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Music Methods: The Way to Bloom

Updated: Nov 4, 2019

Students in music classroom with many instruments.
Each student is unique; their music lessons should be too.

There are many music method books as well as philosophies and ideas about music education. Large academic libraries are full of information; some of which is relevant and some ideas that have been proven ineffectual. Many time-tested methods have lasted for decades, hundreds or even a thousand years such as Hanon's The Virtuoso Pianist, Czerny's School of Velocity, or the Latin hymn Ut queant laxis (Hymn to St. John the Baptist) which gave us the Solfège syllables which are an important part of then methods below. While there are many individual ideas about music education, including my own philosophy of music education, there are Four Main Methods that music teachers typically draw from today. (The following order is chronological and not a reflection of importance.)

1. Émile-Jacques Dalcroze's Eurhythmics

Swiss composer, musician and music educator, Émile-Jacques Dalcroze (July 6, 1865 – July 1, 1950) founded his method on the idea of experiencing music through movement. As a composer, Dalcroze was prolific and wrote for voices, orchestra, solo instruments, and chamber groups. His works include symphonies, concertos, operas, among many other works. Listen to his moving Violin Concerto No. 1 in C minor in the video below. He also wrote music for educational purposes, including exercises for breathing and technique.

Dalcroze called his method, "Eurhythmics" meaning "well proportioned," "good rhythm" or “good music.” Dalcroze believed that the human body is the source of all musical ideas. Dalcroze divided musical movement into two categories “locomotion” (moving through space) and "gesture” (moving while stationary). Interestingly, modern neurological research has proven that the motion parts of the brain become active when we listen to or engage in music. Dalcroze's Eurhythmics encourage students to explore movement through natural movement, including breathing, walking, lunging, running, skipping, and jumping.

Émile-Jacques Dalcroze
Émile-Jacques Dalcroze

Dalcroze's ideas influenced later musical pedagogues like Carl Orff (number 3 in this list), and like Zoltàn Kodàly (number 2), he believed that learning solfège was crucial to music education. However, unlike Kodàly, he taught that students