what is eurhythmics?
“We do not only listen to music with our ears, it resonates in our whole body, in the brain and the heart”
–Emile Jaques-Dalcroze, Notes Bariolées
The Jaques-Dalcroze eurhythmics is an active musical pedagogy based on body movements. The student (child or professional) is brought to feel what he hears through moving his body to the sounds and rhythms played by the teacher.
The stimulation of his global motor skills allows him to experience his body as an instrument, whereby musicality is felt and transmitted.
Feeling music in the body is the pillar of this educational approach that combines the body and the mind. Eurhythmics reveals the natural links between body movement and musical movement thus facilitating artistic discovery and the learning of an instrument.
The Jaques-Dalcroze method accelerates in children, even if they are not aware of it, the foundations for listening, motor skills and useful social abilities in many areas beyond the musical learning process.
the «proven» lesson
The proven method for almost 150 years is based on a set of basic pedagogical principles.
Each new musical element especially in the field of rhythm is experienced through movement accompanied by a musical support. At first in an intuitive way. Then through playful exercises involving all forms of movement (run, walk, dance). The child gradually becomes aware of what he is doing.
- working on a theme
The same elements that are integrated through movement and music are then identified, named and illustrated. Teachers help establish strong links between practice and theory.
- choregraphy and games
New subjects are then consolidated through creative situations involving music, stories, games and various media used in the lessons.
The student is brought – by an active and fun way – to tame the elements that compose music, to analyse and to play them in space through musical and corporal improvisation.
The student is lead in his learning process from the known to the unknown, from easy to difficult. He develops faculties over the lessons on which he can rely on all his life:
- musicality, sense of rhythm and movement
- physical and mental well-being
- imagination and creativity
- social skills
- ease in public
- mental balance and relaxation
- intellectual and physical agility
The versatility of this musical pedagogy which involves both music and movement makes it a means of expression that offers various outlets: improvisation (from the youngest age), movement (expression dance, theatre) and instrument (piano, percussion).
Beyond its primary vocation (learning music), eurhythmics has greatly extended its scope in recent years since medical researchers have focused on its virtues. Studies have indeed shown that the practice of eurhythmics has been helpful in the preventive field by reducing by 50% the risk of falling among seniors. Thus seniors eurhythmics courses have met a growing success.
Eurhythmics is taught in more than 40 centers located in 20 countries on 4 continents.
Hundreds of people from abroad take part each year in visits, summer courses and international congresses organised by the Geneva center. Teachers of the Jaques-Dalcroze Institute will travel abroad for purposes of training and diffusion of the method.
The International Federation of eurhythmic teachers (www.fier.com) brings together teachers from around the world and plays an active role in exchanging local, national and international experiences.
ijd a few figures
- more than 2’600 students including 35 in HEM (bachelor, master, postgraduate)
- 32 courses in the programme
- 60 teachers
- 80 pianos
- 400 tambourines
- more than 300’000 children were introduced to music to this date
- 13 learning centers located throughout the region
the origins of eurhythmics
The first years of the twentieth century saw the development of Emile Jaques-Dalcroze’s pedagogical ideas whose aim was to reconcile musical and corporal expressions. In 1898 Jaques-Dalcroze wrote: “I am dreaming of a musical education where the body will play the role of intermediary between sounds and our thoughts and would become the direct instrument of our feelings”.
Jaques-Dalcroze devotes all his energy for this search of harmony between inner hearing, thought and gesture, this balance between emotion and action. His work led towards 1903 to the creation of the Rhythmic Gymnastics. Alone and then with the help of his disciples growing in numbers, he seeks, experiments and then codifies his ideas in a vast Jaques-Dalcroze method for the development of rhythmic instinct, auditory sense and tonal feeling.
Dalcrozienne ideas join an ideal shared by other experts willing to bring back life into education freeing it from the shackles of the past governed by personalities such as Edouard Claparède, Maria Montessori, Pierre de Coubertin, or Robert Baden Powell. At the same time the dance world also seeks to release the body and free it from the narrow conventions that govern classical ballet. Jaques-Dalcroze’s ideas are met with a most favorable reception.