• Watching Music, Hearing Movement

    This week I decided to scour YouTube for examples of improvising music for (and with) improvised movement. I posted them on the New York Dalcroze facebook page to promote the chapter’s online workshop “Improvising Music for Improvised Dance”, Saturday May 20th, 1-3pm NYC time, tickets and info here, led by myself and Dawn Pratson. I’ve […]

  • Becoming More Yourself

    Dawn Pratson, Michael Joviala and Michele Herman in Conversation For about 2 years now, Dawn Pratson (dance and choreography) and I (piano and composition) have been meeting every week through Zoom to improvise together. Dawn usually leads us both in a physical warm-up. Eventually I wander over to the piano and start to play. We […]

  • Rough Sketch

    Confession: I frequently have a hard time learning my own music. This is probably not uncommon for composers who primarily write music for others to perform, but I am definitely writing for myself. Lately, when I compose it is usually an attempt to personalize a musical subject that I will eventually be working with in […]

  • Tonality

    So, yes, the relationship between two tones is not necessarily black and white (see previous post). Tonality puts those two tones into a context which could consist of the many shades of gray, unrestrained technicolor or a tasteful complimentary color pallet. When I use color in a drawing I sometimes have trouble limiting myself. However, […]

  • One Small Step…

    Whole and half steps are kind of like air. We tend to not pay too much attention to them unless something unexpected happens. For years they were certainly invisible to me – or rather, inaudible – unless I made a mistake in a musical passage, an easy enough thing to fix for pianists. It didn’t […]

  • Picturing Music

    I’ve been thinking about representation lately. No, I don’t need a lawyer. I’m talking about how we ‘picture’ music. As an experiment last week, I asked my kids to draw a picture of rhythms we were working with during the session. I didn’t ask them to use notation. Some of them are too young to […]

  • Come Play With Us

    I’m leading drop-in online guided improvisation sessions in February 2023 on Saturdays, 1:00-1:45pm Eastern. To learn more about it and find out how to join, click here. No improv experience necessary and only you (and whoever is in your house!) will hear yourself. A few past attendees were kind enough to write descriptions of what […]

  • Ensemble Skills for 1st-2nd Grade (Part 4 of 4)

    This is the final part of a series on skills, goals and objectives for 1st-2nd grade Dalcroze classes. The lists from the previous posts on movement, rhythm and pitch would not have been out of place in many other introductory theory, ear training or music or movement fundamentals classes. I regard this final category, ensemble […]

  • 1st – 2nd Grade Skills, Experiences and Objectives Associated with Pitch (Part 3)

    Well, “next week” turned into two months! The teaching season has heated up, but I’m finally continuing my curricular lists for 1st-2nd grade. This time the focus is on pitch. Rhythm skills for kids this age are a lot more predictable for me than pitch skills. Some kids have an easy, natural relationship with their […]

  • 1st-2nd Grade: Skills and Objectives Associated with Rhythm (Part 2 of 4)

    Second in a series of posts describing what a typical class might cover during the year. Now we get to the heart of the matter. This is a formidable list, and not all that different from a list I might make for adult classes. Does this mean the children mastered each of these things? No. […]

Writing about music and music education from a Dalcroze perspective: