THE WHOLE DEVELOPMENT MUSIC COURSE
“TOWARDS A NEW MUSICAL EDUCATION”
Veronica, a young woman of 13, has her final violin exam in two days. She has studied tirelessly to ensure that she passes, but she is still very nervous and, above all, fearful of committing an error in the exam.
There are many students like Veronica, children, youths and adults, who suffer the same syndrome: the fear of making a mistake in public. This fact raises an obvious question: why? Why are they so afraid of performing in public? Why do Veronica’s hands sweat and her bow tremble uncontrollably during her performance in the exam?
The answer to this question is at the same time simple and complex: there exists a wide gulf between performer and the music performed. This gulf is emotional and mental, and it is precisely in these two human states where a transformation must occur which can unite the performer with that wondrous and magical world that is music. When such a unification has been achieved, the true power of the music can flow through the musician.
The Whole Development Method of musical instruction (“Sounds, Rhythms and Images: A Reflection of Nature”) was first conceived in 1995 with this idea of transforming the performer-music relationship in mind. The method was first developed in Lugano, Switzerland, and is based on a vision in which the human being is conceived as a whole being. In the Whole Development Method, direct connections are made between the world of Nature and the world of sound. In this way, students internalize musical elements so that they recognize that the music is not something distant and abstract, but is located within them and in their environment.
At the same time, the student is recognized as a whole being, i.e., a being with mental, emotive and physical dimensions. In this respect, the method cultivates a harmonious union of these three states of being. For example, technical-musical problems are first resolved at the mental level, as a particular thought corresponds to a specific emotion, and this in turn to a particular physical action.
This method seeks to develop the following in the student:
- a fully integrated approach to playing a musical instrument through the creation of mental images drawn from Nature, as such images provoke in the performer a specific emotional response and in turn a specific action, thus transforming their musical performance into a deeper, more authentic event;
- the capacity to truly listen to music
- the ability to find the breaths that form part of the world of sound
- the use of the true mental, emotive and physical capacities of the student
- study-skills; for this objective it is fundamental to realize physical relaxation exercises before studying and to consider the sound and expression to be transmitted through the musical piece being studied
- the achievement of an authentic and whole presence on stage
- the transformation of the notion of what a concert is: i.e., to perceive it as a whole event in which the listener is as much a participant as the interpreter. In this way, the full force of the music can be made present in the event
- the unification of the student with the world of music in a creative, spontaneous and magical way, thus deepening his/her understanding of what music really is
The Whole Development Method is designed for children, youths and adults. It is delivered in the following ways:
- in group classes for children between 4 and 12 years of age, using percussion instruments
- in individual classes; in this case the method is applied specifically to the learning of a musical instrument such as violin or piano. A minimum of one year of group classes is recommended prior to beginning to learn an instrument, and group classes can also be continued after commencing classes in a particular instrument
- conferences directed at an adult audience, through which participants may come to perceive the world of music in a new way and to study the aspects of this new musical vision in depth
“Every human being is capable of natural expression. It is the task of the teacher to establish a creative, loving and disciplined method through which each individual student can explore – and realize – his/her full potential.”
– Paulina Derbez
This post is also available in: Spanish