Dalcroze Eurhythmics as a psychomotor education for children with special educational needs: An interview with Marie-Laure Bachmann — John Habron & Marie-Laure Bachmann

Special Issue 8 (2) 2016 “Dalcroze Eurhythmics in music therapy and special music education” – Interview (published on 11 December 2016)

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Dalcroze Eurhythmics as a psychomotor education for children with special educational needs: An interview with Marie-Laure Bachmann

John Habron & Marie-Laure Bachmann  


In this interview, Bachmann recounts experiences of her childhood and training in Dalcroze Eurhythmics. She describes her university studies in Geneva, including her lectures with Jean Piaget, and how she became interested in using the Dalcroze method therapeutically. Amongst others, Bachmann shares memories about working with deaf children and what she learnt from her teacher and mentor Claire-Lise Dutoit. Bachmann also discusses the theoretical and practical aspects of the Dalcroze method, drawing on many years’ experience as a practitioner and teacher trainer. Finally, she reflects on the place of Dalcroze practice within European traditions of Rhythmics/Eurhythmics and music therapy. This interview will be of interest not only to those wanting to understand Dalcrozian approaches to health musicking in practice and theory, but also to historians of music education and music therapy wishing to piece together the connections between Dalcroze practitioners and medical professionals, especially in Geneva during the second half of the twentieth century.


Dalcroze Eurhythmics, music, Claire-Lise Dutoit, psychomotor education, special educational needs, children


John Habron (PhD) is Head of Music Education at the Royal Northern College of Music, UK, Senior Research Fellow in the MASARA (Musical Arts in Southern Africa: Resources and Applications) research group at North-West University, South Africa, and a music therapist. Having trained initially as a composer, he has gradually shifted into transdisciplinary research across the areas of music education and music therapy, publishing in the International Journal of Music Education, Journal of Research in Music Education, Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices, TD: The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa and British Journal of Occupational Therapy amongst others. John convenes the International Conference of Dalcroze Studies (Coventry 2013, Vienna 2015, Quebec City 2017) and chairs its Scientific Committee.
E-mail: John.Habron@rncm.ac.uk

As a child, Marie-Laure Bachmann was raised in an environment of music and Dalcroze Eurhythmics. She took her higher studies in Geneva (Diploma in Pedagogy for Disabled Children and Licence in Experimental and Genetic Psychology) and holds the Licence and Diplôme Supérieur of the Institut Jaques-Dalcroze. Bachmann practised Dalcroze with disabled children for 30 years. She taught Dalcroze Eurhythmics theory and practice to professional students at the Institut Jaques-Dalcroze for some 17 years and was Director there from 1990 to 2006. Bachmann is President of the AAJD (Association des Amis de Jaques-Dalcroze) and a member of the Collège de l’Institut Jaques-Dalcroze. She is author of Dalcroze Today: An Education through and into Music (Bachmann 1991).
E-mail: marielaurebachmann@wanadoo.fr