Dalcroze is a movement-based philosophy. Kinesthetics are utilized to naturally experience rhythm and develop musicianship. Dalcroze is often used to enhance other teaching philosophies. The primary factor in a Dalcroze room is an open space that will accommodate lots of free movement. And, just as in any music room, there are instruments and lesson materials that must have accessible storage.
The Suzuki method is an approach that believes that every child, if properly taught, is capable of learning to play music. Learning music by ear is emphasized over reading musical notation at first. Dr. Shinichi Suzuki’s philosophy was that since children learn their native language through listening, then that method can work with music as well. Factors such as immersion, encouragement, small steps and an unforced timetable make this teaching philosophy unique. The Suzuki method often starts with learning a violin or piano but can be used on other instruments as well. This method emphasizes beginning with children as young as 3-5 years of age.
Working with MIDI keyboards, computers and other multimedia equipment are another way that children can work as a class or independently to learn music. Some classrooms have a few “stations” and other programs have a dedicated music lab room with many workstations. Such rooms may incorporate the use of interactive whiteboards which are becoming more prevalent with interactive, internet-based programs. Don’t forget to plan for plenty of connectivity including wiring and cabling plans to accommodate the system network and internet access required.
The most effective spaces are designed with one overriding goal – flexibility.
In an average half-hour class period, children will be involved in as many as four or five distinct activities. The busy elementary music educator is looking to use all the space the room has to offer. Transitions between lesson activities have to happen quickly and easily. A smart design is the first, and one of the most important, steps toward creating an effective, interactive elementary music room.
Elementary Music Education 101