Dalcroze and the Professional Classical Musician:
An Autoethnographic, Arts Practice Journey
In 2019 Diane completed a PhD, supported by the W2 Foundation to explore how professional practice, combined with autoethnographic documentation, can support an exploration of the potential impact of the Dalcroze method on the overall performance of a professional classical violinist.
She writes -
"As a professional classical violinist, my career has been built on many hours of daily practice, based on conventional ideas of violin pedagogy including technique building, combined with the learning and memorization of classical repertoire.
"Midway through my career, I started to question my approach to music-making. Like many professionals, I have built a parallel career as a teacher, both of violin (individually and in groups) and in recent years as a workshop leader and animateur, specializing in early years and primary age children. In this context I become reacquainted with the teachings of Emile Jacques-Dalcroze – ideas I had first studied as a conservatoire student, but only ever engaged with as an education tool for young children.
"I found myself drawn to the teachings of Dalcroze with its emphasis on the body in musical performance. I started to wonder if Dalcroze's ideas about creating a holistic musician – one in which music is felt and responded to throughout the body rather than processed in the head - could have as great an impact on a professional practitioner as it does with children just starting out on their musical journey.
"In order to investigate this more systematically, I have embarked on an arts practice PhD, using my own experience as a classical violinist as my point of departure."