Dalcroze™ Rhythmic-Solfege for Older Students
Dalcroze™'s approach to music pedagogy is the only modern method that originated in the Conservatory with adult pre-professional musicians. The method works best when it is applied in tandem with an applied instrument so that students can see how the skills they are learning in the Dalcroze™ 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 a deepened understanding of musical analysis, nuance, and aesthetics as it relates to performance. The complete progression of five levels 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. In these cultures, no one learns how to play an instrument without several years of Solfège instruction at the same time. This is because Solfège teaches musicians how to hear with their eyes and see with their ears. That is, students learn to listen internally and imagine how the notes and rhythms that they hear would look like if these items were written down. The converse is also true; students might see notes and rhythms on the page and know how they should sound without the aid of a piano or other instrument. Countries that know the value of Solfège training 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.
How is the Rhythmic-Solfège™ Program Different from the Eurhythmics™ Program?
The Rhythmic-Solfège™ courses will function similarly to the Eurhythmics™ courses, with a few prominent changes:
- There is a low student to teacher ratio for these courses to ensure that the children will receive the attention they deserve and maximize their progress through the sequence.
- Note-reading on the staff, sight-singing, and rhythm reading will be specifically addressed each week.
- Students will learn to sing with the names of the notes and the pitch function (numbers).
- Students will bring their own personal metallophone to class each week. (This will be a one-time purchase by the parents; we will provide the metallophones to make it convenient for you!) There will be assignments each week that will involve the children learning songs to play on their instrument and to sing while they play. Parents who don't read music can learn right along with their child!
- At the end of the year, there will be juried exams to advance into the next Rhythmic-Solfège™ level. These exams are to give the child and parent a tangible goal and to ensure quality in the program. All components to the exams will be given at least 2 months prior to the exam date so that everyone is prepared and the experience is a successful and rewarding one. I want students to feel ready to advance and not feel overwhelmed. If, per chance, a student may not be ready to advance, the decision to not take an exam will be made together with the Director, parent, and student.
- Those students who successfully complete the entire sequence will receive a Solfège Diploma from the Dalcroze School of the Rockies™, and will be ready for any freshman-year university/conservatory solfège program.
Rhythmic-Solfège™ Goals and Objectives
The following documents represent a basic summary of each year of Rhythmic-Solfège™. All of the elements begun in the Eurhythmics™ program will be continued here, so it is recommended that students have at least one year of Eurhythmics™ before entering the program, although this is not a requirement. For older students who already have musical experience and would like to enter in the sequence, an audition will be scheduled to determine his/her level.
The global goals of the Dalcroze™ Rhythmic-Solfège™ program are as follows:
- The body is the primary instrument, and throughout the sequence we will aim to fine tune its coordination, control, balance, attention, flexibility, focus, spatial awareness, and emotional knowledge.
- Musically, we will address the essentials of performance through the body:Increase our students' capacity for independent and cooperative learning.
- Rhythmic precision and metric vitality
- Internal listening and continued development of the ear
- Emphasis on good intonation and in-tune singing
- Expressive and imaginative music-making
- Support a joyous and discovery-based environment for music education.
- Continue to develop the relationship between the body, the mind, and the spirit as it relates to instrumental study and performance.
The Summaries of Musical Goals for the Rhythmic-Solfège™ sequence do not represent a comprehensive list of all the subject material students will cover throughout the year, nor do they represent any of the corporal, expressive, or imaginative studies that will take place in the classes. Since the focus of this program is musically driven, we have only notated the main objectives that each year will cover so that parents and students can know what level of musicianship is expected at each level. The ages are approximate, especially as the subject material becomes more difficult. However, proper placement is important, as 7 year-old children learn differently than 11 year-old children, both corporally and mentally.
If you are unsure about your child's appropriate level, would like to schedule an audition, or have general questions, please reach out to us. We'd love to hear from you.