Dalcroze and early childhood music
A look into the modern approach of music education that is Dalcroze. Young children are able to start their music education very early on and flourish under the Dalcroze approach. Dalcroze is concerned with acquiring mastery of one's own nervous system. In other words, our brains need to have control over our bodies. So that if we decide we want to move in one direction then our brain needs to be able to send a message to our muscles and move our body in exactly the way we determined. It is this focus on the body and the flow of movement that forms the first of three parts to the Dalcroze Approach.
There are three facets to the Dalcroze approach as follows:
Dalcroze himself published many books on how to teach music including to young children. And over the years a number of music educators have added to his works. The Eurythmics is all about flow and movement. The solfege focuses on scales and adopts a fixed "do" system. Improvisation is where we practise our skills of eurythmics and solfege and join the two together. The Dalcroze approach is skill based and incorporates games and practical exercises in order to "do" and "feel" music and in this way is more of a "kinesthetic" approach to learning which finds itself particularly useful to teaching young children.
As I have been delving more into how early years learn music, I have been adapting my own way of teaching. I strongly believe in the concept of "parents as first teachers". If you have a child learning the piano or about to, your role as the parent is absolutely critical. Your attitude to music and the opportunities you give your child to listen to music on a regular basis, whether live or recorded makes such a significant impact on their motivation and curiosity to get involved themselves in making music.
Please share below if you have any questions or comments. It will be interesting to hear your thoughts.