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Dynamic Rehearsal and Dalcroze Eurhythmics: A phenomenological investigation into participants’ experiences and their implications for the practice, teaching and learning of music and musical performance

Greenhead, Karin (2020) Dynamic Rehearsal and Dalcroze Eurhythmics: A phenomenological investigation into participants’ experiences and their implications for the practice, teaching and learning of music and musical performance. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Royal Northern College of Music and Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

This thesis explores my practice of Dynamic Rehearsal (DR) and Dalcroze Eurhythmics (DE) as applied to performers of Western, classical music. For over 25 years this work has been demonstrated widely internationally with very positive results reported by participants of all ages and stages of musical expertise. Previous accounts of this practice by others have observed the effects of this work without exploring the reasons for such effects in any detail. To gain insight into the workings of my practice, as practitionerresearcher, I investigated participants’ experiences in lessons as recounted by them. Revealing these experiences and their meanings could contribute to a general understanding of the teaching and learning of musical interpretation and performance. The thesis includes an account of DE, my training and development of DR, its aims and usual outcomes and contextual literature reviews relating to the history and development of DE, DR and fields that connect to them directly. I chose a hermeneutic phenomenological methodological approach for this research owing to the flexibility and responsiveness it offers to lived experience and meaning. I interviewed nine former students from Europe, China and USA; all were conservatoire trained, played a variety of instruments, included one duo, and covered the professional lifespan (19-64 years old). The most important finding is the major contribution of the role of movement, especially self-movement, in musical discovery, learning and understanding, and in the development of performance and ensemble skills. The findings revealed remarkable consistency in the participants’ reports. Each one had transformative experiences that led to deep changes in the way they experienced, interpreted, performed and taught music. Their accounts attest to the development of inventiveness, a sense of authority and agency and improvements in their ability to connect to others. These methods are not only of benefit to performing musicians at every stage of their career but to all musical learners and should be included in musical education at all levels.

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