One key to overcoming rhythmic challenges is thoughtful movement. The Dalcroze Eurythmics method was developed by composer Emile Jaques-Dalcroze in Geneva in the early 20th century. The Dalcroze method of music study applies the basic elements of music: rhythm, melody and harmony in its approach.
Designed for young children originally, Dalcroze combines these musical elements with physical movement. It has the physicality of sports, aesthetic appeal of the arts and is mentally challenging for students of all ages.
Dalcroze is actually fun! The method encourages a student to experience musical rhythm, or other music elements (such as tempo or dynamics), as an internal experience. The video below highlights some key points to the method.
"A child's body instinctively possesses the essential element of rhythm, which is a sense of time. The beats of a heart convey a clear sense of time, breathing offers a division of time, and thus walking is a model of measure and division of time into equal parts. Walking becomes a natural beginning to the child's initiation into an understanding of rhythm through feeling. Music acts on the whole of the organism like a magic force which suppresses the understanding and irresistably takes possession of the entire being. To insist on analyzing this force is to destroy its very essence." —Dalcroze
With a focus on rhythmic musical expression, Eurythmics encourages a student to experience rhythms, and other musical elements, and express that understanding through improvised movements. A student learns to simultaneously hear, understand and express the musical idea through motion. So the body interprets and expresses musical elements such as rhythm, meter, melody and dynamics in real-time. Music becomes a full-body experience. The student can then apply their experience of musical concepts to their piano playing. A group approach to music study.
The Dalcroze Practice Take a deeper dive into the principles, philosophy, strategies, and techniques of Dalcroze Education indicated on their website. "Typically the Dalcroze educator engages students to discover concepts through kinesthetic experience before addressing the subject in theoretical or written form. This experience involves improvisation, which is a way for students to “play with” and internalize a subject, making it their own. Students cannot expect to gain a Dalcroze Education from a book or video alone; they must experience this type of education in the classroom."
The answer is so many people. I've recently read some interesting articles about its benefits for senior citizens. The Effect of Music-Based Multitask Training on Gait, Balance, and Fall Risk in Elderly People (abstract), an article published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Émile Jaques-Dalcroze is now considered a visionary pioneer of Neurologic Music Therapy, and his methods now benefit Stroke victims, as well as seniors with dementia.
According to the Dalcroze Society of America, “… the Dalcroze approach teaches an understanding of music’s fundamental concepts, expressive meanings, and deep connections to other arts and activities. Performers, teachers, dancers, actors, children, and senior citizens can all benefit from this approach which incorporates rhythmic movement, aural training and improvisation.”
In one study, the classes started off simply — by having participants walk in time to the music — then gradually became more challenging over time. Besides footwork, participants sometimes had to perform upper-body movements or work with some object, like a percussion instrument or a ball, while moving.