Special Issue 8 (2) 2016 “Dalcroze Eurhythmics in music therapy and special music education” – Article (published on 11 December 2016)
Émile Jaques-Dalcroze as a visionary pioneer of Neurologic Music Therapy
Eckart Altenmüller & Daniel S. Scholz
Émile Jaques-Dalcroze (1865-1950) anticipated contemporary neuroscientific concepts in his educational method of learning and experiencing music through movement, namely Dalcroze Eurhythmics. He developed the idea of sensorimotor integration as it relates to musical experience and thus contributed crucially to the emergence of Neurologic Music Therapy. Here, we comment on his ideas on learning and integration in the light of modern neurosciences, with emphasis on new findings concerning the dynamics of brain plasticity and the existence of mirror neurons. Auditory-motor co-representations develop rapidly when learning to play a musical instrument and constitute the basis of rehabilitation of neurological impairments with instrumental playing. The theoretical background of neurorehabilitation has been broadened during recent years by the emerging concept of embodiment. We exemplify this by describing a therapeutic approach utilising the sonification of arm movements in stroke patients to improve motor control of the paretic arm and to support emotional and bodily wellbeing.
brain plasticity, Dalcroze Eurhythmics, embodiment, multisensorimotor integration, neurologic music therapy, stroke
Eckart Altenmüller holds a Masters degree in Classical flute, and a MD and PhD degree in Neurology and Neurophysiology. Since 1994 he is full Professor, Chair and Director of the Institute of Music Physiology and Musicians’ Medicine (IMMM) at the University of Music, Drama and Media, Hannover, Germany. He continues to undertake research into movement disorders in musicians as well as into motor, auditory and sensory learning and emotions, and directs an outpatient clinic for musicians.
Daniel S. Scholz is postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Music Physiology and Musicians’ Medicine (IMMM) at the University of Music, Drama and Media, Hannover, Germany. He holds a Bachelor degree in Jazz composition and a Masters degree in Psychology. He received his PhD in Systemic Neurosciences in 2015. Since 2011, he has been working in the field of Neurologic Music Therapy.