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Kenneth L. Meints


Presented to the Faculty of

The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska

In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements

For the Degree of Doctor of Musical Arts

Major: Music

Under the Supervision of Professor Tyler White

Lincoln, Nebraska

June 2014
UMI Number: 3628246

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Kenneth L. Meints, D.M.A.

University of Nebraska, 2014

Advisor: Tyler White

Knowledge of the score, the representation of the sonorous ideal set forth by the

composer, is the foundation for any performer’s interpretation and realization of intent.

Of the many factors which inform this soundscape (medium, historical context,

biography, extra-musical associations, etc.), aspects of inner hearing and audiation are the

most crucial to building interpretation, yet are often the most underdeveloped and

overlooked in the training of musicians. The abilities to manipulate the parameters of

sound within the confines of imagination, to aurally decode musical notation and then to

physically manifest them are necessary skills for all performers of music. For the

conductor who does not have the benefit of regular access to his/her instrument (the

ensemble) for actualized practice, it is all the more critical to cultivate these abilities.

Several pioneers of music education have addressed the development of aural

acuity and its manifestations in musicians at various stages of training, including: Emile

Jaques-Dalcroze, Zoltan Kodaly, Carl Orff, and Edwin Gordon. Examination of the value

and benefits of these approaches in music curricula in higher education continue to be

explored in the context of musicianship training. The present discussion will make

particular reference to the current adoption of the theories and methodologies of Emile

Jacques-Dalcroze in both the overall training of musicians at the post-secondary level,

and more specifically, the training of future music educators as ensemble conductors. The

value of Dalcroze’s central philosophy concerning the connection of mind and body in

the building and expression of musical cognition will be addressed in the context of

current and historical views of ideal conductor attributes. Recommendations for

implementation of Dalcrozian concepts in the overall undergraduate music curriculum

and conducting-specific courses at Peru State College will serve as a template for

practical application of these principles.


I would like to thank my family for all their moral and emotional support in the course of
pursuing this degree. My wife, Ruth has been the force behind both beginning and finally
getting my program back on track and completed.

Thanks also to Glenn Nierman for facilitating the many moving parts that needed to be
set in motion. His helpful and kind spirit is always in evidence as he makes things run
smoothly behind the scenes.

I would also like to thank the members of my committee for their thorough examination
of my work and the invaluable guidance they have provided in my program: Carolyn
Barber for her challenging of assumptions; Christopher Marks for his thoughtful insights;
and Stephen Behrendt for his unique perspectives

And finally, I would like to thank Tyler White for sharing the depth and breadth of his
knowledge and experience in the field of orchestral conducting and beyond. The diversity
of his lines of inquiry and his ability to provide context to the interpretative choices faced
on the podium have challenged me to grow in all facets of my musicianship.
Table of Contents

Acknowledgements iii

Introduction to the Study 1

CHAPTER ONE: Demands of the Podium 2

Issue 1: Rhythmic Perception; Psychomotor Connections 2

Issue 2: Tonal Perception; Visual, Aural and Inner 3

Issue 3: Physical Expression; Bodily Manifestation of Musical Content 4

CHAPTER TWO: Conducting Literature Review 6

Adam Carse: Orchestral Conducting (1929/1971) 7

Hermann Scherchen: Handbook of Conducting (1933) 8

Max Rudolf: The Grammar of Conducting (1950/1994) 10

Emil Kahn: Conducting (1965) 11

Elizabeth Green/Mark Gibson: The Modern Conductor (2004) 14

Elizabeth Green/Nicolai Malko: The Conductor’s Score (1975) 14

Hugo D. Marple: The Beginning Conductor (1972) 17

Frederik Prausnitz: Score and Podium: A Complete Guide to Conducting (1983) 20

Gunther Schuller: The Compleat Conductor (1997) 21

Workbook Texts Designed for Beginning Conducting as a Methods Course 24

Gerry Long: The Conductor’s Workshop (1977)

Donald Hunsburger: The Art of Conducting (1992)

Joseph Labuta: Basic Conducting Techniques (1995)

Kenneth Phillips: Basic Techniques of Conducting (1997)

Anthony Maiello: Conducting: A Hands-on Approach (2009)

Summary 26

CHAPTER THREE: Review of Allied Philosophies and Methodologies 28

Francois Delsarte 31
Rudolf Laban 33

Emil Jacques-Dalcroze 36

Selected Literature on the Application of Dalcroze in Conductor Training 37

Albert Pfrimmer 37

John Dickson 39

Claire W. McCoy 43

Andrew Mathers 46

Summary 47

CHAPTER FOUR: The Dalcroze Philosophy 48

Genesis of the Philosophy 48

The Tenets of the Philosophy 49

Eurhythmics 49

Solfége Rhythmique 52

Plastique Animée 55

Improvisation 58

Summary 67


Current Applications of Dalcroze in Post-Secondary Music Training Programs 68

Dalcroze Training as Part of Workshops and Institutes 69

Appalachian State University 69

Colorado State University 70

Dalcroze Training as a Single Course Enrichment/Elective 71

Hamline University 71

Undergraduate/Graduate Major/Certificate in Eurhythmics 72

University of St. Thomas 72

Longy School of Music at Bard College 73

Cleveland Institute of Music 74

Carnegie Mellon University 75

Dalcroze Training as an Undergraduate Major Requirement 75

Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory 76

Oberlin College Conservatory 77

Cleveland Institute of Music 77

Carnegie Mellon University 78

Summary 78



Modification of Existing Courses 81

Music Theory/Aural Skills 82

Curricular Expansion 84

Musicianship Sequence 84

Beginning Conducting/Advanced Conduction 86

Summary 89

APPENDIX 1: Sample Dalcroze Course Descriptions 92



Through a survey of literature on conducting, a consensus regarding the attributes

of a successful conductor can be assessed. Most authors agree on the importance of

fidelity to the composer’s intentions as set forth in the score, but they also acknowledge

the role the interpreter plays in the ultimate realization of the soundscape. Many factors

are cited in the building of interpretation from the study of the score and the context of its

creation: medium, historical context, biographical information, extra-musical

associations, etc. As critical as this knowledge may be, it is useless unless the interpreter

also possesses a reliable set of skills based in the ability to craft an aural image of the

score within the musical imagination. These abilities to manipulate the parameters of

sound within the confines of imagination, to aurally decode musical notation and then to

physically manifest them are necessary skills for nearly all performers of music. For the

conductor who does not have the benefit of regular access to his/her instrument (the

ensemble) for actualized practice, it is all the more critical to cultivate these abilities.

These trainable aspects of the profession are quite specifically addressed through

Dalcroze training. From the embodiment of music through movement and gesture

cultivated in Eurhythmics and Plastique Animée, to the goal of increased aural acuity

expressed in Solfége Rhythmique, to the command of the musical language and

spontaneity necessary for Improvisation, all aspects of Dalcroze’s educational approach

are of great benefit to the student of conducting. From the perspective of podium

preparation, incorporation of some or all of these elements into conducting coursework,

as well as general musicianship training would be effective as a prelude to, and in

conjunction with more traditional curricular offerings.




It seems to be a perpetual sentiment among the music faculty through the ages and

around the world: there is lack of preparation in basic musicianship skills in incoming

music majors. The present discussion will focus on the issues involved in basic

musicianship training, the role of kinesthetics in that process, and the impact on

undergraduate conductor training coursework. While a great deal of philosophy is at its

heart, the training of musicianship as it applies to the discipline of conducting can be

broadly segmented into a number of assessable issues. These issues are not the only ones

faced by the conductor, nor are they exclusive to the discipline of conducting, but the

demands of the podium and the conductor’s role in the ensemble process necessitate a

high level of mastery in each area.

Issue 1: Rhythmic Perception; Psychomotor Connections

For musicians in any context, gaining a consistent perception and regulation of

pulse, its subdivision and grouping is an essential skill. Without this framework in place,

obtaining coherence of musical thought becomes impossible. Hierarchies of agogic

emphasis and displacement of expectation are in large part a function of maintaining the

underlying pulse. As Casals famously retorted: “Fantasy as much as you like—but with

order!” In his thinking, even rubato, a piacere and the freedom inherently found in

cadenzas follow a logical flow in the current of the pulse in orderly and reliable

fluctuations. (Blum, p. 85)

Likewise, many aspects of ensemble skill are dependent upon the reliability of a

shared perception of pulse and its variation to achieve maximum intelligibility. When

things do not line up temporally there is a weakening of impact, much like the force

created when two moving objects collide. When those objects are off course by a few

degrees, the result is a deflection in which both are thrown off course. As a result, there

must then be a correction made by one or both objects to realign and rebalance. Great

ensemble musicians are constantly aware of these types of course corrections that they

must make and the trajectory those around them are taking.

To an even greater degree, conductors must possess this perception in order to

influence and regulate the musical trajectory of the ensemble as whole through gestural

means. While this is not the end-all-be-all of the conductor’s contribution, it is

nonetheless an essential part of the conductor’s shaping of sound through time. This

shaping applies not only to the foreground of the beat and its subdivision, or the middle-

ground of the meter and the phrase, but to the shaping of time over the course of entire

movements and performances. Contextualization of time in service to the composer’s

aesthetic intentions is one of the more difficult tasks the conductor must perform.

Issue 2: Tonal Perception; Visual, Aural and Inner

Of equal importance is the ability of the conductor to maintain consistency in

pitch center, subdivisions of the octave and stability of intervallic content based on pitch

center. Tonal memory and the theories of audiation and inner hearing are paramount to

understanding how pitch centers are maintained over a given time span. Too often,

musicians rely heavily on mechanical means to achieve the sense of pitch center and

intervallic stability: either through fingerings, the kinesthetic feel of distance on a string,

or the ‘invariability’ of keyboard instruments or tuning devices. This over-reliance runs

contrary to attainment of inner hearing, a balance in which the mechanical is in service to


the cognitive rather than the reverse. It is all the more crucial that conductors, with no

mechanism but the mind/ear/voice for reference, develop this ability to hold sound within

inner hearing to a highly level.

In addition to intervallic integrity and tonal contextualization, complex hierarchies

of balance, timbre, relative textural importance of individual lines are greatly influenced

by pitch perception. Conductors must be aware of these hierarchies of tonal content and

seek means to influence the ensemble in the process of recreation of the whole--more

specifically, an influence that is necessarily gestural in nature without its own

externalized sound.

Issue 3: Physical Expression; Bodily Manifestation of Musical Content

Physical expression is a necessary component in aural expression, for music is

made manifest from the mental image only in this way. Sound is vibration of a physical

medium and perceived primarily through external means and given meaning through

mental processes. Music creation travels this pathway in both directions, from the

physical to the mental (in the case of the audience) and from mental to physical (in the

case of the performer/composer) with many complex interactions and feedback loops

from internal to external among the performers in an ensemble.

The role of the conductor’s gesture in this feedback process is mainly

metaphorical in nature: it is a representation of the mental-physical interactions of the

ensemble musician minus the medium of sound creation. The conductor’s contribution is

only of the physical guided by both the conception of and reaction to the soundscape, real

and imagined. The score is the guide, but notation is lifeless without physical-musical

expression guided by a clearly internalized image of the composer’s intentions. The


expression of the score can take the form of a fully actualized musical performance or an

internal recreation of a mentally realized ideal, the same way one can experience a

Shakespeare drama on the stage or read silently and imagined on the mind’s stage. In

each case, there is an element of reception and recreation, a part of the process that gives

the composition meaning and thus life.

Within the feedback from score to sound, there is also an element of

improvisation in the gestural decisions that the conductor must make, which are based on

the notation and also rooted in maintaining a spontaneous influence in the ensemble

process. This flexibility requires musical imagination and audiation as well as a physical

vocabulary on which to draw to make these improvisatory decisions within the feedback

process. Musicianship in action is the podium standard to which the conducting pupil

must aspire.

To assess the relative importance given to the above issues, and methods of

redressing and remediating them, the discourse of the present study will delve into the

literature of the discipline of conducting and the application of allied disciplines such as

Eurhythmics in service to pedagogy. Specific recommendations regarding curricular

adaptations at Peru State College will be made based on the broader trends and an

assessment of some the best practices regarding the musicianship training sequences at

several exemplary institutions engaged in the use of Emil Jaques-Dalcroze’s philosophies

toward musicianship training in rhythm, pitch and movement.




The importance of mastering the issues of rhythmic and tonal perception and their

physical manifestation are essential to the musical performer. Many of the authors cited

below have stressed the importance these issues hold for the young conductor, and some

have even addressed them at length. Many, however, leave the question of inculcating

musicianship skills to studies outside of the conducting curriculum proper. That the focus

of the latter group of texts on the particulars of patterns, appropriate gestures in either

hand, grip, stance, etc. is understandable when one takes for granted appropriate

curricular prerequisites to the advanced or even beginning conducting course. In light of

the issues outlined in CHAPTER ONE, it will prove to be an enlightening exercise to

gather some perspectives from contemporary and historical texts on conducting and the

degree of emphasis placed on the acquisition of the musicianship skills leading to the

gestural choices and success on the podium.

By no means a complete survey, the following texts have been selected on the

criteria of availability, usage and the degree to which each addresses the subject of

musicianship skills such as inner hearing. The survey of the texts have been generally

arranged chronologically in order of first edition, although in some cases a subsequent

edition may be the subject of the review. A further subdivision of the texts into those with

more philosophical underpinnings as opposed to those that are more workbook oriented

has been made. While this further distinction is somewhat subjective, it is valuable in

discerning the pedagogical intent without assigning undue criticism. To find fault in a

text for not addressing issues it clearly was not intended to address would be

unproductive. However, by considering these texts as a distinct category, they can be

constructively assessed for their inherent practicality with any pedagogical deficiencies in

the area of musicianship training remediated through suggested supplementation.

Adam Carse: Orchestral Conducting (1929/1971)

Originally written in 1929, Orchestral Conducting lends an early 20th century

perspective on the thorough reading and the internalization of a score. Carse states one

must begin by “mentally realizing the melodic outlines, the harmonic combinations, the

various shades of tone-colour produced by the instruments, and combining them in

imagination as a whole.”(Carse, p.37) He further states that reading a score is too

complicated to do while actually conducting it either in rehearsal or performance: “any

reading of a score that has to be done should be done before the conducting begins. The

music, and a definite conception of how it is to be rendered, should be complete in the

conductor’s mind before he begins to rehearse a piece.” (Carse, p.37) The conductor must

have a definite pre-conception of how the composition is to be rendered before ascending

the podium to fully realize the potential of the work and the ensemble. “The conductor

who can rehearse well is the one who can hear well, and who hearing, knows what to

do.” (Carse, p. 2) For Carse, acquisition of this sound conception is to be gained

primarily through imagination and relies on the conductor’s ability to internalize the

score before there is an attempt to communicate through the physical act of conducting.

While Carse’s comments find general support among the other texts in this brief

survey, there is little to no guidance given on the practical side of building an image of

the score in the mind’s ear. It must be assumed that the ability to hear well and the ability

to maintain an inner conception of the score against which this hearing is measured are

attributes either of musicianship training elsewhere, or may simply be a skill innately

possessed by the competent conductor. In either case, there are preconditions to inner

hearing that will need further exploration or explanation.

Hermann Scherchen: Handbook of Conducting (1933)

Scherchen’s text begins directly with a discussion of “the significance of ideal

conceptions in music”. (Scherchen, p.1) He further states “the conductor must be a

mastermind, with an imagination capable of conceiving and materializing a musical

image. Only when a work has come to absolute perfection within him can he undertake to

materialize it by means of the orchestra.” (Scherchen, p.1) “The conductor, when

representing a work to himself, must hear it as perfectly as the creator of this work heard

it”…but also… “A creative artist relies upon the acuteness of his own artistic perception;

he hears new tone-colours, he views his materials in a new light, he stamps his own

personality upon the music.” (Scherchen, p.2) Scherchen is very explicit in the source of

musicality: “Of all the means of musical expression, singing is the most living or vital.

Singing comes from within ourselves. The conductor’s conception of a work should be a

perfect inward singing.” (Scherchen, p.2)

Scherchen also begins a suggested course of study to begin the process of

acquiring skill in inward singing. “First of all the ear should be trained. Let the student

sing at sight patterns such as the following. The alpha and omega of all these exercises is

that no instrument should be used. The student must learn to hear inwardly what he sees

and at once sing (or whistle) it.” (Scherchen, p.6) Accompanying this text is a set of

pitches that are arrayed such that tonal centers are difficult to discern. The implication is

that the ear must be able to maintain pitch and measure the intervals in isolation from a

key. This would seem a rather advanced exercise in light of the deficiencies discussed in

relation to the typical beginning conducting student and perhaps are to be taken as an end

game assessment of pitch acuity. Scherchen goes on to suggest contextualizing these

intervallic patterns in various rhythmic configurations, to be invented by the student to

explore the multiple latent tonal implications.

Scherchen regards improvisation as an essential expression of the sense of inward

hearing. “Next the student should make up melodic patterns—short at first, then

gradually longer—of which the first motifs will be dictated to him. He should be taught

to determine the centre of gravity, the driving forces, the curving-points of a melody, to

master the technique of using these data, and to appreciate the laws of melodic structure.”

(Scherchen, p.7) Although not completely clear, the assumption is that these patterns

would be sung and the improvisations would also be sung, although the ranges presented

in the notated sample patterns seem to contradict this assumption unless frequent octave

displacements are part of the scenario.

Acquisition of a secure sense of pulse and subdivision is also a foundational area

addressed by Scherchen. “It is essential to develop a very precise, independent sense of

meter and rhythm.” He proceeds to lay out a methodical approach to practice the division

of the unit using stepping and counting. These begin with a steady pacing of the unit

embodied as a single step at mm=50. Over this background, the student counts aloud to

divide the unit into increasingly smaller divisions, beginning with one count per step and

ending at 9 divisions per unit. Scherchen admonishes the student to proceed from one

division to the next “without altering the tempo, and without any hurried or retarded

transition.” (Scherchen, p.10) Scherchen suggests increasing complexity in shifts between


divisions of the unit (i.e., 2 to 8 to 5 to 7, etc.) and then introduces the element of

polyrhythm by incorporating these same shifting divisions in the stepping as well as the

counting in varying combinations.

In the realms of pitch imagination, improvisation to realize style, and the need for

a physical basis for the acquisition of rhythmic security, Scherchen provides a great deal

of guidance in the way of practical modeling for the student of conducting to explore.

Beyond its initial emphasis on musicianship skills, his text also contains a thumbnail

exploration of the idiosyncrasies of the various instrument families and their techniques,

giving the conductor another tool in the imagining of the soundscape presented in the

score. It is assumed that by presenting these topics aside from and before addressing the

topics of gesture, Scherchen is stressing the fact that musicians need to begin the process

of acquiring the ability to employ the skills of inner hearing before attempting to

gesturally render the musical substance of the score.

Max Rudolf: The Grammar of Conducting (1950/1994)

Rudolph’s approach to teaching conducting is explicit in his title, The Grammar

of Conducting: A Comprehensive Guide to Baton Techniques and Interpretation. This

grammar is seen as primarily a physical one, taking the function of clearly

communicating the surface elements of the musical score. To this end and because of this

emphasis, Rudolph includes a great number of short musical examples to demonstrate

these grammatical constructions and solutions to dealing with them through baton

technique. While making passing reference to the importance of possessing an

exceptional ear and the ability to read an orchestral score and stating “the mastery of all

these elements will give the conductor the authority to be a genuine leader”, Rudolph

continues, “but musicianship and thorough study of the score will help little unless a

conductor knows how to talk to people.” (Rudolph, p. xv) He then pivots directly to the

importance of technique as an expression and means to clear communication with the

ensemble, with little reference following in the entire text on the building of

interpretation, score reading and ear training elements. As the principal instructor of

conducting at the Curtis Institute, it is to be assumed that his students were already

accomplished in these skills, that other coursework was satisfactory in training these

skills, or that this element was presented in class as an adjunct to the grammatical context

being studied.

Emil Kahn: Conducting (1965)

In the introduction to Emil Kahn’s 1965 text on conducting, he states a universal

lament pertaining to the craft of conducting in contrast to other musical performance

media: “One of the major obstacles to learning his craft, however, is the fact that the

student has little chance to practice on his instrument, the orchestra.” (Kahn, p. ix) In

Kahn’s opinion, gaining an aural image and physical response is generated from the score

and the conductor’s ability to realize it within the mind. To stress this organic

relationship between score and the inner hearing of the conductor, in Kahn’s opinion

“conducting with a recording is not recommended. The student will not conduct the

recording but will be led by it.” (Kahn, p. ix) Kahn states while recordings can help learn

an unfamiliar work, “It is advisable, however, for a serious student of the art of

conducting to study a score thoroughly without this help. Thereafter a comparison with a

recording may be of additional aid.” (Kahn, p. ix)


Like many texts, (Rudolph and Green, in particular) Kahn devotes a very large

portion of his text to the particulars of patterns and time beating. Part One of the text

progresses through meters and articulation, preparatory beats, fermatas and releases, cues

etc., all illustrated via short musical excerpts in the text and an attendant list of works

employing the given technique. In presenting the physical aspects of conducting as a

matter of first course, Kahn leaves the impression that he believes that a physical

repertoire on which to draw is not predicated on the aural image that he discussed in his

introductory materials. The “how?” is placed seemingly before the “why?” and feedback

between aural and physical are not explicated but remain a matter of assumption.

However, Kahn reiterates and expands his introductory remarks on the

importance of musicianship skills and inner score reading in success on the podium in

Part Two of his text. “Ear training is generally considered ‘elementary’ and therefore

unnecessary in a textbook on conducting. This is an error; even an accomplished

musician must continue to train his ear, and for a conductor a highly developed ‘inner’

ear is an essential tool. A good conductor must be able to read a score like a book: the

better his ear, the greater his mastery over his orchestra.” (Kahn, p. 81)

Kahn pursues a course similar to that of Scherchen by suggesting ways to develop

the conductor’s ear and sense of mastery over the essential elements of hearing from the

podium. His four areas encompass dictation, error detection, timbre recognition and inner

hearing of the printed score. Kahn states, whereas progress can be charted in fairly

objective terms for the first three areas, the fourth is highly subjective and “No teacher

can actually test a student’s progress in this area. The student must judge himself; the

final test comes when he stands in front of an orchestra. He must be able to recognize

when wrong notes are played and hear exactly which instruments are playing them.”

(Kahn, p. 85)

Kahn recommends a methodical approach to inner hearing not unlike Scherchen’s

approach to ear training. Starting first with Bach inventions, the student is asked to hear

through the upper part for a small section (eight bars or less) without resorting to the use

of any instrument whatsoever. The student is to then focus attention to hearing the bottom

voice in the same section, using the same sense of inner hearing. Once fixed in the

hearing, there is then an attempt to combine voices in inner hearing. Kahn emphasizes

that the material should not be overly familiar to the student and that small segments will

serve best at first. From the two part inventions, the student should progress to three

voice sinfonias and fugues, always striving to realize outer voices first before progressing

to inner parts. Eventually, perceiving multiple lines simultaneously without need to

separate can be achieved, as well as the inner hearing of works for larger forces such as

classical string quartets and symphonies.

Kahn finishes his text by dealing with the particulars of instruments and

instrumentation. These topics are included as a way of giving the conductor a better

conception of issues and capabilities of the orchestral forces to facilitate score study

aimed at aural acquisition of ideals in timbre, articulation and balance. Practically, this

discussion also gives the conductor a sense of how to anticipate common issues and

devise efficient rehearsal techniques to preempt foreseeable problems. In this way Kahn

covers much of the same materials as Scherchen only with a differing approach to order

and emphasis.

Elizabeth Green/Mark Gibson: The Modern Conductor (1961/2004)

Elizabeth Green/Nicolai Malko: The Conductor’s Score (1975)

Considered together are two widely-known and utilized texts written by Elizabeth

Green. Taken in tandem, these two works depict vividly the demands of the conducting

profession. The fact that Green’s works have been published in at least nine editions over

the past forty-three years is a testament to the applicability of her pedagogical approach.

In selecting the most commercially accessible editions for review, and therefore the most

likely to be used in coursework, it is hoped that the following assessment will find its

greatest applicability.

Although a great deal of the text of The Modern Conductor is devoted to the

particulars of clarity of patterns and gestures, introductory remarks by Mark Gibson

address the questions of requisite traits for the conductor. He separates these attributes

into the broadly defined and generalized categories of “your mind, your hands-arms

complex, [and] your musicianship”. (Green 2004, p. 1) Gibson further explicates with the

following statement regarding musicianship: “In one short, spicy sentence, musicianship

is what your ear hears while you are conducting.” (Green 2004, p. 2; bold and

italicized text is original) Although not absolutely explicit, this statement implies a

feedback loop where the mind holds the idealized and internalized aural conception, the

physical act of conducting provides a means of influence over the outer musical product,

and the ears check the product through the filter of acquired musicianship skills. Gibson

further expounds on the synthesis that draws together the realization of the external

elements of performance (ensemble rhythmic/tempo, tone quality, pitch and balance, etc.)

with the inner conception of the conductor revealed through the sound concept of the

composer as it is expressed in the notated score. (Green 2004, p. 2)


While the emphasis of most of the text becomes more about the means of physical

execution, the text does provide some basic and practical steps to improve inner hearing,

beginning with the imagining of semi-tones and gradually moving to larger intervals.

(Green 2004 , p. 7) This instruction is far more rudimentary than that recommended by

Kahn or Scherchen, but at the same time this simplicity can also be far more useful at the

beginning stages of inner hearing. Unfortunately, this initial foray into inner hearing is

not furthered in the text on any systematic or consistent basis and is assumed to be left to

the exploration of the individual or the domain of other coursework.

Green fleshes out a more elaborate score study approach emphasizing greater

reliance on inner hearing skills in The Conductor’s Score, a textual expansion of the

teachings of Nicolai Malko. Malko, much like Scherchen, advocated the treatment of

conducting as a teachable art, both in terms of baton technique and the skill of score

reading. Whereas Green’s previously discussed text, The Modern Conductor, deals

primarily with the physical disciplines of gesture and movement, The Conductor’s Score

provides more insights for interpretation of the printed page as a testament of the

composer’s aural conception and intent. Green states that: “the greater the conductor, the

greater his ability to hear.” (Green 1975, p. 2) And further: “the eye and ear aid one

another in the score-reading process.” (Green 1975, p. 2) The coordination of eye and ear

lead the conductor into the formation of an imagined ideal, “when he studies scores, [the

conductor] applies himself to hearing in his mind the melodic line, the harmony, and the

sound or color of each instrument as it adds its voice to the ensemble.” (Green 1975, p. 2)

The ear’s role in the process is two-fold: “the objective hearing of audible sounds

and the subjective, imagined, inner-ear process.” (Green 1975, p. 3) Furthermore, Green

expounds on the relative difficulties involved in the development of each type of hearing:

“Objective hearing is easily trained. One has only to concentrate his attention on what is

actually sounding.” (Green 1975, p. 3) This faculty is involved in the critical evaluation

of the sound environment as it exists in physical reality, focusing on the performance

unfolding before the conductor’s ears. Green characterizes the training of imaginative

hearing as “much more complex and difficult. It needs a great deal of specialized

attention.” (Green 1975, p. 3) She outlines the following sequence in the process of

mastery in inner-hearing: 1) the ability to imagine accurately whole tone and half tones

from a given pitch; 2) the ability to fill in the gaps between scale tones through singing;

3) and finally, the ability to mentally fill in the gaps between scales tones with vocalizing

only the pitches of the starting and ending points.

Green stresses the need for development of imaginative hearing in correlation

with objective hearing to complete the conductor’s ability to check the reality of

performance with the conductor’s aural image of the composer’s conception. In addition

to further outlining a set of practical exercises for the training of imaginative hearing at

the end of the first chapter, she devotes the entirety of Chapter 5 to the application of

imaginative hearing, interpretive choice and internalization leading to memorization of

the score. For Green, “Interpretative imagination deals with the inspirational profile of

the music, its emotional content, its personalized appeal. Joy, sorrow, peace and calm,

turbulence and excitement, nobility, gentleness, triumph or despair—they are all there.”

(Green 1975, p. 77) Defining the affective content of the music as it is evidenced by the

phenomena of the discourse of the musical elements is the focus. To illustrate, Green

provides a set of twenty original melodic phrases for which the reader is to determine the

emotional content through examination of their musical attributes. “This ability to vary

one’s own emotional response as the music demands is also an important aspect of the

conductor’s art. It is one factor in making a performance come alive and negating a dead-

level monotony.” (Green 1975, p. 82)

Hugo D. Marple: The Beginning Conductor (1972)

Marple’s title would tend to lead one to believe his text might fall neatly into the

category of a “workbook” text in the vein discussed near the end of this chapter. Granted,

a major portion of the text is devoted to the detailed rendering of patterns, releases,

stance, baton grip etc., but it differs from the workbook model in that very few of his

musical illustrations lend themselves readily to a practical classroom performance within

the majority conducting course situation. In choosing a variety of literature from many

different genres, Marple aligns his text more closely with Green’s The Modern

Conductor or Rudolph’s The Grammar of Conducting in contextualizing technical

applications taken primarily from performance repertoire. Unlike Rudolph (and more like

Prausnitz), the scores and excerpts in Marple are essentially what one might find if

looking at a published work, rather than requiring students to obtain a published copy for


In Marple, the musical examples proceed from piano/vocal scores (two lines)

through condensed conductor scores to full scores of classical symphonies and wind band

repertoire, a progression reminiscent of Kahn’s sequence of materials utilized in the

process of acquiring inner hearing. Approaching the managing of larger and more

complex scores by masking and highlighting the various components within the score

bringing attention to the portions to be emphasized, Marple starts to address the practical

aspects of complex score reading and score orientation familiarity. This application is

also helpful as a practical exercise in the comprehension of the score in terms of timbral

imagination, however his approach does not go much deeper than visual arrangement of

the instrumental forces within the score and awareness of transpositions.

In his preface, Marple clarifies his intentions in writing the text to assist “the

serious student of music who realizes that much of his professional career will consist of

conducting amateurs, whether in public schools or church choirs, city choirs, city bands,

or community orchestras.” (Marple, p. xiii) In this light, the practical nature of his

approach to score study, though not as deep as would be hoped, nonetheless mirrors his

intent. “Unlike many texts on conducting, this one helps the young conductor in learning

to read and study a score in preparation for his conducting duties.” (Marple, p. xiii) In his

view, the place for learning score management and study skills is concurrent with baton

technique and gesture. In Marple’s view, this is the most efficient means to communicate

to conductors the important interrelationship of musical content in its interpretation

through gesture.

Marple expresses his views on inner hearing in his introduction: “good

conductors, like good composers, hear within their minds what they see in the score

before them” and “security comes from experience in learning to use a score, learning to

hear with your mind, and being able to express yourself through gesture without giving

thought to it at the precise moment it is needed in rehearsal or performance.” (Marple, p.

3) These sentiments echo those of Scherchen and Prausnitz regarding the emanation of

gesture from the mental conception. However, unlike Scherchen (but more similar to

Prausnitz), there is little in the way of guidance as to the acquisition of these traits

specifically, only the acknowledgement of the importance of inner hearing in the

construction of appropriate physical gesture.

On the other hand, Marple does provide a few insights into the complexities

involved in studying and understanding a score in terms of perspective. The first type of

perspective is that of the performer of an individual line, experiencing part of the whole

conception of a work from within the ensemble. Marple states that this single line

approach tends to be “more from a technical standpoint” and often lacks attention

“toward an artistic whole”. (Marple, p. 77) This perspective is that of a one-dimensional

detail in isolation. Often a mark of inexperienced ensemble performers, it is a perspective

in which the contribution of the individual in relationship to the greater creative process

is lost.

Marple posits a second type of perspective; one that emerges as score study

progresses beyond single line comprehension. There evolves an “understanding and

synthesis in the mind as one perceives the score and focuses on its theoretical and artistic

aspects, storing information in order to bring it to bear upon the entire work as it is

performed. Theory and music literature courses should have assisted you to begin this

type of study.” (Marple, p. 77) This perspective does not exclude the first type of

perspective, but rather springs from the combination and appreciation of the multiple

individual components in the formation of the work in its entirety.

In order to communicate the understanding gained as a result of inner working out

of the second type of perspective, Marple refers to his earlier comments on gesture and

connection to the musical phenomenology represented by the score. This mind-body

symbiosis finds expression in a third type of perspective: embodiment. “Even after you

know the score, you must feel it within your conducting technique. You may have

memorized the score, being able to advise each player of his notes or understand its style,

but [you must] feel the work in you body as a conductor… as the only concrete

representation of sound …from the podium.” (Marple, p. 77) This perspective requires a

deep synthesis of musical elements and the ability to transfer that concept across multiple

sensory domains (visual, aural) to an appropriate physical manifestation of this

conceptualization. This level of perspective defines the complex nature of the conductor’s

interpretive and expressive roles in the re-creative process.

Frederik Prausnitz: Score and Podium: A Complete Guide to Conducting (1983)

Prausnitz sees conducting as a dialogue between score preparation and action on

the podium. The layout of the text takes the form of alternating views of score study and

its effect on physical interpretation on the podium. In his introductory notes, he

admonishes the conductor that before any rehearsal begins the “aural image” of the

product must be “worked out in silent preparation.” (Prausnitz, p. 2) Implicit is the need

to secure this image by means of inner hearing. He further states the “conductor’s

primary musical instrument is his own mind,” (Prausnitz, p. 2) referencing the lack of

access the conductor has to practicing on the outward instrument of the ensemble.

Reliance on internalization of elements of the score through silent practice allows for

gesture to emanate from this thorough knowledge of the score. “The process of hearing,

imagining and refining begins in quiet concentration on the score.’’ (Prausnitz, p. 2)

Acquisition of these skills of aural imaging is not a topic taken up by Prausnitz in any

subsequent detail; it can be assumed he feels the study of the score will provide the

necessary image or that this issue is already prerequisite knowledge for anyone pursuing

his course.

Prausnitz includes a quote from Roger Sessions in dealing with the issue of

authenticity and the aspect of personal interpretation in performance: “there is no such

thing as a definitive performance of any work whatsoever. This is true even when given

by the composer himself.” (Prausnitz, p. 2) Prausnitz’s implication is that while the score

provides (in varying degrees) much of the information required to render a composer’s

aural image, there still exists an aspect of ambiguity for which the performer must

provide solutions. In these more subjective matters the evidence of the score points the

conductor towards a certain subset of possibilities, but the conductor must possess the

ability to manipulate those possibilities in a virtual state of improvisation while exploring


In addition to his preparatory remarks, Prausnitz returns to the ideas of aural

image and its foundation to interpretation and physical expression throughout the text in a

series of flow charts connecting score and podium. These charts serve to reinforce the

interconnection of the physical score, the mental conception, the physical rendering via

conducting and the feedback in sound created by the ensemble.

Gunther Schuller: The Compleat Conductor (1997)

Schuller’s intention is primarily a philosophical one focusing on the primacy of

the conductor’s intentions founded in a complete, thorough and exhaustive study of the

score. Even as an advocate for textual fidelity, Schuller does stipulate, as did Prausnitz

via Sessions, that there really exists no definitive interpretation of any given work only

those which may find varying degrees of correctness in their recreation of the composer’s

intentions. Schuller termed such performances as “valid, representative, good, ideal—if

they are based on a close reading of the score.” (Schuller, p. 14) Although these terms are

also subject to the opinion of the critical listener, Schuller cautions against using this fact

as giving license to the impulse that, “any arbitrary, personal interpretation can also be

valid and thus be sanctioned.” (Schuller, p. 14, italics are original) To Schuller, there are

discernible “parameters of intended meaning” within which subjective elements found a

score and their interpretation must exist. (Schuller, p. 16)

It is clear that Schuller’s philosophical approach requires intimate knowledge of

the score as well as the composer and historical/stylistic background information on both.

The knowledge of the score occupies the majority of the text, using examples from the

score to make value judgments on the interpretative choices made on select recorded

performances of the repertoire by a wide range of conductors. By enlisting the

phonographic record of these interpretations and the comparisons and contrasts they

present with his own inner aural image, Schuller highlights what he views as the correct

ordering of interpretation: a feedback from text to mind to phenomenology of sound (and

by implication, the gesture to elicit the sound). Although Schuller does not devote great

length to either the gestural rendering or acquisition of the aural image of the score, his

remarks on the relative importance of each are worth noting: “physical expression is but

the outward manifestation of what we know and feel about the music (the score). All the

physical and choreographic skills in the world will amount to nothing if they represent an

insufficient (intellectual) knowledge of the score and an inadequate (emotional) feel for

the music—in other words a knowledge of what to represent, of what to realize,”

(Schuller, p. 10, parentheses and italics are original)


Internalization is seen as a key to interpretation for Sculler, and a constant

examination of the score based on the inner and outer hearing of the conductor guides

this. Schuller levels criticism at the lack of emphasis on developing this connection of

hearing to the score in the vast majority of texts and conducting courses: “what is rarely

realized—or discussed or taught in conducting classes—is that all the ‘excellent ears’ in

the world are irrelevant if those ears do not know what it is they should be hearing. In

point of fact, one’s ears are useless equipment if one’s mind, the musical intelligence,

does not inform the ears what to hear, what to be listening for.” (Schuller, p.17, italics are


This concept of comparative hearing, for Schuller, falls into seven separate

domains: 1) harmony; 2) pitch and intonation; 3) dynamics; 4) timbre; 5) rhythm and

articulation; 6) balance and orchestrational aspects; and 7) line and continuity. Although

on the surface, these hearings appear to be engaged in reaction to the physical sound of

an ensemble, they are in fact filters applied to inner hearing acuity and the images stored

in the conductor’s mind of the score in its idealized form—something Schuller refers to

as the third ear (the inner sense of hearing). Schuller comments on the rarity of

possession of all aspects of hearing by a single individual from the podium: “I cannot

think of a major conductor working today who possesses all seven, with the possible

exceptions of Carlos Kleiber, Haitink, Skrowaczewski, and Gardiner.” (Schuller, p. 18)

He explains further “it is one of the most difficult challenges, for conducting students, for

example, to be aurally/mental free enough to hear precisely, critically, the results of their

conducting.” (Schuller, p. 18) “It is entirely possible for even the ‘best ears’ to miss some

other matter, because one is aurally distracted by the chosen primary concern.” (Schuller,

p. 19) Schuller clearly is commenting on the difficulty of putting into practice the skill of

hearing everything, but he is not excusing conductors from making an effort to acquire

the inner hearing skills necessary to express the composer’s intent through the score.

Workbook Texts Designed for Beginning Conducting as a Methods Course

Gerry Long: The Conductor’s Workshop (1977)

Donald Hunsburger: The Art of Conducting (1992)
Joseph Labuta: Basic Conducting Techniques (1995)
Kenneth Phillips: Basic Techniques of Conducting (1997)
Anthony Maiello: Conducting: A Hands-on Approach (2009)

While there are a great many texts that may be categorized as a type of workbook

with assignments to be prepared and executed in the context of group instruction, the

above collection should be considered representative. Other criteria for inclusion in the

list are widespread availability and usage as well as the familiarity the author of the

current study has with each in the context of conductor pedagogy. These selected texts

are representative of a classification of texts that are highly practical in nature. Such texts

often incorporate a flexible approach to instrumentation that may be utilized with ad hoc

combinations of instruments, voices, and piano readily allowing for in-class performance.

The primary purpose of the above texts is to provide the beginning conductor a

guided experience in leading an ensemble through various musical situations that are

commonly encountered while on the podium. Generally beginning with issues of right

hand rendering of metrical patterns, various incomplete measure starts, fermatas, and

progressing to the use of the left hand in supporting the functions of cuing, dynamics ,

etc., these texts provide a generic template for movement and gesture. However, they

often miss the vital step of discovering the “why?” by jumping straight to the “how?” In

making this leap, the texts rely upon previous musical experiences of the student and the

course instructor’s guidance to piece together the musical reasons for gestures and how to

make those gestures meaningful for the individual conducting student.

This criticism is not leveled for any purpose other than to point to a general gap

left in any course of study that relies solely on such texts without supplementation in

connecting gesture and aural imaging. These texts are by design issue focused, exploring

in isolation one or two issues which the novice conductor may face on the podium at one

point or other in their career. Just as most composers’ musical scores are artistically

rather than didactically conceived and employ multiple layers of aural imaging that move

through a constantly changing array of musical elements, the conductor must also be

trained to perceive and react to these artistic conceptions as well. The prescriptive nature

of exercises in most beginning conducting texts finds analogy in the drilling of

vocabulary in isolation when learning a language. Such experiences need to be

supplemented for the beginning conductor to gain fluency in syntax and grammar beyond

the management of time beating, its suspensions and fluctuations. There is need for a

more balanced approach in which students also gain experience dealing with longer and

more complete musical examples. This represents a sort of combination of whole

language and phonics approaches that is as essential in conductor training as it is in

reading comprehension. While the workbook type of text concentrates on the phonetic

aspects of conducting (as do many of the others surveyed), the young conductor’s sense

of larger forms, long-term musical flow, and sustained gestural expression also need

development on a broader, more organic level.



A great many of the texts surveyed above emphasize inner hearing, rhythmic

influence, and the ability to interact flexibly with the score and ensemble. Some also

emphasize the acquisition of aural image as a result of silent study. Nearly all focus on

the score and then rendering the physical conducting gestures that are thought best to

communicate the musical information contained within the score. But, only a very few

outline techniques for acquiring either the inner image or the path through which gesture

and image are made into a singularity. In the view of Robert Garofalo, “many novice

conductors learn the craft of conducting before they learn how to study a score. This

reversed learning sequence often creates a peculiar situation where a neophyte conductor

begins to conduct an ensemble before he of she has developed an interpretive mental

image of the music.” (Garofalo, p. iii) He feels the vast majority of texts focus too much

on the physical acts of patterns, baton grip and other outward manifestations of the

conducting profession without regard to their organicism in the musical elements of the


As demonstrated in this survey of literature on the art and techniques of

conducting, there exists a gap between aural image and physical action that must be

addressed as a preparation to success on the podium. With limited time to influence the

beginning conducting student in the formation of these essential characteristics and the

general lack of emphasis in text books designed for undergraduate courses, instruction in

gesture, score study and inner hearing must be supplemented. To this end various

philosophies, methodologies and approaches have been incorporated both as part of the

conducting curriculum and also in conjunction with general musicianship coursework.


Taken from within the field of music and from without, most of these approaches seek to

bring forth either a deeper experience of aspects of the musical score and its performance,

or a greater control of gestural vocabulary or in some cases both.




As demonstrated in the previous survey of texts on the art and technique of

conducting, the gap between aural image and physical action must be addressed as a

preparation to success on the podium. To this end, various philosophies, methodologies,

and approaches have been applied both as part of the conducting curriculum and as part

of general musicianship training. One can see that conducting texts often, out of a sense

of specialization or assumption, fail to thoroughly address what seem to be the basic

tenets of musicianship that necessarily undergird podium expression and authority. So

where do students gain these skills?

The answer may partially lie in developing these abilities from the perspective of

an ensemble participant under the direction of an outstanding conductor who, through

example and unconscious effort, models those skills within the rehearsal setting. Rising

from within the ranks of the ensemble were great conductors such as Pierre Monteux,

Gerard Schwarz, and Arturo Toscanini. Certainly, learning through observation is part of

the rationale for requiring multiple semesters of ensemble participation as part of nearly

every music education degree program. However, the seemingly intuitive ability of a

Monteux or a Toscanini may be more in line with the Leopold Stokowski’s assertion:

“conductors are born, not made. No amount of academic training can make a real

conductor out of someone who is not born with the necessary qualities.” (Bamberger,

p.202) However, Stokowski subsequently softens this terse statement slightly: “But

musical education and general culture are of inestimable value to the born conductor.”

(Bamberger, p.202) The age-old debate of nature versus nurture is at the heart of

Stokowski’s comments, but his admission that education can make a difference is a

concession to the notion that environment and training do indeed matter.

This acknowledgement that training is of benefit to the conductor (and musicians

generally) underlies the rationales for inclusion of courses offered music programs. Most

programs require a certain amount of music theory, ear training, sight singing, and music

history in the shaping of musicianship. Many institutions treat these subjects in isolation

from the active nature that is demanded in performance, especially that of the conductor.

This knowledge is not useless by any means; it is a pool from which musicians draw to

make informed interpretative choices. What is sometimes found lacking is the connection

of this knowledge to making musical decisions in the moment, particularly as it pertains

to the role of the conductor. Some of have sought other means to bridge this gap between

knowledge and action through employing methodologies focusing on the physical aspects

of performance.

A wide variety of methods of musicianship training have been found to be useful

in training the special relationship conductors must cultivate in the bodily expression of

music through gesture and are becoming widely adopted. Taken from within the field of

music and from without, these approaches seek to bring forth a deeper experience of

aspects of the musical score and its performance or a greater control of gestural

vocabulary. While some focus more on gestural theories and the refinement of efficiency

in motion, others additionally strive to train inner hearing and music literacy skills though

physical means. These philosophies and methodologies are taken variously from within

discipline of musicianship training, or have been adapted for this purpose from outside

the traditional boundaries of the musical discipline. Spanning training from infancy to

adulthood, some of these methods and philosophies have been applied in a wide variety

of contexts as well as targeted towards the training of musical professionals. These

techniques have been utilized successfully within the music education curriculum as full

courses, sequences of instruction, or through the application of selected techniques within

established conducting course content.

The question of freeing and refining the physical gesture in the expression of

music by conductors and other musicians has rightly been the subject of a great number

of studies. With varied emphasis, these studies have explored the nonverbal semiotics of

everything from human facial expressions (Mayne, Van Weelden, Yarbrough) to the

application of the theories and methodologies in acting (Running). While there are also

discussions of the bio-mechanics benefits expressed in the work of FM Alexander

(Schlomer) and Mosche Feldenkrais (Schlomer, Bonner) for the musician, many of the

recent studies have found a great deal of merit in the close affinity of the discipline of

dance and the study of movement in relation to developing effective expressive

conducting gestures.

Of those methods and theories most commonly explored from the field of dance

and movement for utilization in conjunction with instruction in conducting gesture are

those of Delsarte (Mathers), Laban (Aubin, Bartee, Billingham, Gambetta, Miller,

Neidlinger, Stewart, Yontz) and Dalcroze (Pfrimmer, Dickson, McCoy, Mathers). The

types and amounts of literature addressing each of these philosophies vary greatly in

academic and research rigor, however there is ample justification for the inclusion of

each in this survey. The following is an assessment of the salient components of each

orientation, its general applicability within the field of conductor training, and a further

more specific survey of literature regarding the advocacy of Dalcroze techniques in

conducting pedagogy.


Francois Delsarte sought to establish “a scientific basis for lyric and dramatic art,

and after years of patient labor perfected a system on which probably his fame will

ultimately rest.” (Francis Durivage 1871, quoted in Zorn, p.15) His observations were

prompted in reaction to what he deemed an affected and unnatural posturing approach to

stage acting and opera as advocated by thespians in general and at the Paris Conservatoire

in particular. Delsarte blamed this faulty training as a factor that led to the collapse of his

singing voice in 1839 (Zorn, p. 15).

As a keen student of science and anatomy, Delsarte’s observations on gesture

were expressed in terms of his Christian beliefs through a Trinitarian orientation. (Zorn)

To Delsarte, the Father represented Life, the Son the Mind, and the Holy Spirit the Soul.

From this interpretation, which he believed underlies a three-fold understanding of all

science and art, he derived three orientations of gesture: Movement around a center

(Life); Movement away from a center (Mind); and Movement toward a center (Soul).

(Zorn, p. 6) Delsarte himself applied the practical gestural methods derived from these

philosophical underpinnings, first in the area of music and subsequently in elocution and

actor training. His theories, which he gave the title “Applied Aesthetics”, ultimately

found proponents primarily in the disciplines of acting and dance. (Zorn, Shawn, Ruyter)

In conjunction with his philosophical and practical observations, Delsarte

developed a method for characterizing physical posture, facial expression and gesture in

what he termed “The Ninefold Accord” (Shawn, p 30). Each action (pose, facial

expression, gesture) has three components corresponding to the orientations stated above:

Eccentric, Normal, and Concentric. These in turn are compounded to nine distinctions

through combination: Eccentric-eccentric, Eccentric-normal, Eccentric-concentric, etc.,

as summarized in the table below:

Eccentric-eccentric Eccentric-normal Eccentric-concentric

Normal-eccentric Normal-normal Normal-concentric
Concentric-eccentric Concentric-normal Concentric-concentric

Additionally, Delsarte proposed an attending affective component within each of

the nine compounded attitudes or criteria. For example, in a seated posture, the attitude of

the legs and torso termed “Concentric-concentric” (equivalent to a leg forward and torso

and head leaning away) is interpreted as “defiant”; however, a posture where the same

leg attitude is combined with a forward leaning torso (Concentric-eccentric) is interpreted

as “attentive but disagreeing” (Stebbins)

Delsarte’s methods fell into disfavor through commercialization, abuse and “with

the advent of realism and naturalism.” (Dasgupta, p. 97) The misunderstandings and

misapplications may stem partially to the lack of writings on the method by Delsarte

himself and the reliance on second-hand transmission and interpretation of his

observations through those who studied with him. However, in its attempt to define

posture and movement in increasingly more discrete terms, Delsarte’s work moves

beyond the singular attention to footwork adopted by prior thinkers in the realm of

choreography and movement, and in this respect his work serves as a foundation for that

of subsequent generations. (Hodgson).



After a long evolving interest in the visual arts and stage design, Rudolph Laban’s

work led him into the realm of physical expression of the similar artistic intent through

human movement in the field of dance. Subsequent work with dance and choreography

led Laban to seek a more accurate and discreet codification of physical movement. His

Parisian studies from 1900-1907 placed him in contact with the work of Delsarte via

ballet lessons with Morel, a student of Delsarte. (Maletic, p. 5)

His seminal work in movement theory and notation, Eukenetics (1926), was the

result of his observations as both a choreographer and his work in the visual arts and its

definitions of balance, symmetry and weight. This work, which came to be known as

Labanotation in this country, “provides a comprehensive vocabulary and analytic

framework for the description of human movement. Using LMA (Laban Movement

Analysis) one can systematically look at a unit or phase of movement in terms of the four

major movement components: Body, Effort, Shape and Space. These basic components

can be identified and examined alone and in relation to each other.” (“What is Laban

Movement Analysis [LMA]?”

analysis-lma [accessed March 10, 2014])

In its ability to give succinct definition to the act of human motion and gesture,

Laban’s work has found application beyond the field of dance and into a variety of

activities where such definition can be helpful in improving performance. These fields

have included sports (Hamburg), industrial and work-place applications (Lawrence,

Lamb), and as has been discussed, in musical performance generally and conducting

specifically. Writings directly assessing the value of Laban in the teaching of expressive

conducting are by far the most plentiful in comparison to any other methodological

application addressed in this survey. A selection of these includes works by: Bartee

(1977), Poch (1982), Miller (1988), Benge (1996), Billingham (2001), Yontz (2001),

Neidlinger (2003), Gambetta (2005) and Stewart (2011)

Of the many aspects of Laban’s theories of movement, those particularly useful to

the conductor are effort qualities possible within the motion factors of Weight, Space,

and Time. (Schlomer, Stewart, Yontz) “The components making up the different effort

qualities result from an inner attitude (conscious or unconscious) towards the motion

factors.” (Laban and Ullman, p. 11) Laban’s definition of effort involves the expending

of energy in general, and comprises many gradations of intensity, unlike the traditional

association of effort in terms of “exaggerated forms of spending energy.” (Laban and

Ullman, p. 169) Laban conceptualized eight ‘basic effort actions’ that are combinations

of time, force and space. They encompass a wide variety of descriptors including: ‘Press’

(slow, strong, direct), ‘Wring’ (slow, strong, indirect), ‘Glide’ (slow, light, direct), ‘Float’

(slow, light, indirect), ‘Punch’ (quick, strong, direct), ‘Slash’ (quick, strong, indirect),

‘Dab’ (quick, light, direct), and ‘Flick’ (quick, light, indirect). (Miller, p. 35)

As his philosophy evolved, Laban began ascribing attendant affective content to

gesture and posture, much as Delsarte had previously: “Laban extended the interlinking

of gesture with mental attitudes in his later years of movement research for actors and

dancers when settled in the United Kingdom after fleeing Germany’s Nazi regime. By

1947 he had published “Effort” with F.C. Lawrence, one of the first British management

consultants, indicating the connection of gestural rhythms with psychological states.

Later in Laban’s text, The Mastery of Movement (1960), published posthumously by his

wife Lisa Ullmann, Laban names a set of ‘Inner Attitudes’ linking Carl Jung’s personality

types of Sensing, Thinking, Intuiting and Feeling with motion factors.” (Hayes, p. 5)

Laban’s work was drawn from his philosophical stance that the physicality of

dance was primary in man’s formulation of musical and other forms of expression.

“Spoken drama, and musical dance are, however, late flowers of human civilization.”

(Laban and Ullmann, p. 4) Indeed, it was his contention that the genesis of all art and, in

large measure, the capacities of intellect lies within the domain of the kinesthetic. (Seitz

2005) Furthermore, at certain junctures in Laban’s work, he sought to abolish the

servitude he felt had been applied to the art of dance in relation to that of music.

Although much of his work seemingly allies with both Delsarte and Dalcroze, Laban and

some of his proponents would argue that the origins of his insights into gesture come

from an entirely unique set of orientations not linked to those of either Delsarte or

Dalcroze (Foster).

While Laban’s descriptors of effort and motion are generally seen as highly

useful in obtaining a desired effort and gesture, to be useful for the conductor these

evocations must first be determined from the musical substance to be conveyed. In this

regard, Laban’s theories must be utilized primarily in a metaphorical way. This

effectiveness is predicated on the conductor’s ability to first gage the composer’s

intention, then translate that intention into an appropriate effort quality and attending

physical gesture. Many researchers have commented on the gestural freedom generated

from the addition of Laban studies to the conducting curriculum, but establishing the

connection of music to movement may be better served through initial study in the music-

native theories of Emile-Jaques-Dalcroze.



Of the theorists on music and movement, the application of Dalcroze’s approach

to the conducting field has had seemingly much less inquiry. This relatively small body

of work focusing specifically on the field of conducting is curious given the nature of

Dalcroze’s insights into the mind-body connections were formulated through

observations in connection with musical perception. (Dalcroze, 1900) Dalcroze

Eurhythmics has been adopted in the musicianship training curriculum of many highly

regarded university schools of music. Primarily in the eastern United States, these schools

include Oberlin College Conservatory, the Longy School of Music at Bard College, the

Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music, Carnegie Mellon University, the

Cleveland Institute of Music and Eastman School of Music among others. When viewed

in this context, the seeming dearth of studies related to the application of Dalcroze

philosophies to the study of conducting gesture and its connection to inner hearing is

puzzling. A possible reason may lie in the difficulty of the diverse nature of Dalcroze

training and the qualifications necessary to become a fully licensed practitioner of the

philosophy. (Schreiber, p. 72-73) While the training involved in obtaining certification

may indeed require a significant investment in terms of time and effort, the overall

precepts presented in Dalcroze’s work are highly adaptable. The underlying foundations

of the philosophy are widely applicable and harmonize with contemporary learning

theories regarding intermodal instruction. Given the eclectic nature of music education

generally and conductor education specifically, as well as Dalcroze’s proponents stated

avoidance of dogmatism (Neely, Bachmann), there should be a greater exploration of his


ideas applied to the field of conducting. The diversity inherent in this philosophy should

be viewed as a strength rather than a liability in the training of musicianship and in

conducting pedagogy; the interconnectedness of the physicality of the Dalcroze approach

in the areas of movement (Eurhythmics), solfége (ear training) and improvisation

(application) are essential attributes which should be taken as a solid testimony to its

applicability to conductor training.



A survey of the literature on Dalcroze’s philosophy as applied to the field of

conductor training yields several journal articles (McCoy, Dickson), a paper presented at

the first Dalcroze symposium (Pfrimmer), and a substantial exploration within a

dissertation as a part of a survey of alternative instruction used in conducting pedagogy

(Mathers 2008). These writings vary greatly in application and depth, with only Mathers

supplying any large degree of academic rigor through the inclusion of a survey gaging the

perceptions of conducting instructors in Melbourne, Australia and environs towards the

pedagogical application of Dalcroze and other philosophies.

Albert Pfrimmer

Earliest among those who have advocated for the application of Dalcroze

methodology as a means to effectively train conductors was Dalcroze’s fellow instructor

at the Geneva Conservatoire, Albert Pfrimmer. Pfrimmer’s position as the conductor of

the Conservatory Orchestra and work in Eurhythmics courses prompted his observations

on the usefulness of Dalcroze’s approach in the training of conductors. His presentation

at the First Congress of Rhythm in Geneva in the summer of 1926, L’utilité de la


méthode Jaques-Dalcroze pour le chef d'orchestre et les musiciens d’orchestre,

emphasized the method’s key components and their relationship to the role of the

conductor. For Pfrimmer, the method “accentuates and intensifies rhythmic sense,

sharpens the hearing for harmony and for phrase, strengthens the musical memory, and

develops the ability to express, through mime [or plastic], a form of body expression.”

(Irwin, p. 269) In addition to the development of these musical faculties, Pfrimmer points

to the increased lateral independence gained through study in the Dalcroze method.


Pfrimmer’s discussion progresses through a history of conductors and the

discipline of conducting citing the musical characteristics possessed by the great

conductors of the Nineteenth Century to illuminate the essential skills trained through the

Dalcroze method. (Irwin) In his assessment, conducting evolved first as an aid to

“technical and mechanical elements; secondly, the mimeo-plastic practice exemplified

the artistic element” (Irwin, p 269) Pfrimmer cites Liszt’s view of the conductor as an

agent of influence and not just merely in the sense of time beating: “We are helmsmen,

not oarsmen!” (Eckhardt, p. 10; emphasis is Liszt’s) The implications for conductor

training stem from the Dalcrozian ideal that physical manifestations of the musical do not

merely portray the musical surface but that the deeper elements become manifest.

(Dalcroze 1900) The helmsman is guided by a larger vision of destination and goals in

mind, whereas the oarsman is simply motivated in his work only in the moment-by-

moment physical task at hand; an applicable picture of musical motivation from the


John Dickson

In his 1992 article “The training of conductors through the methodology of

kinesthetics”, John Dickson relates the applicability of body motion in the training of

musicians generally and the broad acceptance of such training by the music education

establishment. In Dickson’s view, however, these methods have been utilized too

narrowly in scope and have been “relegated to the education of the youngsters learning

fundamentals or, occasionally, singers in their attempt to feel musical rhythms.

Movement has not generally been used with adults or with conductors.” (Dickson, p. 15)

This under-utilization of movement instruction in the training of conductors limits many

training courses to the acquisition of rudimentary skills without deeper connection to the

elements of musical “shape, flow and direction” (Dickson, p. 15) Dickson advocates for

the benefits of kinesthetics in sensitizing students to the inner musical motivation which

leads to physical gesture rather than a set of “programmed responses.” (Dickson, p. 15)

He further advocates, “a holistic approach to the teaching of conducting, one which

incorporates instruction in kinesthetics, Eurhythmics, dance, and poetry.” (Dickson, p.


Specifically cited are Dalcroze observations on the mind-body balance he found

in the classical training of dancers: “There are some who possess the necessary physical

suppleness, but are handicapped by lack of suppleness of mind and imagination.”

(Dickson, p. 15 from Dalcroze, 1922a) Dickson expands his quest for an interdisciplinary

rationale through the poetry of W.B. Yeats, finding in Yeats: “a wonderful sense of

philosophical questioning as he weaves in the poem a sense of lilt, sway, and ultimately,

kinesthetic ideal.” (Dickson, p. 16)


From the general topic of kinesthesia in the arts, Dickson moves to the specific

application of movement in the educational philosophies of Emile Jaques-Dalcroze and

the historical background leading to his insights. Dickson’s own dissatisfaction with the

teaching of abstract gesture “divorced from the music making process” (Dickson, p. 16)

finds a kindred desire for mind-body connection in Dalcroze’s creation of the system of


In the writings of the psychologist Erma Dosamentes Alperson, Dickson also

finds a psychological basis for Dalcroze’s insights into the accessing of deeper levels of

musical cognition made possible through kinesthetics. Alperson believes the process of

phenomenological experience occurs on two levels: the sensory/kinesthetic and the

cognitive/analytical. These levels of experience comprise a totality of perception

incorporating the Felt (right hemisphere) and the Symbolic (left hemisphere) in which the

interaction between the two domains reinforces each other. (Dickson, from Alperson, p.

159) Dickson finds that, “when we distance ourselves from the experiential body process,

we literally cut ourselves off from the kinesthetic and sensory input on which we rely to

determine our various sensations.” (Dickson, p. 17) Dickson applies these philosophical

and psychological insights in the construction of his approach to conducting pedagogy.

He applies a “three-stage methodology to the teaching of kinesthetics: Stage I, the body’s

response to music, Stage II, the conceptualization of music and its application in gesture,

and Stage III, the incorporation of kinesthetics in the music making process.” (Dickson,

p. 17)

Stage I involves active listening and physical response to music performed for the

students, mostly through recordings. Students are encouraged to move in ways that mirror

the music with time for discussion of those physical responses. Dickson describes what

are essentially Dalcrozian Plastique Animée responses to music recordings and

performances, where the students’ imaginations are allowed to express outwardly the

motivation they receive aurally. There are no right or wrong answers, only exploration

outside of the context of the usual expression of patterned conducting gestures.

Stage II moves the focus from responding to the performance of others into the

expression of gesture motivated by the internalization of musical shaping. In this stage,

the students move into an exploration of the three D’s of “design, direction, and density.”

(Dickson, p. 18) By studying the musical score, students are asked to discover the

design, or shape of the musical phrase in question. They are then directed to “trace, either

on the blackboard or in the air, the contour of musical lines. By visually graphing lines,

the inherent shapes of phrases come into focus.” (Dickson, p. 18) The next step is to

allow this perception of the musical line to influence the basic conducting patterns in way

that not only maintains the pattern, but also conveys the essence of the musical shape.

The second musical element students explore is the spatial direction of the phrase.

Dickson again employs a form of self-choreography as in the awareness exercises in

Stage I, however the musical flow now comes from an internalized conception within

rather than that received from without. Dickson encourages students to further modify

traditional patterns to reflect the linear movement and direction of the musical flow and

deemphasize even more the aspects of conducting as time beating. “One of the most

significant results of the awareness of direction is a new sense of lift. The recognition that

the vast majority of music moves ‘up’ or ‘away’ rather than ‘down’ or ‘toward’

necessitates a re-programming of the conductor’s earliest learned gestures.” (Dickson, p.


For Dickson, density is roughly the equivalent of effort in Laban’s terminology or

weight in Dalcroze’s description of energy expenditure in a given movement. Density is

imagined in terms of the medium through which the musical design moves through space.

“Three metaphors—air, water and molasses—are employed to define musical densities.”

(Dickson, p. 18) In addition to these representations, Dickson utilizes rope pulling,

partner resistance and other physical manipulations to achieve a physical sensation to

accompany the mental imagery painted by the metaphorical levels of viscosity through

which the music flows. In this way, Dickson further advocates for a Dalcrozian concept

of partnered exercise to experience shifts in musical flow and weight.

Dickson adds a further dimension through the transfer of the previous stages to

the ensemble members in the rehearsal process. Stage III exercises involve a utilization of

a kinesthetic/metaphoric component to inform the performance of style and shape. Using

the example of Handel’s chorus “Praise the Lord”, he describes a sample of metaphor and

movement by the performers in the rehearsal setting. He describes the usual interpretation

as static: “To correct this, I often combine imagery and motion, asking singers to imagine

the seven dwarfs from Snow White heading home after a ‘whistle while you work’ kind

of day. The response is a vigorous swinging of the arms and broad stepping to the quarter

notes, followed by carefree skipping and gentle sway. The innate energy of the theme is

now manifested.” (Dickson, p. 19)


Claire W. McCoy

Appearing in the December, 1994 issue of the Choral Journal, Claire W.

McCoy’s article “Eurhythmics: Enhancing the music-body connection in conductor

training” is a direct advocacy of the benefits of Dalcroze’s work applied to the field of

conducting pedagogy. This advocacy stems from her work at the Ohio State University

and the University of Minnesota in Music Education and Conductor Training, as well as

her work as an adviser to school orchestra programs in the Upper Midwest while serving

at the University of Minnesota.

After a brief reference to studies on the effective use of Laban’s theories in

conductor training (via Miller), McCoy redirects her discussion toward Dalcroze

Eurhythmics as “an even more comprehensive approach to the training of the body to be

a vehicle for musical expression.” (McCoy, p. 21) In Eurhythmics, McCoy argues, the

music and movement are integral to one another; “Eurhythmics is a process of education

in music that engages the whole body in response to music” (McCoy, p. 21; italics are


The goals of Eurhythmics are grouped into three categories: 1) mental and

emotional, 2) physical, and 3) musical. (from Abramson, p. 35) McCoy derives a set of

more detailed goals from these general goals, relating each to the role of the conductor.

(McCoy, p. 21-22) She places special emphasis on the interrelation of the physical and

musical goals, stating that: “The conductor’s use of time-space-energy-weight-balance is

critical to the communication of tempo, articulation, and dynamics. For the conductor, the

physical elements of time-space-energy-weight-balance are analogous to the tone

produced by the performers. The combination of these elements in gesture provides a


kinesthetic experience of the music for the conductor and a visual map through the music

for the ensemble.” (McCoy, p. 21) By accessing the musical via the physical, McCoy

contends Eurhythmics is a means by which conductors can understand and feel these

elements “in musical form on a deep, visceral level.” (McCoy, p. 22)

McCoy details some of the ways Dalcroze’s philosophy can manifest itself in the

training of conductors. Two Dalcroze-style warm-up exercises, one primarily physical

and one mental, are given as examples of the application of Eurhythmics. The

physical/conceptual warm-up derives from conductor Wilhelm Ehmann’s stretching

exercise of pulling an imaginary rope attached to a bell. (Ehmann, p. 117) The students

are to imagine larger and larger bells being rung, thus engaging larger and larger muscle

groups and movements in the process. As the size of the bell and movement increases, so

too do the elements of time, energy and weight required to complete the action.

An example of a mental/conceptual warm-up takes the form of a continuous

rhythmic canon, where the students are performing a rhythmic pattern while

simultaneously listening for the next pattern in four beat successions, with the instructor

monitoring for complexity. Ideally, these sorts of canons will involve large-motor groups

and will become progressively faster, more complex through the shortening or

lengthening of metric groupings only when students have sufficiently mastered the


McCoy describes a widely held philosophy of conducting as “ a series of

preparations” (McCoy, p. 22), which she aligns with the Dalcrozian concept of anacrusis.

Anacrusis in Dalcroze’s philosophy, determines a great deal in the overall musical

scheme beyond the placement of the following crusis. “[Dalcroze] postulated that the

proper feeling and movement for the anacrusis, whether it was written out or occurred as

rests, determined the performance of the subsequent part of a rhythmic group, period,

phrases and even larger sections of music. This fact is particularly apparent to conductors

who must realize that it is their preparatory movements that determine the following

sounds of the orchestra or chorus.” (Moore, p. 75, cited in McCoy, p. 23) McCoy

emphasizes that the conductor’s convincing embodiment and execution of anacrusis

comes solely from a thorough internalization of the work.

McCoy offers a variety of games and activities that are designed to embody the

concepts of anacrusis/crusis/metacrusis, phrasing and symmetrical/asymmetrical meters

using movement, gesture and manipulative props. All suggested exercises are predicated

on the following Dalcrozian precepts:

1) Rhythm is movement.
2) Rhythm is essentially physical.
3) Every movement involves time and space.
4) Musical consciousness is the result of physical experience.
5) The perfecting of physical resources results in the clarity of perception.
6) The perfecting of movements in time assures consciousness of musical
7) The perfecting of movements in space assures consciousness of plastic
8) The perfecting of movements in time and space can only be
accomplished by exercises in rhythmic movement
(McCoy, p. 23 from Dalcroze 1921, p 83)

McCoy’s observations on the effectiveness of Dalcroze’s insights find their

validity through her introduction of exercises utilizing Eurhythmics within the Music

Education and Conducting courses she taught and the benefits these experiences lent to

her students. While such evidence regarding the effectiveness of Dalcroze training in

conducting pedagogy is anecdotal, the authority of McCoy in the music education


community lends a great deal of credence to the inclusion of Eurhythmics-derived


Andrew Mathers

Mathers (2008) presents a comprehensive comparison of methodologies

employed in the course of conductor training to foster the development of expressive

gestures. Mathers explores the theories and methodologies of Alexander, Feldenkrais,

Delsarte, Laban and Dalcroze in terms of their application by conducting instructors

during the training of students and the perceived benefits of using these methods. Using a

simple survey instrument consisting of the instructors ranking the use and effectiveness

of the aforementioned methodologies and approaches, Mathers gathered a sampling of

attitudes and opinions. The relatively small sample obtained and the lack of familiarity of

over half of that sample with multiple methodologies, let alone with experience in their

employment, leaves a number of questions unanswered in terms of effectiveness in the

context of conducting courses.

Based on self-reporting surveys and ranking scales rather than pre-test/post-test

within various control groups, Mathers’s methodology is not so much a classical clinical

trial as it is anecdotal. As is the case in these types of anecdotal/observational surveys,

empiricism is rather hard to define in terms of measurability, and particularly so in a

subjective field of artistic expression. However, impressions of seasoned educators and

musicians are often the basis for assessing effectiveness in instruction and musical

communication. These perceptions and observations in terms of efficacy are given a

greater degree of validity based on the assumption of authority of the observer. As a

guide to the prevalence of the employment of the various allied fields (Dalcroze, Laban et

al.) in the augmentation of traditional conducting methods, Mathers's research can be

taken as both valid and valuable, albeit empirically and geographically limited.


Given the origins of Dalcroze’s insights from within the field of musicianship

training and the mind-body phenomenological basis of the approach, a greater

exploration of this philosophy in its application to conductor training is to be

recommended. More than any other of the approaches mentioned earlier in the chapter,

Dalcroze addresses not only gesture, but also its reciprocal impact on, and its origins in,

musical perception. Within Dalcroze’s philosophy, many of the specific issues facing the

ensemble conductor in terms of time-shaping, inner hearing and gesture are dealt with

through the music itself. The autotelic nature of this philosophy regarding the musical

challenges in conductor pedagogy strongly advocates for its inclusion in addressing those


In the interest of shedding greater light on Eurhythmics, its related tenets, and the

further potential applications in the field of conducting pedagogy, a broader discussion of

the derivation of the philosophical insights and the origins of Dalcroze’s theories follows.



Genesis of the Philosophy

To understand the Dalcroze philosophy, one must understand the circumstances

that led to its creation.

Dalcroze was professor of Harmony and Solfège at the Conservatory in

Geneva in 1892. He realized that his students could not actually hear the
harmonies they were writing. Their playing showed little sense of rhythmic
vitality. In solfège, he began to devise ear training games to develop more
acute inner hearing. These games sharpened the students’ perceptions and
resulted in more sensitive responses to the musical aspects of performance:
timing, articulation, tone quality, and phrase shape. Dalcroze noticed his
students would exhibit subtle, spontaneous movements – swaying, tapping a
foot, a slight swinging of the arms – as they sang. The body was conscious of
the life and movement of the music.

Dalcroze capitalized on these natural, instinctive gestures. He asked

his students to walk and swing their arms, or to conduct while they
sang or listened to him improvise at the piano. He called this study of
music through movement “Eurhythmics,” from the Greek roots “eu”
and “rhythmos” meaning “good flow.” (What is Dalcroze, Dalcroze Society of
America 2013, edited Thomsen, accessed 4/20/2014)
In his own words, Dalcroze described the catalyst that lead to the genesis of his

philosophy. His statement closely echoes the issues expressed in Chapter One of the

present work:

During the twenty years I have been professor of harmony at the

Conservatoire of Geneva, I have had many opportunities of recognizing how
defective in the most elementary musical ability were the majority of my
pupils, even the most advanced. I found the simplest elements—the
recognition of pitch and the sense of rhythm—so imperfectly developed that
theoretical teaching could be given only in the most tortuous way and through
continual obstacles. It was through discovering that nine out of every ten
pupils understand and “live” music so little that I resolved to give all my time
to the development of the child’s musical powers, so that he might
subsequently be passed on to his instrumental and technical studies under the
conditions which would enable him to regard this very technique as a means

of asserting himself, of carrying out his personal determination and feelings,

instead of allowing it to become a means of slavishly imitating the thoughts
and feelings of others. (Dalcroze 1930, p. 50)

From these observations Dalcroze’s three distinct but interrelated areas of

emphasis emerged: Eurhythmics, Solfége, and Improvisation. Each area incorporates (in

the literal sense, embodies) the student’s physical being, the surrounding space and

movement. By connecting the outward phenomena of sound and sight with kinesthetics,

Dalcroze found that images held within inner hearing could be externalized more freely

and aural perception more deeply internalized. Throughout his career, these early

observations were the basis for refining his precepts leading to a far-branching

diversification in application, all the while maintaining an improvisatory component.

The Tenets of the Philosophy

Mead (1994) encapsulates the Dalcroze philosophy through the definition of four

basic touchstone premises and purposes:

1. Eurhythmics awakens the physical, aural, and visual images of music in the
2. Solfège (sight-singing and ear-training), improvisation, and Eurhythmics
together work to improve expressive musicality and enhance intellectual
3. Music may be experienced through speech, gesture, and movement. These
can likewise be experienced in time, space, and energy.
4. Humans learn best when learning through multiple senses. Music should be
taught through the tactile, the kinesthetic, the aural, and the visual senses.
(Mead, p. 5)


At the core of the Dalcroze philosophy is the belief that physical experience is a

means of directly accessing the mental, and the mind and body are inextricably linked in

the learning process. Dalcroze explains the relationship between body and mind: not only

is there a physical gymnastics but “there is also a purely mental gymnastics intended to

develop memory, concentration of mind, will, etc.” (Dalcroze 1930, p. 3)

To Dalcroze, the separation of the two experiences leads to a lessening of both

experiences and only together do they create deeper learning. “The spontaneous rhythms

of the body have synchronous mental rhythms to collaborate with them. Whenever there

is a change in a mental rhythm, to restore balance the bodily rhythm must be modified

and vice versa. Unfortunately, the balance between the two rhythms is generally

compromised by nervous oppositions. The bodily rhythm, thus uninformed, cannot adapt

itself to the mental rhythm; the mind combats matter. Hence disorder throughout the

organism, disharmony of the various parts of the individual, depriving the psycho-

physical faculties of their full freedom of action”. (Dalcroze 1930, p. 5)

In Dalcrozian philosophy, the physical exploration of space plays a key role in the

intellectual understanding of rhythm. The principles outlined follow closely the science

of physics and comprise a personal experience of the laws of motion and effort: “Any

movement we have to perform in a given tempo requires further muscular preparation if

we wish to repeat it in a different tempo. A line traversed by a limb in a given space and

time becomes shorter or longer according to the degree of energy required to make the

movement. A duration of time occupied by a limb moving at a given rate of muscular

energy becomes prolonged or shortened according to the length of the space to be

traversed. Moreover, each modification of space, duration, or force, exercises such an

influence on the balance of the body that it must be inevitably accompanied by an entire

series of correcting efforts made by muscles that either helps or hinder. Any error in the

transmission of cerebral decisions brings anarchy into the muscular system. All resistance

in the nervous system disturbs the brain, and any error of the brain disturbs the nervous

system. In a word, the many factors of our life of movement act co-operatively.”

(Dalcroze 1930, p. 11)

In corporeal terms, Dalcroze explains the role of the body as individuals come

into contact with the world outside themselves and the need to explore those

understandings in terms that proceed from the external (natural laws) to the internal

(understanding). “If we are aware that the science of rhythm consists mainly in fixing the

laws of balance and economy, and if we make the needed effort to humanize this science

in such fashion that we feel it vibrating and thrilling in our own body, as a living part of

ourselves, we shall have much less trouble and difficulty in studying its many problems.

We shall also expend less time, for we shall be able to economize and balance will and

strength, to establish the right relations between strength and time, between time and

will.” (Dalcroze 1930, p. 11)

Dalcroze’s insights are closely aligned with Piaget’s theories of cognitive and

affective development. These theories of the development of schemata for the concepts of

conservation of number, volume, and area depend upon sensorimotor interaction to

achieve. (Wadsworth, p.87) Cognitive development is measured in relation to the

attainment of certain key benchmarks in order for intellectual progress to occur.

According to Piaget’s theories, early in life (pre-operational) these experiences are

primarily on the level of physical experience. Once acquired in a pre-operational schema,

the concept progresses through further contact and context into the state of concrete

operations, where it can be applied primarily in physical contact with the material,

physical object present. The stage of formal operations begins when the object’s physical

presence is no longer necessary to fully conceptualize its nature and attributes and the

object can undergo any number of manipulations within in the mind. In musical terms,

this formal operational stage represents the skills of inner hearing and aural imaging seen

as critical to the conductor by Kahn, Scherchen, Prausnitz, Garofalo, and Battisti et al.

This view of the initial acquisition of intellect through tactile and kinesthetic contact with

the physical world harmonizes with the Dalcrozian philosophy of cognition.


Though not as widely practiced and advocated in this country as is Eurhythmics

proper, one of the key aspects of Dalcroze’s work deals with pitch training through

solfége. Improving aural acuity and the acquisition of a fuller understanding of musical

function was a primary concern for Dalcroze, as outlined in the genesis of his work

above. This concern in the realm of pitch developed into Dalcroze’s approach to solfége.

As is characteristic of Dalcroze’s overall approach there is a great deal of freedom

and ongoing assessment through observation that occurs as a lesson unfolds. The

flexibility to meet the needs of the student at that moment does not negate the existence

of an underlying schema for instruction. “Although the approach is difficult to define

precisely, it is possible to describe some of the basic principles, methodology, and

content of Dalcroze solfège as it is taught in the United States.” (Thomsen, p. 69) Key to

the approach is the following set of characteristics: “1.Exercises should have a rhythmic

component. 2. Exercises should have an identifiable musical goal. 3.Exercises should

develop inner hearing.” (Thomsen, p.69)

Dalcroze believed that the experience of whole and half steps was key to this

understanding (c.f. Kahn). “Not before [the pupil] can unhesitatingly pick out this

distinction, whether in singing or in listening, can there be any question of embarking on

a further subject of study.” (Dalcroze 1905, p. 30) The belief that physical reaction and

response deepen understanding guide the instructor in ascertaining comprehension

beyond the ability to intellectually identify and label the interval. The most natural is the

ability to listen and vocally imitate what is heard, assuring a modicum of assimilation.

Most Dalcroze instructors also employ an outer physical representation of the concept in

conjunction with vocalization. The use of a closed or open hand, taking an appropriate-

sized step, or other physical representations of the musical space is part of the expression

of cognition. Alternative bodily depictions of the aural sensation of tone and semitone

can be made through cooperative experiences: “partners stand close together for half

steps and farther apart for whole steps. Interacting socially, learning from classmates, and

making discoveries are essential characteristics of a Dalcroze class.” (Thomsen, p. 69)

From this point, the students’ experience of tone and semitone move into diatonic

contexts through scalar motion utilizing combinations of whole and half steps. These

experiences are of short ascending or descending sequences of 2,3,4, or more notes

(dichord, trichord, tetrachord, etc.) comprising patterns that would be found in the

diatonic system, with an initial avoidance of chromaticism. Instruction in scales and keys

proceeds through the assimilation of the shorter patterns of trichord and tetrachord to the

combination of the various species of each into longer patterns comprising complete

scales. The Dalcroze solfége approach advocates always starting with the note C

regardless of the tonic note, with some of the rationale being the acquisition of perfect

pitch, that the octave C-C is comfortable for the majority of voices present in any class,

and to illustrate tonality is not dependent on starting pitch but is generated through the

relative placement of tones and semitones. (Dalcroze 1930, p. 135; Thomsen, p. 72)

After establishing the key of C major, the class then moves to singing entire

scales in the range of C to C. This can be achieved through the application of a key

signature and adjusting the affected note by semitone in the appropriate direction. This

process creates differing modal patterns of tones and semitones sung from C to C yield

all twelve keys (with the accommodation that C must become C# once in it required).

Part of the process involves the singing of each pitch on a neutral syllable, but as the

establishment of both absolute as well as relative pitch are also concerned, Dalcroze’s

solfége approach also applies fixed solfeggio as well as scale degrees. (Thomsen, p. 68)

By advocating the singing of scales (and melodies) using fixed Do, the goal of

establishing a sense of absolute pitch is sought through repeated association of a musical

sound with a syllable. (In the Latin-language countries, the debate with reference to fixed

do verses movable do is a non-starter, as the syllables are the convention by which pitch

is named, just as in the “Germanic-language” countries letter names serve the same

purpose. In this way, letter names could serve as a substitute for the fixed do convention.)

The understanding of the tonal implications of scale degrees and resolution

patterns of those degrees is perhaps of greatest importance in the training of the inner

sense of hearing. Resonating with the musical structural theories of Heinrich Schenker,

Dalcroze’s belief in the organicism of tonal music practice makes clear his view of these

implications. “Suffice it to say that all the tonal elements of music may be studied at the

outset by the sole means of that international melody called the scale. Chords,

counterpoint, modulation, design and form: all is contained in this melody and may be

explained by it.” (Dalcroze 1930, p. 139) The construction of the tonal patterns within the

C-C scale regardless of key, is confirmed aurally by the application of scale degrees in

the Dalcroze approach. Students are encouraged to seek the aural and physical sensation

of the tonic when singing scales in a C to C context, pausing on and improvising patterns

confirming cadential arrival when the appropriate sensation of rest is created through the

combinations and sequences whole- and semi-tone patterns. When the tonic is identified,

the exercise continues the exploration of the key through a shift away from the singing of

fixed do solfége or letters (absolute identification) to the singing of scale degrees

(functional identification). (Thomsen, p. 72)


David Frego, founder of the Dalcroze Research Center at the Ohio State

University, describes the technique of Plastique Animée (plastique) as:

The culminating experience in a Dalcroze class, a Plastique combines the

skills addressed throughout the class, and from previous rhythmic
experiences, into a loosely based choreography that is both physically
expressive and musical. The students are provided with the basics of the
requirements and are asked to spontaneously create an interactive composition
with the music. Someone who is stepping into a Dalcroze studio at that
moment would see music in motion and might not be aware that the
movement is spontaneous.

For Dalcroze, the ultimate measure of a student’s musical understanding comes

from spontaneous response demonstrating a thorough assimilation of the concepts

expressed in Solfége Rhythmique and Eurhythmics. These expressions take the form of a

physical synthesis of the musical impulses stored in the mind through movement and in

musical terms through improvisation. Both display the student’s ability to draw on stored

musical and kinesthetic images in order to manipulate and express them in the physical

world of the body and sound creation. Dalcroze designed exercises consisting of a series

of physical state changes, scripted at first, aimed at freeing movement and returning it to

an organic, effortless and plastic condition, with the end goal of spontaneity in action and

reaction. These exercises place special emphasis on the “natural relations between

muscular dynamism and the laws of agogics or time-divisions—the study of nuances of

duration.” (Dalcroze 1930 p. 15)

Dalcroze outlines the exercises in Plastic Movement as an exploration of the full

gamut of human gesture and kinesthetic experience. The technique strives to incorporate

not only “all the muscular possibilities of contraction and expansion, [but also] every

shade of energy and duration.” (Dalcroze 1930, p. 15) In Dalcroze’s view, many

individual’s experience of the kinesthetic is often limited by their participation in very

selective physical activities, such as the movements found in a single sport. (Dalcroze

1930, p.15) This narrowness of physical experience will necessarily result in a

narrowness of the gestural palette available to the student. In the Dalcrozian reciprocal

view of mind and body, this may also translate to a resulting narrowing of musical

cognition and aural imaging ability. The exercises are to be performed with as little

restriction in movement as possible—Dalcroze advocates a barefoot approach and

clothing that allows for freedom of physical gesture. “The man who walks easily in a

loose jersey and without footwear, cannot move with ease when wearing tight-fitting

clothes and narrow boots with heels”. (Dalcroze 1930, p. 18)

One of the goals of the technique of moving plastic is to attune the inner ear and

physical movement in order to by-pass the process of conscious construction in the

formation of gesture. “The body, constantly under pressure, should also be constantly in a

state of effortless motion and evolution according to the idea originating in the brain, and

should react unresistingly to the spontaneous promptings of the fancy; and that,

conversely, the instinctive rhythms of a body freed from all intellectual control will

enrich the imagination and increase the manifestations both of will and of whim. This

technique of reaction as well as of action may be compared with that at the disposal of a

fencer, though, instead of being specialized in one of two limbs, in necessitates the co-

operation of every part of the body. The acquisition of this technique is the result of a

series of extremely complicated actions. Indeed, it takes for granted not only the practical

knowledge of all the muscular possibilities of contraction and expansion, in every shade

of energy and duration, but also the continual collaboration of the nerve centres, as

controlling faculties, with every limb of the body, with each isolated part of that limb,

with each association of that limb (or one of its isolated parts) with one or more other

parts of the body.” (Dalcroze 1930, p. 15)

The end goal, as it applies to the interrelations between musical performance,

composition and improvisation is to impart the freedom to express what the mind has

acquired through the body in equal reciprocity. To this end Dalcroze cautions against

over-reliance on the prescriptive use of consciously imposed gesture, instead stressing the

plastic interaction of music and gesture as the defining element in musicianship.

“A rational and conscious plastic interpretation of musical rhythms is based

wholly on pantomime. In the lyric domain, on the other hand, we are dealing with a quite

distinctive transformation of sound movement into body movement by means of an

intimate permeation of the emotional essence of music. The classical unity of the

dramatic musical product, the fusion of gesture, music and word, is at present realized

only in exceptional cases, for though music and word, though word and gesture, are

closely blended in certain works, it is far more rare to find communion between gesture

and music.” (Dalcroze 1926, p. 61)


For Dalcroze, improvisation is a critical component of the process, both as a

means to instruction and as an end to assessment of student learning and the assimilation

of musical cognition. “The well-taught child is extremely fond of improvisation, for it

exercises his innate powers of expression and creation. He who is able to express himself

succeeds all the sooner in expressing the feelings of others.” (Dalcroze 1930, p. 140)

Improvisation, then is not only a musical-creative process, but also a means of defining

syntax and structure that leads to fluency and comprehension. Research linking increases

in reading comprehension scores with daily expressive writing prompts analogizes with

this point of utilizing self expression through composition (or its spontaneous equivalent

of improvisation) in assigning meaning to the written thoughts of others. (Collins)

The rudiments of improvisation are found first in the reaction to musical

phenomena through physical gesture. “Quick Reaction Exercises were developed to

address the temporal and spatial aspects of behavior: anticipation, organization,

coordination, and follow-through. They increase learning by activating, focusing, and

creating a fluidity of attention and a plasticity in the body.” (Boyarsky, p. 15) Students

react to a predetermined aural/musical/visual prompt with a change in an established

movement flow, much as a chamber musician or a conductor might be called upon to

respond musically or gesturally in the performance process. “Sensibility is closely allied

to sensation. To be a sensitive musician, it is necessary to appreciate the nuance not only

of pitch, but also of the dynamic energy and the varying rapidity of the movements.

These nuances must be appreciated not only by the ear but also by the muscular sense.”

(Dalcroze 1921, p. 51)

Boyarsky further describes musical prompts: “There is a prearranged signal that

instructs the student to change some action at a specific moment in time, a previously

determined beat, or as soon as possible after realization. The signal can be auditory

(pitch, harmony, or percussion), visual, or tactile, and the response is a motor reaction

(movement or immobility) that keeps the pupil engaged, flexible, and awake. It

demonstrates effectively which student has understood and processed the material”.

(Boyarsky, p. 16) The level of sophistication of the prompt can vary significantly as the

student’s musical comprehension increases—from a simple stop when the music stops to

“when you hear a Neapolitan chord stop everything and kneel.” (Boyarsky, p. 17)

Improvisation becomes a primary method of assessment in all domains in the

training of musicianship in the Dalcroze philosophy. Within the process of solfége

training, students are often encouraged to improvise melodies given the pitch materials

presented in the lesson. An example is provided in the learning of contextualization of the

trichord on C D and E. In addition to 1-2-3 and 5-6-7 “the third possibility for DRM

[CDE] as 4–5–6 could be introduced with a melody such as that in Figure 10.”

“Once all three possibilities for the species 1 [whole-whole] trichord have been

introduced, students can improvise melodies beginning DRM, but without identifying for

the class what they intend. This way, both the improviser and the other students are

actively engaged in ear training”. (Thomsen, p. 74) The depth of assimilation required in

the process of improvisation involves not only the higher cognitive levels associated with

creativity, but a full internalization of the concept of the shifting context of tonic.

Improvisation is not only a key component in the student’s response to musical

contexts, but also for the instructor’s design, flow and implementation of material.

Modern advocates of Dalcroze’s philosophies emphasize the role of improvisation and

experimentation for the instructor developing exercises for exploring the connections of

mind and body. (Bachmann, Thomsen, Neely) The application of Dalcroze’s techniques

of integration of movement and music can find application in a wide variety of ages and

situations. “Eurhythmics is based on the joint mobilization of mind and body—

specifically on those faculties which enable us to act, react, and adapt to the surrounding

world in order to cope with it to best advantage. It can therefore work for anyone, at any

place, regardless of his or her age or ability, or of his or her personal problems, whether

known or unknown. In other words, it demands no particular a priori talent on the part of

anyone approaching it, except those who are studying it in order to teach it to others.”

(Bachmann, p 21) All based in the general philosophy of incorporating the kinesthetic

experience of motion and space, Bachmann describes three very different approaches to

initial pupil exercises which demonstrate the importance of the “two-way adaptive

process” found in Dalcrozian instruction (Bachmann, p. 35)

Case 1: Class of Adults with no prior musical instruction

Bachmann’s first scenario applies Dalcrozian techniques in the context of a

presumably recreational class of adults interested in exploring music solely for pleasure

and enrichment. This sort of class is in line with Dalcroze’s belief in the concept of the

“perfectible adult” (Bachmann, p. 21) and the enrichment Eurhythmics could provide to

even those with disabilities. (Maneveau, p. 184), and is held apart from the application of

the concepts for the training of teachers, musicians and specialists in movement.

(Bachmann, p. 22)

Within any given class structure, a teacher has an array of initial choices to make

in the way of an introduction to the overall subject of mind-body alignment. The scenario

Bachmann describes begins with an invitation for the pupils to walk freely about the

room, without the accompaniment of music. In the course of walking, the pupils are

asked to become aware of their individual pace and that of the others in the class. From

here, the instructor asks that each student should try to match the pace of all those

surrounding—making “mutual concessions to one another.” (Bachmann, p. 35) After the

entire class has reached a common pace, the instructor may then begin to improvise a

suitable accompaniment matching the consensus tempo.

Bachmann states the arrival at a common pace may be facilitated through a

variety of modalities, primarily visual and auditory. These cues are then given large-

motor physical expression in the guise of walking, signifying a trans-modal transference

of information. This sort of transference occurs constantly as a matter of course in

musicians, where visual cues (notation, the conductors gestures) are interpreted and elicit

reactions from the musician, leading to physical recreation through performance

(physical motion and sound creation). In the case of adults with little or no musical

training, accomplishing the task of coordinating walking pace through accommodation

and consensus is an initiation into the realm of musicianship.


Case 2: Class of Young Children

Bachmann’s second scenario places a group of 4-5 year old children in an

unfamiliar space together for the first time. The first order of business in this case

involves an exploration of the space and its novelties. Bachmann’s classroom is replete

with a disused fireplace, a bench lining one of the walls, and a recessed space in one of

the walls. Observing the curiosity of the children, the instructor brings the attention of all

to the various novelties of the room. Through a series of pantomimes, the children are

encouraged to imagine the space in various fanciful settings and make use of the space to

act out these flights of imagination.

Through this seemingly capricious exercise, the students are not only made more

comfortable with their learning environment and are beginning to interact constructively

with one another and the instructor, but they have been initiated into a great many

psychomotor activities as well. “We have exercised our muscles and our sense of balance

(jumping from the bench); raised our voices; blown things (imaginary fire building) and

overcome obstacles; we’ve experienced silence (sneaking into the cubby hole) and tried

to squeeze ourselves all into a confined space.” (Bachmann 2002, p. 38) In essence, the

children have exercised their ability to imagine scenarios and objects not physically

present, an imaging skill that can also be applied to musical objects as well when the time

is right.

Bachmann does subsequently supply a musical accompaniment as the children

revisit the various spatial locations and the imaginary activity associated with each as

well as the type of locomotion to move between these stations. “We confidently walk

towards the stove; we rush across the room to be the first to jump; we tiptoe along to our

hiding-place again.” (Bachmann 2002, p. 38) The actions and locomotion take on greater

connection with the piano improvisation due to their cross-associations and greater

mental fixation is facilitated and reinforced through music and kinesthetic learning. This

double feedback creates the “joint mobilization of mind and body” which Dalcroze

believes inseparable from the processes of full actualization.

Case 3: Class of Professional Choral Conductors and Educators

In a third scenario, the instructor is asked to present a session on Eurhythmics at a

conference attended by professional choral musicians and educators. Given a general

assumption that the pupils involved would possess musical and vocal training and

probably an overlapping repertoire, the instructor chooses an activity in expressing

internal singing. Each participant was asked to think of a song that they knew well and

was likely to be known well by at least a majority of the other participants. They were

asked to keep their choice a secret while singing the first verse internally for at least two

or three times without skipping either word or pitch. In way of a commentary on the inner

hearing of many in the group, Bachmann states, “This turned out to be a novel experience

for most of them, and required no little concentration on their part.” (Bachmann, p. 38)

Once it was felt that the majority of the participants had sufficiently internalized

their selection, they were encouraged to “let the song ‘move’ them—literally—until the

whole song was welling up inside them”. (Bachmann, p. 38) Given the similarities in

cultural and professional background, it was Bachmann’s initial intention that many

would have chosen the same song and this would have become apparent to the

participants who would have been encouraged to seek those expressing the same music to

congregate together.

To Bachmann’s surprise, there seemed to be as many different musical selections

being expressed as there were participants, with no real discernible consensus forming. In

Dalcrozian fashion, Bachmann improvised a new means to the end of discovering

physical expression of inner musical cognition by asking for a few of the most

convincing interpreters to consent to participate in a kind of gestural charades where they

would stand before a segment of the other participants and have them venture guesses at

the musical selection. “One of the songs was picked out almost immediately, though it

was by no means the best known. Even before its first performance was at an end, the

whole group was singing it, having (so to speak) hauled themselves aboard the moving

train!” (Bachmann, p. 40)

Other songs were less readily identified, with guesses being ventured that bore

certain similarities. Through trial and error and discussion of the salient characteristics

displayed in the physical gestures, the participants were able to correctly name each song.

Although the process was not the original intention of the instructor, the principles of a

Dalcrozian lesson flow were evidenced at all times in the proceedings, and the following

discussion of the conventions of choral directing and inner musical expression were

found to be worth the adjustments made to the original instructional design. The

instruction stayed true to the overall intention of seeking to “transform the whole

organism into what might be called an internal ear.” (Bachmann, p. 40, from Dalcroze

1898, p. 10)

Each of the above scenarios displays the flexibility in instruction through

feedback and observation that are the hallmark of the best in Dalcroze education. This

feedback and observation is also in evidence as well in the best practices of podium

technique and ensemble interaction. Dalcroze educator and pupil are in a constant state of

improvisatory flow, reacting to one another through the musical and physical

environment. This analogizes nearly seamlessly concerning the ideal interactions of

conductor/ensemble/musical score as described previously by Prausnitz, Scherchen et al.

The flow thus created has been described in psychological terms by Mihaly

Csikszentmihalyi and has at its root a set of ideal conditions. For Csikszentmihalyi,

The flow experience has the following attributes:

•There are clear goals every step of the way

•There is immediate feedback to one’s actions
•There is a balance between challenges and skills
•Action and awareness are merged
•Distractions are excluded from consciousness
•There is no worry of failure
•Self-consciousness disappears
•The sense of time becomes distorted
•The activity becomes autotelic
(Csikszentmihalyi, p. 6)

Bachmann describes this autotelic flow in Dalcrozian terms as “a series of

choices” (Bachmann, p. 44). This flow embraces the freedom, focus and sense of safety

in the learning environment expressed by Csikszentmihalyi. “Once initiated into his own

responsibilities, the Eurhythmics teacher will have to select from the means at his

disposal those he considers most appropriate to his current situation. It is first and

foremost in respect to his own development (i.e., that ‘working upon himself’ that he has

carried out, as well as of the various areas which he ought to have mastered) that he must

be up to the task of making a certain number of choices.” (Bachmann p.44, italics are

original) This interaction viewed as a series of choices analogizes to the approach

advocated many of the authors on the score study and rehearsal processes (Prausnitz,

Garofalo, Battisti).

Dalcroze himself illuminates the importance of drawing from within in an

improvisatory manner and the application “those laws particular to a given temperament

which justify the bending of rules form the substance of truly original teaching, in which

the teacher’s personality ought properly to be revealed” (Dalcroze 1900). In conducting,

as in Eurhythmics, the insertion of the personality is always in service to illuminating the

musical subject and not just a capricious abandonment of the intention of the instructions

in the composer’s score. It is rather the freedom to explore pathways and improvise

solutions in motion to musical issues.

This insertion of personality stands in contrast to a fault Dalcroze detractors

commonly assert: the perception that the philosophy is too prescriptive in its exercises

and approach. Critics frequently point to Dalcroze’s “Rules of Nuance” to bolster this

view. Such treatises are a common product of musicians seeking to find a “grammar” and

common practice in the language in which they work. Dalcroze’s “rules” echo similar

codifications in the theoretical works of Leopold Mozart (Treatise on the Fundamental

Principles of Violin Playing, 1787), Francesco Geminiani (A Treatise of Good Taste in

the Art of Musick, 1749) among many others. While seemingly representing a

standardization of interpretive choice, many musicians would agree with the application

of these “rules” in a generic way as a starting point for developing nuance and phrasing.

(Casals, Jagow, p. 113, Caldwell, Neely) Balancing this criticism of the generic are the

previously quoted statements Dalcroze made on the “bending of rules” and revelation of

“personality” in the music education process. In this light, there is a respect for both

improvisation (personal expression) and the boundaries of orthodoxy (stylistic adherence)


in Dalcroze; this balance can well serve musicians in any discipline, especially the

instructor and pupils of the discipline of conducting.

Differences in expression and interpretation are not only tolerated in the Dalcroze

approach but are encouraged: “A striking phenomenon in lessons in Eurhythmics is the

extreme diversity of individual movements on the part of those who do the same

exercises together, to the same music. In other words, there are great differences of

interpretation of the same musical rhythms by different persons. This variety corresponds

exactly to the personal characteristics of the various pupils, and it may be interesting to

see why this individual factor, so striking in our classes, is absent in gymnastic or

military exercises where hundreds of individuals do the same movement in the same

way.” (Dalcroze 1930, p. 110)


While the adoption of the Dalcroze approach has not been widespread in

conducting-specific training courses at the undergraduate level, there are a number of

institutions in the United States that have found great value in the philosophy’s effective

impact in general musicianship training. The inclusion of Eurhythmics and the

application of Dalcrozian tenets in the areas of solfége and improvisation in post-

secondary schools of music from early in the history of the philosophy and the longevity

of these programs point to the wide-applicability of the philosophy. These programs are

geographically clustered in the northeastern part of the country, but encompass a number

of highly respected conservatories and music training schools.





The implementation of a Dalcrozian approach in the early stages of music

education has been widely embraced in this country for many years, mostly in the

adoption of Eurhythmics in the elementary general music curriculum. Less pervasive is

the implementation of Dalcroze’s methodology at the post-secondary level. This lack of

widespread embracing of the methodology may have much to do with its perception as

movement-centered approach dealing mainly with the training of rhythm in young

children and the aforementioned issues of certification.

However, there are a number of collegiate music programs that are making use of

Dalcroze training either as a supplement or as integral to some or all of their courses of

study. These incorporations vary greatly in duration, design and emphasis with some

required for undergraduate music majors, some elective and others leading to certification

and/or licensure at either the undergraduate or graduate level.

Utilizing gesture and movement through the tenets of Eurhythmics and

Dalcrozian solfége in the training of musicians in these programs flows seamlessly into

the topics most at the core of conductor training. With a solid foundation in the basis of

embodied music learning, students in these programs have the advantage of dealing with

the issues facing many beginning conductors early in their college program. By

addressing the topic of gesture as a manifestation of the score from the perspective of the

core curriculum, the demands of the podium are more of a re-contextualization than a

presentation of entirely new concepts. In this light, conducting pedagogy properly


becomes an extension of musicianship training, a highly desirable path for any program

preparing students to become ensemble leaders.

The following situations regarding Dalcroze training are ostensibly ordered

according to potential impact on the overall musicianship training provided at the

exemplar institutions under each heading. The impact on conductor training is not only

dependent on the breadth of application and required contact hours for degree

completion, but also on the depth to which the philosophy is evidenced in each situation

and carried into conducting coursework. Among the variables creating depth of

experience are items such as the strengths of the individual instructors, the intensity of

the individual sessions, etc. It is therefore possible that a one-time workshop may be as

impactful as a four-semester sequence of coursework when it comes to effectiveness in

musicianship training, or in opening new lines of inquiry in conducting pedagogy. The

following is a brief survey of curricular and extra-curricular offerings in the Dalcroze



Appalachian State University

One of any number of schools that invite guest clinicians on a variety of subjects,

Appalachian State University regularly brings in master teachers to explore aspects of the

field of music in greater depth or from varying perspectives. One recent clinician was

Steven Neely, a Diplomate of the Institute Jaques-Dalcroze and faculty member at

Carnegie Mellon University.

According to Chung Park, Director of Orchestras at Appalachian State University

and Mr. Neely’s faculty sponsor for the clinic, “I recently had Stephen Neely, who's in

charge of undergraduate D-E [Dalcroze-Eurhythmics] instruction for a three day

residency here at Appalachian, and the reaction was stunning. He's had similar results

with groups I've had working with him at my former position.” (Park, in an email

conversation dated March 17, 2014) These sorts of workshops form a large portion of Mr.

Neely’s work outside of Carnegie Mellon University and have led to greater

understanding of the benefits of Dalcroze study. “It is all about realizing where true

musicianship lies in ourselves. The body is the first instrument. The physical instruments,

or voices, or conductor’s batons are only there to serve as vehicles for sharing the music

that is first experienced in ourselves. The training provides concrete experiences in this

phenomena, giving the performers more tangible and clear goals to match when in live

performance”. (Neely, in an email conversation dated March 25, 2014)

Colorado State University

Another institution that sponsors workshops in Dalcroze training is Colorado

State University. The Dalcroze Academy at Colorado State University is held every

summer in conjunction with Dalcroze School of the Rockies and the Professional Studies

Program at Colorado State University. Extension credits may be registered through the

university, but is not required for participation in the workshops. As part of a larger path

to certification and licensure, this coursework takes place outside of the normal academic

offerings at the school. In this respect, the Dalcroze Academy is a hybrid of workshop

and supplemental training that does not lead to the granting of a traditional degree.

Additional requirements are ongoing: “Eurhythmics is the cornerstone of the

method Jaques-Dalcroze, so participation in weekly Adult Eurhythmics courses is

mandatory unless extenuating circumstances will not allow. If this is the case, we will

need to make provisions to ensure that appropriate standards are being met. A minimum

of forty-five class hours of Eurhythmics study is required for certification, and seventy-

five class hours of Eurhythmics study is required for licensure.” (Dittus, p.4) A series of

checkpoints and examinations are also expected as part of certification/licensure making

for a standardized formal evaluation of the student’s qualifications in the Dalcroze


The self-selecting nature of participation in this sort of course and the fact it is not

part of the normal academic structure of the university lessens the possibility of wider

impact on musicianship training. Those who wish to participate in Dalcroze training in

this setting have likely already gained a broad experience with the philosophy and these

courses serve merely to further the attendees’ career aspirations as practitioners of

Eurhythmics at a higher level.


Hamline University

Hamline University offers Dalcroze Eurhythmics as an elective choice in the

fulfillment of the Bachelor of Arts in Music. This sort of offering appeals to the eclectic

musician who may be curious about the philosophy and wishes to explore possibilities in

the sense of a Liberal Arts education. Falling outside the core music curriculum and

listing familiarity with note reading as its only prerequisite, the goal of offering Dalcroze

in this situation is not for the specific training of musicianship or any targeted skill

acquisition. Courses of this type are of great use in the general education sequence as an

introduction to Dalcroze applications, cutting across a wider cross-section of the student


population than a course with more restrictive prerequisites. A course description is

included in APPENDIX 1.

While these types of courses are more accessible than those represented by

summer academies and workshops, they are again self-selective. Being elective, by

definition they exist within a spectrum of choices that may fulfill a component of the

degree requirements. The benefits of Dalcroze Eurhythmics training explained in the

course description may not be experienced in the same way as part of the general

musicianship unless the philosophy of the department or the individual instructors

incorporate the approach in those areas.


Other institutions offer Dalcroze certification as part of their graduate studies in

music. The University of St. Thomas offers a degree-granting program for the Master of

Arts in Music Education with a Dalcroze concentration. “The curriculum features high

quality education in Eurhythmics, Solfége and Improvisation, and materials and methods-

all of which are highlighted in three one-credit courses per level of study. Dalcroze study

at St. Thomas introduces students to music education that trains the body in rhythm and

dynamics; trains the ear, eye and voice in pitch, melody, and harmony using fixed-do;

and combines Eurhythmics and Solfége according to the students' own invention, while

providing application tools for classroom and studio.”


accessed March, 29, 2014)

Similar programs are offered at either the graduate or undergraduate level at

schools such as the Longy School of Music at Bard College, the Cleveland Institute of

Music, and Carnegie Mellon University. Collectively, these programs offer specialization

that would benefit those who wish to teach with a certification in Dalcroze Eurhythmics,

much like the summer academy at Colorado State University, albeit in what would seem

to be a more traditional academic setting. Fairly narrow in targeting future Eurhythmics

instructors, such programs are generally useful in spreading the philosophy through the

propagation of qualified practitioners. Unlike the program at The University of St.

Thomas mentioned above, the following programs require Dalcroze coursework as a part

of all undergraduate degrees. This broader application of the philosophy at the

undergraduate level would seem to influence a greater number of musicians and find

greater implementation in conductor training.

Longy School of Music at Bard College

The Longy School is one of the few schools surveyed that does not have an

undergraduate requirement in Eurhythmics for its music majors, though the school does

offer outreach and community classes in Dalcroze. Longy does offer courses in Dalcroze

pedagogy as part of its Master of Music program, thus giving a validity to the philosophy

through an endorsement of its unique attributes in the music education of children,

adolescents and adults as well as applicability across the educational spectrum of

instructional situations.

“Dalcroze Eurhythmics is a unique and powerful way to cultivate musical

awareness and understanding. It utilizes the physical response to music, redefining the

coordination between ear, brain, and body to develop musicianship and musical

imagination in a joyful and stimulating way. An ‘embodied’ sense of rhythm, harmony,

and melody leads to vital performance and teaching. Dalcroze is an ideal area of

specialization for the musician who loves many aspects of music-making: teaching,

performing, creating, dancing, acting. It utilizes all the arts in a workshop for musical

learning. Applicable to all ages and learning levels, it is suitable for the classroom,

private studio, special-needs class, music therapy session, or college theory class.”

“The Longy Dalcroze Program is available to any students enrolled in one of

Longy’s Master of Music programs and requires an additional third year of study as well

as two sessions of the Longy Dalcroze Summer Institute. Students focus primarily on

M.M. requirements during the first two years of the program but do take some Dalcroze

classes during their second year. The third year is devoted exclusively to Dalcroze

study.” (from URL:

programs/programs/dalcroze-Eurhythmics/dalcroze-certificate-and-license/, accessed


Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM)

In contrast to other programs, The Cleveland Institute of Music offers a

specialization in Dalcroze Eurhythmics at the undergraduate rather than at the graduate

level. This specialization is a stand-alone major and is not in conjunction with a major in

any other area and leads to a Bachelor of Music with Specialization in Eurhythmics


Eurhythmics has played an integral part of the curriculum at the Cleveland

Institute of Music for many decades, and CIM first approved an accredited degree
in Eurhythmics in 1966. The goal of the Eurhythmics degree is to provide
students with intensive experience in Eurhythmics classes, keyboard
improvisation, movement (through dance classes at the Mather Dance Center at
Case Western Reserve University) and Eurhythmics pedagogy for both young
students (3-7 year olds) and adults, all in order to prepare students to teach
Eurhythmics. In conjunction with CIM’s Preparatory and Continuing Education
division, students have the opportunity to work with young students in hands-on
teaching experiences. Pedagogy and practicum courses offer experience

observing, planning, teaching, and assessing adult students at the conservatory

level. In addition to the teaching opportunities in the curriculum, Eurhythmics
majors often lead individual and group tutoring sessions for conservatory
undergraduates. The environment CIM has helped to establish in Cleveland has
led to many opportunities for independent teaching opportunities in the
community. A successful student in the Eurhythmics degree program will
graduate with many hours of teaching already on their resume. (CIM Catalog

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)

After establishing the first degree-granting program that required Eurhythmics

training for all undergraduate music majors, Carnegie Mellon expanded its offerings to

include certification and licensure in Dalcroze at the graduate level. “In 1968, the

Carnegie Mellon School of Music was accredited by the Jaques-Dalcroze Foundation of

Geneva, Switzerland, as a Professional Training Center to grant the Dalcroze Certificate

and License. Since its inception, the Center, founded by Dr. Marta Sanchez, has attracted

students from all over the world. From 1999 to 2009 the Center operated satellite

programs in Taiwan; at the Nagoya School of Music in Nagoya, Japan; and in Korea at

Hansei University.” (, URL

accessed 4/20/2014)

Unlike the Colorado State University summer partnership with the Dalcroze

School of the Rockies, The Marta Sanchez Dalcroze Training Center (MSDTC) exists

within the framework of Carnegie Mellon University as a hybrid of academic graduate

program and specialized certification course. The following is a description of the


The Dalcroze Training Center at Carnegie Mellon operates throughout the year.
During the academic year, students may enroll in the Dalcroze program to pursue
the Dalcroze Certificate or Dalcroze License. They may also enroll in the program
in conjunction with a Masters degree in music education, performance, or

composition. During the summer, the Dalcroze Training Center offers a one week
workshop (Workshop I) and a conjoint three week workshop (Workshop II). Both
workshops offer classes at introductory and advanced levels. Both workshops
offer performers, conductors, music educators (preschool through college), studio
teachers, music therapists, movement specialists, actors and dancers practical
applications of Dalcroze principles for performance and teaching. A minimum of
two summer sessions of Workshop II, totaling 18 units or 6 credits must be
successfully completed before a candidate is eligible to take the required exams
for the Dalcroze Certificate. For those applicants who are prepared to pursue the
Dalcroze License an additional 18 units or 6 credits are required. Entrance into the
License Program is by audition/evaluation. (
dalcroze-training-center, URL accessed 4/20/2014)


As mentioned above, of even greater interest in the training of musicianship

generally and conductors specifically are programs which integrate the Dalcroze

philosophy into the graduation requirements for undergraduate music degrees. Not

surprisingly, these schools include many of those listed above that also specialize in

Dalcroze certification coursework at the graduate or undergraduate level.

Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory

While the Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory is one of the few institutions

surveyed which does not offer a concentration in Dalcroze Eurhythmics as a major area

or certification at either the graduate or undergraduate level, the value which the

Conservatory places on Eurhythmics in the training of undergraduate music majors is

nonetheless reflected in its curricular offerings. The Bachelor of Music degree in all areas

of concentration requires two semesters of solfége in conjunction with Eurhythmics, with

an additional two semesters of solfége. Additionally, conducting course work is required

for all majors and an additional course in advanced conducting is required for all music

education majors, furthering through application the foundations of movement and ear

training established in the required Eurhythmics and solfége courses.


Oberlin College Conservatory

Oberlin College Conservatory, like Baldwin Wallace University, requires

Dalcroze studies as a part of the degree program for all undergraduate music majors and

also does not offer a degree program in Eurhythmics at either the graduate or

undergraduate level. Like Baldwin Wallace, Oberlin offers a two course sequence in

Eurhythmics, however the prerequisites given for the courses would tend to indicate that

Eurhythmics training is preceded by work in traditional courses in theory and aural skills,

rather than as a co-requisite part of the sequence. As this is counterintuitive to the

Dalcrozian notion of music cognition, the rationale for the placement of theory and aural

skills before rather than in conjunction with kinesthetic components of Eurhythmics

would be interesting to ascertain. A description of the courses follows in APPENDIX 1.

Cleveland Institute of Music

Early in its establishment period, the Cleveland Institute of Music began

incorporating Eurhythmics training for all students. As early as 1922, while Dalcroze’s

own work was still ongoing: “Dalcroze Eurhythmics took a central position at the

Institute, having been taught for the past ten years throughout Europe. The two-year

course in ‘the art of expressing musical ideas by means of bodily movements’ was a

requirement for all students at the Cleveland Institute of Music, as it still is today.”

( accessed 4/20/2014)

All CIM undergraduates are required to enroll in a four-semester sequence of

Eurhythmics, plus a four-semester sequence of sight singing and ear training. Course

descriptions will be found in APPENDIX 1. Those pursuing a Bachelor of Music in


performance may choose up to three additional semesters of Eurhythmics as part of an

elective component required for the degree.

Carnegie Mellon University

The undergraduate music major at Carnegie Mellon University incorporates both

Eurhythmics as well as a Dalcrozian approach to solfége. Solfége and Eurhythmics

follow a co-curricular sequence in which the two areas conceptually complement one

another. This pairing of courses reflects the early adoption of Dalcroze’s teachings by the

institution. The longevity of this philosophical basis for instruction in the training of

musicianship at Carnegie Mellon is a testament to its value for performers.

“Carnegie Mellon was the first school in the country to establish Dalcroze

Eurhythmics training in the curriculum for all music students. All undergraduate music

majors take a four-semester sequence of Dalcroze Eurhythmics as part of the core

curriculum.” (

accessed 4/20/2014) Course descriptions are found in APPENDIX 1. When converting

the credit weighting at Carnegie Mellon University, three units are equivalent to a single

credit in traditional systems of academic weighting.


With many different approaches to structuring found among the programs

surveyed above, the adaptability of the Dalcroze philosophy is evident. Using one or

more of these scenarios as a starting point, Eurhythmics, solfége and improvisation could

find a place in the curriculum in any number of other institutional settings. Although not

directly addressed in the preceding survey of Dalcroze education at the post-secondary

level, the topics addressed in the course of conductor training are implicitly part of the

Dalcroze experience at these institutions. The intersection and amplification of the skills

cultivated in Eurhythmics and solfége will naturally find implementation in any

conducting course preceded by this sort of musicianship training.

The following chapter will present possible means to access Dalcrozian

techniques through the cultivation of instructional strategies, course modifications, and

possible curricular additions at Peru State College, with ultimate outcome being the

integration of kinesthetic principles into the entire conductor training sequence.





Success in the implementation of the Dalcroze philosophy within the realm of

higher education has been demonstrated though its usage by well-regarded institutions of

musician training and the continuing assessment of such instruction as viable and

valuable. These institutions may serve as a template for a boilerplate curricular

restructuring of musician training at another institution: a model for emulation in full

without regard to previous course sequence and structure. But, as this approach is bound

to have a somewhat disruptive effect on faculty, curriculum and scheduling, there needs

to be a tailored means to bring Dalcroze philosophy into an established educational

program. A more effective incorporation might be found through adaptation and

adoption of key tenets and aspects of the Dalcroze approach within and as an extension of

the existing curricular framework.

Initially, the key to any change in the status quo is the value of the faculty and

administration place in the effectiveness of the approach. In order to convince

administrators to allocate the scarce resources of faculty load and student credit hours, a

clear advocacy must be presented. The main body of the previous chapters will hopefully

serve in this purpose. Secondly, there needs to be a willingness to implement the tenets of

the Dalcrozian philosophy by the instructors within the individual courses. The level of

adoption is contingent on experience and familiarity with the Dalcroze philosophy and

willingness to adapt methodology within the instructional approach. While formal

training in Eurhythmics is certainly desirable in facilitating implementation, the lack of


certification in the method should not inhibit the integration of kinesthetically-derived

experiences. The depth to which this approach can be integrated within a course is not

necessarily predicated on instructors receiving this training, but is more contingent on the

value individual instructors find in the philosophy.

As a means to further the advocacy of Dalcroze’s educational philosophy, the

remainder of this chapter is devoted to suggesting ways in which the philosophy could be

implemented at Peru State College with minimal disruption either through incorporation

into the fabric of the current course offerings, or through modification of the Music

Theory/Aural Skills and Conducting course sequences.


The highly adaptive nature of Dalcroze instruction makes it applicable across a

wide range of courses and throughout the curriculum. As demonstrated earlier, the facets

of Dalcrozian solfége (inner hearing), Eurhythmics (embodied sound), and improvisation

have found their way into training at nearly every level of education and even beyond the

fields of musical and dance training. (Zachopoulou, Trombetti, Bachmann).

Application within the music curriculum at Peru State could readily take place

within course offerings in music theory, ensemble rehearsal, the applied studio, and

methods courses. As a philosophy based in movement and its emphasis on interaction

between pupil, subject matter and instructor, the parameters for application are broad and

leave much room for flexibility. While a cross-curricular adoption of the tenets of

Eurhythmics could lead to a deepening of students’ musical cognition, this unified

approach would face the aforementioned challenges from administration and faculty in

becoming fully implemented.


A more reasoned and targeted approach in terms of immediate outcomes for the

conductor training program is to focus directly on those courses which most directly

impact future success on the podium. Taking into consideration those attributes expressed

by the authors surveyed in Chapter Two, the areas of rhythmic acuity, inner hearing and

physical expression should be fostered from the outset of musical training. These

attributes are to be further nurtured as a part of the conductor’s training for the podium as

the specifics of conducting patterns, baton grip, score reading, etc. are introduced.

To this end, the integration of movement into the Music Theory/Aural Skills

sequence should occur from the first semester of the freshman year. The rudiments of

conducting are thus introduced in a seamless fashion; movement becomes an integral part

of the music learning experience. In this approach, the physical expression of music will

gain a sense of organicism and the student will bring this uninhibited approach to the

podium when more formal conducting instruction begins. The essence of this orientation

is to infuse the musicianship curriculum with the foundational elements of gesture at the

heart of the conducting curriculum so movement becomes second nature rather than

remaining compartmentalized.

Music Theory/Aural Skills

At present, Peru State offers a three-semester sequence of coursework in Music

Theory/Aural Skills. This unified course incorporates music notation, analysis, sight

singing, and dictation. During the freshman year, this course is four credit hours each

semester, meeting Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for seventy-five minutes on

each of those days. Music Theory III, the final course in the sequence, meets only twice

weekly for seventy-five minutes each day. Because this course is only scheduled in the

fall semester of even-numbered years, some students are not able to register for the class

until their junior year, sitting out a full year of Music Theory as sophomores.

Currently, as is often the case in such courses, the greater emphasis tends to be

placed on the written rather than the aural aspects of music theory, with little accessing of

the kinesthetic domain within the course. A Dalcroze approach would necessitate a

reversal of the current proportion, giving more time to the experience of the real concept

(sound) rather than its representation (notation). This reversal would require flexibility

and rethinking on the part of instructors who may be used to working within the more

conventional music theory course structure of sight before sound. Inherently beneficial to

future ensemble directors, this reversal in emphasis would integrate more effectively with

the role of the conductor.

Even within this existing framework, Dalcroze-style exercises utilizing body

movement as an expression of both the rhythmic and pitch content of musical examples

are both possible and desirable. This may necessitate certain classroom reconfigurations

to allow for a more movement-based approach. The facilities in the Fine Arts Building at

Peru State College are well-suited to the addition of movement within the current Theory

Classroom itself with tables and chairs that are foldable and on casters. Clearing space is

not a difficult proposition, but easier still is the proximity of the Choral Rehearsal Room

that is constructed with a large flat floor and a single mirrored wall—ideal for conducting

and pre-conducting movement exercises as well as self-evaluation. Both rooms have

ample whiteboard space with portions lined for music notation to facilitate instruction in

the interrelationship of the visual aspects of notation to the aural and kinesthetic

sensations of music.

A single lesson in this unified approach may incorporate both traditional and

Dalcroze elements in side-by-side alternation, experiencing concepts from multiple

angles. The instruction becomes concept-driven with the goal to explore a musical

element physically, aurally and notationally within the same instructional period. A

natural flow between these differing realms of cognition and learning modality will lead

to a more thorough learning of the concept. The axiom of learning through doing is

evidenced not through mere repetition, but experiencing the same musical aspect from a

variety of angles.


Musicianship Sequence

An alternative instructional structure, one that would deepen student musical

knowledge, is to add a fourth semester of music theory (Music Theory IV). By adding a

fourth semester of coursework, Peru State would align more closely with other regional

institutions as well as those surveyed institutions that incorporate Dalcroze in the

curriculum. As many of these programs also require either a course in Aural Skills,

Solfége or Eurhythmics in conjunction with this sequence, the case could be made for

additional instruction in one or more of these areas at Peru State as well. This increased

curricular emphasis on the aural and kinesthetic is essential to training competent

musicians and is a critical component of a conductor’s skill set. In order to address the

needs of the student in the areas that are most necessary to conductor success, in addition

to the proposed four semester sequence of music theory, Peru State is in need of a similar

co-requisite sequence focused on musicianship skills.


A new two- to four-semester Musicianship sequence in the freshman and

sophomore years would place increased emphasis on the aural, kinesthetic and

interpretative skills. Students would take a Monday/Wednesday course in Theory in

conjunction with a Tuesday/Thursday course in Musicianship incorporating aspects of

Dalcroze-style movement. These co-requisite courses would focus on complimentary

concepts and content; intervals, scalar patterns, key signatures, etc., would be approached

from the differing modalities of sight, sound and movement.

A major advantage of such an approach is that it maximizes contact time

compared to the current schedule in which theory classes are held two or three times

weekly. This would amount to one third more time devoted to musicianship training at a

juncture critical for student success in the music major. The increase in emphasis falls

mainly to the aural/kinesthetic/interpretative skills portion of the training, giving the

student greater opportunity to develop the critical skills of inner hearing. In modern

music learning theory, this aural acuity should ideal precede the introduction of

notational conventions and will translate to increased understanding when subsequently

applied constructs of written score. (Dalcroze, Edwin Gordon)

A further advantage of dividing the aural and written components of the music

theory sequence is an allowance for division of instruction. The courses can be taught by

separate instructors, capitalizing on the strengths of the faculty in the department. Given

the current faculty disposition in the area of theory, it would be an easy matter of utilizing

teaching loads in a more effective manner. By incorporating a co-instructional approach,

there is also the possibility of consolidation of freshman-level and sophomore-level

courses within a single time block. This consolidation into a single block grants the

opportunity for various recombinations on the basis of topic, and allows for other flexible

means of instruction to be exploited. If so desired, this block concept can also employ a

rotating schedule that facilitates the utilization of other faculty in the department to match

instructional strengths or give the students exposure to other teaching styles.

Beginning Conducting/Advanced Conducting

At this juncture, Peru State College offers only one semester of formal instruction

in conducting. This course, simply titled Conducting, is designed as a junior-level course,

precisely where one would most often expect a more specialized course such as Choral

Conducting, Instrumental Conducting or even Advanced Conducting. Structured as one

of the culminating experiences in the music education program, this existing conducting

course clearly demands that students should have at least some previous conducting

experiences. At the present time, these experiences are at best sporadic and most likely to

occur in the sight singing component of the music theory sequence, or as part of their

high school experience, if at all. Given this lack of consistency in instructional approach

and the general lack of student kinesthetic music experiences, delaying conducting

instruction until the end of the program of studies has proven less than satisfactory. A

pedagogical sequence incorporating gesture and movement into musicianship courses, as

proposed above, will lead to a deepening of music fundamentals, becoming in large part

conductor preparatory courses as well as general musicianship courses.

While the addition of movement to the musicianship sequence represents a large

piece in closing the gap in conductor preparation, another necessary transition to this

repurposed Advanced Conducting course is the inclusion of a new Beginning Conducting

course. Since the previous Musicianship coursework will have already placed a great deal

of emphasis on the critical foundational concepts of inner hearing, gesture and

interpretation, the Beginning Conducting class structure will differ only in its

contextualization of these skills for the conductor. While all competent performers rely

upon those same essential skills, the conductor’s role becomes more of evoking and

evaluating. Within the Beginning Conducting course, the introduction of the more

specialized topics of baton technique, conducting gestures, score study, etc. will ideally

emerge as extensions of prior coursework and should not be dealt with as superficial


Incorporation of exercises in movement and gesture in the style of Dalcroze that

lead seamlessly into the basics of traditional patterns would be emphasized. Carefully

crossing between the realms of more freely expressing music through improvised

gestures and standardized patterns, instruction would stress the underlying musical

rationale for physical expression. Dalcroze himself used both free and more structured

conducting patterns within his courses at the Geneva Conservatory. Caldwell

demonstrates this interrelation between the concepts of crusis/metacrusis/anacrusis and

the normative structure of metric emphasis. (Caldwell, pp. 30-38) In the process of

describing the phenomena of crusis as ‘push’, metacrusis as ‘glide’, and anacrusis as

‘lift’, he further explicates Dalcroze’s introduction of conducting patterns. Additionally,

in this regard, an introduction to the techniques of Plastique Animée would also serve

well to introduce the proper musical motivation for gestures conveying expressive


Caldwell also provides a sampling of suggested exercises in plasticity that can

find use in the beginning conducting course as well as pre-conducting experiences.


(Caldwell p. 48-50) These exercises involve the virtual and real manipulation of the

body and space in reaction to musical and other stimuli. The idea is for the student to

become the embodiment of the music and the changing musical content. To maximize the

plasticity in response, Caldwell suggests that the music ideally be improvised, but a

recorded example that presents a regulated fluctuation of musical elements may also


In his examples, Caldwell gives a three stage development sequence. The first

step is to awaken the body to response through manipulation of imagined ball of energy.

In asking the students to interact with a virtual object, the teacher can assess and

encourage students to explore its parameters in more creative ways than a fixed physical

object. Students are also asked to appropriately vocalize to match the energy flow they

are imagining and manipulating, passing the imagined ball among the members of the


Once the collective imagination is engaged, stage two involves response to an

external aural stimulus, beginning with vocalizations made by the teacher. All students

move to and strive to bodily reflect the qualities of sound being created. Students are then

invited to take turns by vocalizing the aural stimulus while the rest of the class continues

to reflect the sound gesturally.

The final step is to move to a composition with more defined musical attributes.

Students are again admonished to reflect the sound as they hear it, and maintain fidelity

to the actual performance rather than “what they think they think or want to hear.”

(Caldwell, p. 50) As stated previously, this is best accomplished when the musical

stimulus is changing on a frequent, but not totally erratic basis.


When incorporating such exercises into the Beginning Conducting class, students

are at a great advantage if prior work on the musical imagination and movement to music

has already taken place. In this way, the transition from responding to guiding becomes

more of the course emphasis, rather than exercises in merely miming to the music. While

these exercises in moving to music are valuable in gaging the students’ ability to

ascertain the essential qualities of the music being performed, the real work of conducting

is in the conveying of music held in the imagination. Further activities in which each

student leads the class through improvised and scripted musical experiences through

gesture alone can help bridge this gap between response and creation and lead to more

substantive ensemble conducting work.


Peru State College’s music department is currently experiencing growth in

numbers, providing an opportunity for curricular changes that will directly benefit the

students in the major fields of Music Education and Music Performance. Part of this

curricular change needs to address the remediation of basic musicianship skills, focusing

more heavily on aural acuity and rhythmic integrity. Through expansion of course

offerings in the freshman and sophomore level and the incorporation of the movement

and music philosophies such as those of Jaques-Dalcroze, it is hoped that student learning

capacity will be greatly increased leading to better prepared musicians and educators.

This expansion and pedagogical shift will have a particularly profound impact on

the department’s training of conductors and the student’s abilities to acquire and transmit

their aural concepts through gesture. It is hoped this training will give the graduates of

Peru State College the confidence in their skill and abilities as conductors and educators

to contribute to the profession in significant ways.

While most of the literature on the direct application of Dalcroze in the teaching

of conducting is from the perspective of instructors such as Dickson and McCoy who

already utilize the approach, or is gathered from general surveys of its use in conducting

coursework, even these pieces have validity as a template. The lack of more

comprehensive research into the effectiveness of the techniques needs to be addressed

through the use of methodologies such as those applied in the many studies on the use of

Laban’s techniques in the training of conductors. Research studies such as those

conducted by Miller and adapted by Yontz, would provide a compelling case for the

adoption of Dalcroze’s theories in the supplementation of traditional curricular offerings

and approaches to the field of undergraduate conducting studies.

Hayslett’s work represents another such study involving kinesthetic instruction to

improve conductor training. In this study, the general employment of kinesthetic

instruction takes the specific form of Laban’s effort theories. Assessment in this case was

not of gestural competencies gained through Laban, but rather the benefits accrued in the

area of aural acuity—a priority Dalcroze explicitly expressed in the formation of his


Adaptation of these more empirical studies could be made to assess the same

parameters through the substitution of Dalcroze’s tenets for those of Laban with minimal

difficulty while maintaining the factors of measurability and validity. It is hoped that the

present exposition of the application of the Dalcroze approach to musicianship training


will find further advocacy through increased research into its benefits as an essential

component of the conducting curriculum.



Hamline University


Goals: Develop active listening skills, coordination of body and mind,
internalization of rhythm, melody, harmony, and improvisation skills.
Content: Eurhythmics exercises in beat, twice as fast/slow, rhythmic patterns,
simple and compound meter, complementary rhythm, phrase, measure shape
Taught: Annually, fall term.
Prerequisite: Familiarity with note reading.
Credits: 2 credits
Department: Music
(accessed via URL:

Oberlin College Conservatory

MUTH 210-211
Usual Description
A study of music based on the principles of Emile Jaques-Dalcroze that engages
the moving body to develop the perception of rhythm, melody, phrasing, and
form. Other emphases include internalization of the rhythmic sense, development
of precision in ensemble work and of physical coordination as it applies to the
student’s performing medium. The class focuses on three components:
movement-to-music, solfege-Eurhythmics, and improvisation.

Credits: 2 Credits
Enrollment Limit: 12
Instructor: A. Otte
Consent of the Instructor Required: No
Prerequisites & Notes: MUTH 130 or 131, and MUTH 101, or the equivalent.
(accessed via URL:

Cleveland Institute of Music

MUDE 101-102 Eurhythmics I, II (1, 1)

The physical expression of rhythm in which large bodily movements form the
reference for rhythmic analysis. Study of pulse, meter, patterns, cross rhythms,
improvisation, rhythmic canons, and bodily coordination emphasizing proper
tension and relaxation.
Prerequisite: previous or concurrent registration in MUTH 101 and 105. (Fall,

MUDE 201-202 Eurhythmics III, IV (1, 1)

Continuation of MUDE 101, 102, with materials of increased difficulty, as well as
study of syncopation, rhythmic counterpoint and conducting movements.
Prerequisite: MUDE 101, 102. (Fall, Spring)” (2013-14 Course Catalog,
Cleveland Institute of Music)

Carnegie Mellon University

57-161 Eurhythmics I
Fall: 3 units
Dalcroze Eurhythmics is a unique approach to music learning based on the
recognition that meaningful rhythmic movement experience, associated with ear-
training and improvisation, reinforces understanding of music concepts, enhances
musicianship, and focuses awareness on the physical demands of artistic
performance. All concepts are experienced in a musical context. Rhythm reading,
notation, analysis, and improvisation are integral to the course. Eurhythmics I
covers basic binary and ternary metric units and rhythm patterns in relation to
these metric units within simple and compound meters.

57-181 Solfege I
Fall: 3 units
This course improves the student's ability to analyze music aurally and to sing at
sight in traditional meters and tonalities using the "fixed do" system. Solfege is
the integration of the three cognitive skills: reading music, hearing music, and
writing what one hears. Section assignment is determined by a placement test
given at the time of the audition or prior to the start of classes.

57-162 Eurhythmics II
Spring: 3 units
Eurhythmics II introduces combinations of binary and ternary metric units, mixed
meters, changing meters, and notation and performance of cross-rhythms.
Prerequisite: 57-161.

57-182 Solfege II
Spring: 3 units
Continues 57-181 Solfege I.
Prerequisites: 57-180 or 57-181 or 57-185.

57-163 Eurhythmics III

Fall: 3 units
Eurhythmics is a unique approach to music learning developed by the Swiss
composer and educator Emile Jaques-Dalcroze (1865-1950). Dalcroze discovered
that meaningful rhythmic movement experiences away from their instrument
allows students to focus awareness on the physical demands of artistic
performance while demonstrating knowledge and understanding of the

expressive/interpretive as well as the theoretical aspects of music. Sight reading,

conducting, notation, analysis and improvisation are integral to the course.
Eurhythmics III Course Content: Divisive vs. Additive rhythm, Metric
transformation, Irregular subdivisions of metric units, Cross rhythms of 3 against
4, 3 against 5, 4 against 5.
Prerequisite: 57-162.

57-183 Solfege III

Fall: 3 units
Continues 57-182 Solfege II. Students are given assignments of classical music
written in the treble, bass, soprano, alto, and tenor clefs. Writing consists of two-
part contrapuntal dictations.
Prerequisite: 57-182.

57-164 Eurhythmics IV
Spring: 3 units
Eurhythmics is a unique approach to music learning developed by the Swiss
composer and educator Emile Jaques-Dalcroze (1865-1950). It is a process for
awakening, developing and refining innate musicality through rhythmic
movement, ear training and improvisation. Through rhythmic movement, students
demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the expressive/interpretive as well
as the metrical/structural aspects of music. Sight reading, conducting, notation,
analysis and improvisation are integral to the course. Eurhythmics IV Course
Content: More complex rhythmic problems encountered in composed music,
Changing meters and changing metric units within a composition, Rhythm
reading of patterns using small note values, Messiaen rhythm techniques.
Prerequisite: 57-163.

57-184 Solfege IV
Spring: 3 units
Continues 57-183 Solfege III. Students learn to read atonal music and practice
three-part contrapuntal dictations as well as harmonic dictations.
Prerequisite: 57-183.
accessed 4/20/2014)


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