and literature. Assignments and homework will be a regular part of the curriculum, as well as a commitment from both parent and child to practice together at least 10 minutes each day, 5 days each week. This practice is essential for continued musical development and deep learning. It will also help establish good practice habits for when the child begins playing an instrument. This program is modeled after similar models in Western Europe. Though this sequence moves at a slower pace than most of the European schools, the goal is to provide thorough, comprehensive musicianship and not surface knowledge of the material.
In the romance-language cultures (France, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland along with many others), Solfège training is an essential part of a child’s musical development. No one learns an instrument without several years of Solfège instruction. This is because Solfège teaches a musician how to hear with her eyes and see with her ears. That is, the child learns to listen internally and imagine how the notes and rhythms that she hears would look like if they were written down. The converse is also true; she might see notes and rhythms on the page and know how they should sound without the aid of a piano or other instrument. These cultures recognize how important it is to develop the whole musician away from the instrument. Dalcroze’s philosophy of education comes in beautifully here: using the body as a means to understand these musical principles makes for a joyous, multifaceted, and profound learning experience. Since the Dalcroze method aims to treat the body as the instrument, when a child begins to apply the ideas she learns in the Dalcroze classroom to her applied instrument (piano, violin, flute etc.), the learning process is easier, and the only real challenges to overcome are the technical ones associated with her specific instrument. When learning is easier, meeting challenges is easier, and that translates into what every parent wants for their child’s musical learning experience: IT’S FUN!
Of course, this requires a commitment from parent and child alike, but the payoff is extraordinary! Who wouldn’t want this type of experience for their child? Music learning will always require diligent work; that component will never change. But work can be enjoyable, meeting challenges can be rewarding, and both children and parents will appreciate that kind of successful experience for the rest of their lives.
This information is the sole property of Jeremy Dittus. Any use of this information without his consent is strictly forbidden. July, 2010