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The application of the kinesthetic learning theories of Emile Jaques-Dalcroze in conductor preparation coursework

Kenneth L Meints, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


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.

Subject Area

Music|Music education

Recommended Citation

Meints, Kenneth L, "The application of the kinesthetic learning theories of Emile Jaques-Dalcroze in conductor preparation coursework" (2014). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3628246.