Initial Idea

I believe that anything that gets kids engaged and gets them involved in learning in a more dynamic way can provide an active learning experience that can lead to greater effect on them. Eurhythmics develops the studentís spontaneous physical response to music through movement. It is playful and interactive in nature. I would like to create something that is equally playful and interactive. I plan to make The Musical Beginnings Project in the form of an animated, interactive online learning game designed primarily for music schools to incorporate in their curriculum to help in reinforcing the music lessons at home in a fun and engaging way. It would be designed for children ages 5-6. It would teach children the fundamentals of music through animation and interactive activities. The user will be given opportunities to participate in interactive games that will teach some of the different fundamental musical skills such as listening, (ear training), rhythm patterns, musical scale or basic music notation. Also would like to make it available to anyone who is interested in learning music. Because my target audience is 5 or 6 years old kids I thought that a learning game would be fun and effective way of teaching them. I still have to do more research to figure out how this could be done.

Field Trip

I researched the classes at my local music school and they emphasize that eurhythmics is special because it develops the studentís spontaneous physical response to music through movement. During the classes they teach some of the different fundamental musical skills such as listening (ear training), rhythm patterns, musical scale and basic music notation. After learning more about it I realized that I will have to pick one or two of the skills from the previous list in order to be able to develop this project in the given time frame.

Winchester Community Music School

Winchester Community Music School

Adriana Ausch - Project Advisor

I feel that in order to be accurate and effective with this teaching tool and not just make a cute or entertaining game I need to have guidance from a professional Dalcroze teacher during development. I want to make sure that it will stay true to the Dalcroze method and be a useful tool that really works. I contacted Adriana Ausch who teaches Dalcroze Eurhythmics classes at Winchester Music School and at the Longy School of Music and asked if she could be my advisor on this project. I am thrilled and grateful that she is excited about the project and is happy to give me advice. I spoke with her on Monday and set up some meeting times to be able to get more information from her about the classes. We had a brief talk for preliminary research and she recommended the must read book for me titled Dalcroze Eurhythmics in Todayís Music Classroom by Virginia Hoge Mead. Even though I could only start reading it on Tuesday I already found it to be an invaluable source of information. I am going to attend a few of her classes and observe how she teaches. I hope to videotape some of the classes which would be helpful to have not only as part of my process but also as a source that would be available to refer back to during development. I learned that it is not as easy to do even though Adriana is happy to have me tape the class I still need to get all the parentsí permission first which might be a difficulty task.

Adriana Ausch

Adriana Ausch, Co-associate Chair at Longy School of Music

More Fun Research

As part of my project I also started looking at interactive games for children and especially online games. My kids are a great resource in this. They are interested in them and are much more familiar with the in games and how to play them than I am. One of the current online games that little kids love to play is Webkinz. I spent some time observing them playing the games and then questioned them which one day like and why. I also played it to get more familiar with it. I hope to use my kids as my guinea pigs in the testing phase of my project.

Attending Classes

I have done further research on Dalcroze Eurhythmics and had a lot of fun doing it. Dalcroze ones stated that you can learn about this method all you want but to really understand it you have to experience it. I made arrangement with my secondary advisor to be able to observe some of her classes in order to have a better understanding of the method. She teaches many different levels and age groups. I wanted to observe the beginner levels. First I observed her class for grades 1 and 2 on September 20th. It was very cute to see the kids moving and dancing to the music. I took notes on what was happening and tried to follow the way she teaches the different skills with the different songs and game-like activities. They used many other things to make the class more enjoyable and more interactive like scarfs and balls and hoops and small drums. One of the songs was especially fun called Wind in the Trees because it was used to teach several skills such as melodic direction, duration and rhythmic patterns. She often demonstrated to the class what to do and how to do it. There were also activities for introduction to playing the piano. On the following Monday I went to see her teaching an other class that is for 5 years olds. It was similar in many ways but more simplified. She used snips of songs rather than a whole song and the scale mostly. There was more concentration on very basic duration exercises.

Dalcroze Class Dalcroze Class Dalcroze Class Dalcroze Class Dalcroze Class Dalcroze Class Dalcroze Class

Dalcroze Eurhythmics Class at Winchester Community Music School

Afterwards we discussed my ideas about how I could make my project work based on her teachings. My first thought was that it could be made as a online game in a similar way as some of the TV Shows for kids like Blues Clues or Dora the Explorer where the kids are asked to follow what is going on in the show and prompted to do the same thing like "Now count with me." Also at the end there could be a small interactive test to see if they got the lesson. It made sense to both of us and I thought this could be the right direction for the project.