Here’s what we did:
- Tempo and dynamics Follow ( 2 dotted quarters, 3 eighths, 1 dotted quarter)
- In this classic Dalcroze exercise, the class moves a pattern through a variety of tempo and dynamics changes. The three eighths required us to develop some technique, as the students found it difficult to run for three and stop suddenly.
- Drums around the room; move freely until you hear the pattern, then stop and play it on the nearest drum.
- This required some sharp listening and more movement technique. I was able to test their abilities to discern between variations of the pattern a couple of times. They seemed to enjoy this game.
- Improvisation: 2 groups; one plays a 3 bars of a pattern, alternating with a one bar soloist by someone from the other group.
- This was an arrangement that I came up with, in hopes that they would suggest alternatives after a few times through. We came up with a few interesting variations.
- Free improvisation
- This was the most interesting part of the class for me. As students were suggesting ways to change the above improvisation, they ran into inevitable disagreements. I began to suggest that music could accommodate everyone’s wishes if they decided that was ok. We tried this successfully within a strict structure as above, and then I suggested that we all try to play together without discussing anything first. Our intention would be to play what we wanted while listening to what other’s played. There was, maybe predictably, a lot of loud playing, and I did wish for more attentiveness to others as they were doing it. However, all seemed very pleased with the results, and someone surprised that this was even possible. There is nothing particularly Dalcrozian about this concept (it comes more from the free jazz tradition), but it certainly does not go against the grain of our work. Perhaps we will be able to build on this idea in future classes.