Jaques-Dalcroze, Émile (1865–1950) By Odom, Selma Landen
Émile Jaques-Dalcroze was a Swiss musician and music educator who developed a method of music education that combines movement and ear training with physical, vocal, and instrumental improvisation. He is often called Dalcroze, the pseudonym he added to his family name Jaques (spelled without a ‘c’) as a young man. In English his method is known as Dalcroze eurhythmics. In the early 1900s he devised activities of rhythmic stepping, breathing, conducting, and gesturing to help people experience musical concepts and feelings in the body. A charismatic teacher and pianist, Dalcroze presented demonstrations of his experimental pedagogy throughout Europe, and from 1910 to 1914 he taught several hundred professional students from various countries at the Bildungsanstalt Jaques-Dalcroze, the purpose-built training institute he directed in Hellerau, near Dresden. In 1915 he established the Institut Jaques-Dalcroze in Geneva, the city where most of his sixty-year career unfolded. In addition to inspiring many who became teachers and artists, he composed and wrote prolifically. He published a large musical oeuvre, teaching manuals, articles, reviews, and several books of essays and memoirs. His influence extended beyond music into dance, theatre, therapy, and education. The Dalcroze method, handed down and enriched by generations of teaching musicians, continues to explore core practices of this heritage today. Geneva serves as centre for the most advanced qualification, while training programs are offered in Europe, North America, Australia, and Asia.