So, yesterday I had the privilege of teaching a class on expressive singing for the summer intensive at Act Too Studio, heavily influenced by Dalcroze Eurhythmics methodology as well as my own personal experiences with understanding music through movement. I am never still when I sing alone in the studio, because moving with the music is a significant part of the way that I work with a piece (especially one that’s new), and I believe that this kind of whole-body immersion is key to my own expressiveness as a singer.
As a way of introducing Act Too students to this concept, I first asked them to listen to a recording of Tchaikovsky’s famous waltz from the ballet Sleeping Beauty. After they’d listened and we’d talked about how the music made them feel and what they thought it was about, I then played the piece again, with instructions for them to dance to it. I chose this piece because I knew it would likely be familiar to many of them, and because we could then use the Disney song adaptation (“Once Upon a Dream”) to immediately apply what we’d learned by experiencing the music with our whole bodies. Of course, since I didn’t think I could expect a group of teenagers to bravely perform interpretive dance to Tchaikovsky if I wasn’t willing to do it myself, I danced along with them. [Read more...]