Dalcroze Eurhythmics for Young Children
Eurhythmics courses are high-energy, exciting, and fun! Though the following list of topics are very serious and thoughtfully put together by our faculty, the students experience music joyfully from the inside out. Aimed for students from ages 4-7, our process oriented Eurhythmics classes will generally take two years to cover all of the material we hope to address. Globally the program aims for the following:
- prepare the body as an instrument by increasing coordination, control, balance, attention, flexibility, focus, spatial awareness, emotional knowledge, and vocal precision
- increase our students' capacity for independent and cooperative learning
- support a joyous and discovery-based environment for music education
- provide a deep and solid base for students to successfully enter the Dalcroze Rhythmic-Solfège sequence and perhaps begin instrumental study
Dalcroze Eurhythmics Goals and Objectives
Specifically, the Eurhythmics program will address a host of both corporal (bodily) and musical subject material over the course of two years. Occasional fun sheets to complete with parents along with song literature will reinforce the ideas learned each week. These various subjects will include:
1. Appropriate knowledge of body parts and joints (head, trunk, hips, limbs etc.):
- how different parts of our bodies move, their range of motion, and their dynamic qualities
- basic independence of the limbs (move one limb while the others are stationary)
- basic large and small motor skills
2. Spatial awareness: both physical space and musical space.
- Spatial and Movement Qualities: above and below, over and under, side to side, up and down, closed and open, curvy and straight, forward and backward, right and left, near and far, center and periphery, around and through, away and toward, beginning and end, front and back, jagged and smooth, heavy and light, thick and thin, opposites, contrary motion, crossing the midline, etc.
Basic shapes with the body: lines, circles, squares, triangles, rectangles, ovals, etc.
3. Various types of locomotor skills: movement across the floor on one's feet, back, stomach, side, knees, hands and knees (crawling), hands and feet (bear walk, crab walk), etc.
- Rolling, crawling, sliding, creeping, growing, collapsing, sneaking, walking, marching, trotting, jogging, gliding, running, tip-toe walking/running, stomping, lunging, leaping, jumping, hopping, galloping, chassé, skipping, swinging, swaying, spinning, turning, shaking, wiggling, etc.
- All of the appropriate musical and emotional connotations from moving in these different ways.
4. Musical, specific, and independent use of different materials: hoops, bean bags, ropes, scarves, ribbons, batons, balloons, balls of various sizes (kicking, tossing, bouncing, rolling), etc.
5. Musical, specific, and independent use of different instruments: claves, drums, maracas, xylophones, etc.
6. Cooperative learning and beginning ensemble skills:
Moving, dancing, clapping, sharing, improvising, singing with a partner or small group.
- Exact mirroring of gestures provided by the teacher or other students in the class.
- These actions require the students to learn flexibility, adaptability, and compliance in addition to coordination, intention, balance, and control.
7. Solo work: working or performing solo develops confidence, assurance, and independence.
8. Imagination: gestures, images, story-telling, and programmatic music (music that tells a story) helps to encourage, stimulate, and develop the child's imagination.
9. Pitch matching and identification: developing the ear for accurate intonation and healthy singing.
- Students will learn to sing and identify scale degrees 1-5 in major and play them on a xylophone.
- Basic echo canons and folk songs.
- Corporal embodiment of pitches in physical space.
- Identification of major and minor tonal landscapes.
10. Rhythmic, metric, and expression knowledge: moving, listening, singing, analyzing, writing, improvising, and deep understanding of the following musical concepts in both literal and symbolic notation.
- Note values: Quarter Notes, Eighths, Half Notes, Dotted Half Notes
- Simple meters of 2, 3, and 4
- Phrases, musical gesture, slurs, form
- Musical texture (polyphony versus melody)
- Expression symbols and their musical meanings: for example: Forte and Piano