Dalcroze Eurhythmics in the Piano Studio: Teaching Rhythm Through Movement

December 7, 2011 / By: Andrea Olson

Emile Jaques-Dalcroze developed a pedagogical model for teaching musicianship in the early 20th century that helps students think about and learn music through Eurhythmics (movement), Solfège, and Improvisation exercises. The Dalcroze approach to musicianship is one that empowers students to not only skillfully perform and read music, but integrates the ear, body and brain in a deeper understanding of music’s communicative and expressive power. Dalcroze’s goal was to create well-rounded, self-expressive musicians capable of skillfully improvising, composing and freely interpreting music.

This paper focuses on the benefits and applications of Dalcroze Eurhythmics to the piano studio, with a focus on using Eurhythmics to address rhythmic problems. The researcher developed a set of Eurhythmics lesson plans that teach basic rhythm patterns to small groups of beginning and intermediate-level elementary piano students. The researcher speaks to the challenges of incorporating Dalcroze’s teaching techniques into a piano studio and makes recommendations for future collaboration between the Dalcroze community and the field of piano pedagogy.