In the summer of 2008, a friend told me about a music education workshop he had attended. He loved it. “Everyone was smiling!” he said. “We were moving in time with each other and doing exercises with balls.” This was so different from his usual experiences of music education that it made him want to learn more. “There’s a summer school coming up. Would you like to come?” This was, of course, a Dalcroze workshop and summer school. I had never heard of Dalcroze, but I applied to the summer school and went.
Ten years on, 2018 seems like a good moment to stop and reflect on a journey that has led me down many paths, and which has been both a great delight and a great learning. These paths have included training and further participation in Dalcroze Eurhythmics, several research projects, reading across diverse disciplines, collaborating, publishing, working in archives, presenting at conferences, teaching about Dalcroze studies and organising events.
The most important of these events for me has been ICDS, which I founded with a group of colleagues in 2011-12. During three conferences, several hundred people have gathered in Coventry (2013), Vienna (2015) and Quebec City (2017), and just as many presentations and performances have been given and enjoyed. The programmes have been enormously varied and ICDS still has the potential to grow as a truly transdisciplinary conference.
What I appreciate most about ICDS are the personal connections we make between us and the intellectual connections (the aha! moments) that come to us during workshops and papers. On the one hand, these strengthen professional relationships and lead to collaborative ties, and on the other, they help to develop the field of Dalcroze studies as a meshwork of intersecting lines of inquiry.
The latest path leads to Katowice, Poland. We now look forward to 2019, to the 4th International Conference of Dalcroze Studies: The listening body in action. There are fewer than 250 days left until we welcome both familiar faces and new friends to the ICDS community!
I have visited the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music twice and can vouch for its stunning architecture, beautiful teaching and performing spaces, hard-working staff and warm hospitality. I hope you can join us there, 28 July – 02 August 2019.
From a complete novice to someone who has made Dalcroze studies his main professional focus, this ten-year journey feels remarkable. On the way, I have had the pleasure of walking alongside many Dalcroze teachers and researchers, and colleagues from several other fields. I take this opportunity to thank them all.
Whatever your walk of life, I hope this reflection will inspire you to take a first step into an intriguing, unknown field on your horizon. You never know where it might lead…