Émile Jaques-Dalcroze  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Émile Jaques-Dalcroze (July 6, 1865July 1, 1950), was a Swiss musician and music educator who developed eurhythmics, a method of learning and experiencing music through movement. (The influence of Eurhythmics can be seen in the Orff Schulwerk pedagogy, common in public school music education throughout the United States.)

The Dalcroze Method is a method of teaching musical concepts through movement. A variety of movement analogues are used for musical concepts, to develop an integrated and natural feel for musical expression. Turning the body into a well-tuned musical instrument, Dalcroze felt, was the best path to generating a solid, vibrant musical foundation. The Dalcroze Method consists of three equally important elements: Eurhythmics, solfege, and improvisation. Together, according to Dalcroze, they comprise the musicianship training of a complete musician. In an ideal approach, elements from each subject blend together, resulting in teaching rooted in creativity and movement.

Dalcroze began his career as a pedagogue at the Geneva Conservatory, where he taught harmony and solfege. It was in his solfege courses that he began testing many of his influential and revolutionary pedagogical ideas. By 1906, Dalcroze had begun giving public presentations of his method. In 1910, with the help of German industrialist Wolf Dohrn, Dalcroze founded a school at Hellerau, outside of Dresden, dedicated to the teaching of his method. With the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the school was abandoned.

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