In this paper I address how autoethnography was utilized to research the role and value of arts practice research in Western classical music professional training and practice, by a classically trained professional violinist. As a researcher, I use the philosophy and method of Dalcroze Eurhythmics as a framework to excavate the multiple layers of my own practice and investigate whether there is wider potential resonance for other professional performers. I utilize a mixed-mode approach, combining artistic practice with a number of documenting strategies, in particular using autoethnography as a tool for documentation and reflection. I propose key findings concerning the value of arts practice, and how an autoethnographic journey facilitated the emergence of the self as artist, within the Western classical music culture. The processes of excavation, enabled by autoethnography, attempt to unearth the holistic artist within the performing musician.


Dalcroze Eurhythmics, classical music education, string playing, autoethnography, arts practice research

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Diane Daly is a violinist, educator, and researcher. As a performer, she made her debut in Ireland as a soloist with the RTE Symphony Orchestra at the age of 12. She has played principal with all the Irish orchestras and toured internationally with ensembles including The Academy of St Martin in the Fields, The European Union Chamber Orchestra, Camerata Ireland and the Irish Chamber Orchestra. She has appeared as a chamber musician at festivals including West Cork, Kilkenny, Heidelberg and Aldeburgh. She is in demand as a soloist and was due to tour Brazil and Chile in 2020 before Covid-19 intervened. In other genres she has performed and recorded alongside many of the biggest names in rock and leads her own jazz trio that is a regular fixture at festivals. Diane is a qualified Dalcroze researcher and teacher and for many years ran a parallel career as educator, incorporating Dalcroze approaches into instrumental teaching. In 2015, she brought the two strands of her career together when she embarked upon an Arts Practice PhD investigating the influence of Dalcroze techniques on her professional performance practice. From this research emerged a number of insights and new approaches that became Creative Embodied String Performance (CESP). This incorporates fresh approaches to devising, preparing and performing repertoire. Her research was funded by the Irish Research Council. Diane has been the course director of the MA in Classical Strings at the University of Limerick since 2017, and from this base is developing a number of exciting and innovative research projects both in Ireland and across Europe that develop the concepts of embodiment, presence, creativity and connection. Please direct correspondence to diane.daly@ul.ie.


Thank you to the Irish Research Council of Ireland for funding this research.

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