I recently took an ocupacional therapy workshop. When we were entering the classroom a fellow teacher asked me what interest could I have in this activity, being a music teacher… So I did it again, I haven’t been clear about what I do in class with my co-workers. They think music class is about music (who wouldn’t) and only music. But so much happens in a music class other than music, specially in a Dalcroze music class.
Music teachers only play games.
Dalcroze is an education in music and through music, we use music to develop different aspects of the human being, we use it to connect our intellect and our body, to become aware of our own rhythm and of our social and physical surroundings. And we study these concepts and relations through music, sometimes without even talking about what we are actually doing. It would look as “just a game”.
Looking into a class (the first 10 minutes)
In a class with first graders, for example, my first exercise would be (and these are children I’ve worked with for at least 5 weeks) to sing our “hello song”, 3 or 4 times, changing partners every time, and after this cycle ends we make a circle.
1. Singing our “Hello song” helps us get underway, we sing in pairs, then change partners while I play a scale and then, sing the song again. I can play the scale in different tonalities (transposition) and changing partners helps everyone feel integrated. The song is performed using different movements which help to remember the lyrics and also illustrates the rhythm of the song. So we are tapping into affective and muscular memory.
2. To change partners is to acknowledge others, not only our close friends, to change partners means we can work with everyone, and it gives everyone a chance to do it alone.
3. The circle is another time for “social gathering”, everyone takes a place without talking about it. The teacher doesn’t make the circle, so they have to figure it out by themselves. And that is a great skill to learn.
These are only 3 aspects of a class, and it takes place in less than 8 minutes. So in a 50 minutes clases, there’s a lot going on. Music class is so much more than music, in music class we learn about ourselves, about others and our relationships.
In short What happens in music class, resonates in our whole life