DSA Member Spotlight: Sarah Schreffler

Phoenix-based Sarah Schreffler is an invaluable member of the Dalcroze USA community. I first met Sarah a few years ago when she began training towards the Professional Certificate at the Dalcroze School of the Rockies (now the Dalcroze School of Music and Movement). This past summer, Sarah completed all of her personal exams towards the Professional Certificate. Read on to learn a little bit more about Sarah and her work!

What is your Dalcroze origin story?

My first experience with Dalcroze was in high school, when I took classes in Seattle with Julia Schnebly-Black as part of a comprehensive extracurricular college/conservatory prep program. From there, I took a few years of eurhythmics at the Cleveland Institute of Music, which particularly deepened my relationship with rhythm. After years away from school, I started to recognize the benefits of Dalcroze in my practice and performance and developed a growing appreciation for my experiences with it. Now I’m deep into Dalcroze teacher-training at the Dalcroze School of Music and Movement. It’s a lot of work, but so worthwhile.

Tell us about your musical background:

I am a violinist who started as a Suzuki kid! I’ve played since I was four, and with the unwavering support of my parents went through the years of lessons, youth symphonies, auditions, and college degrees to make a life as a professional musician. The bulk of my training is as an orchestral and chamber musician, but I’ve also found so much gratification in teaching – it’s the best of all the worlds. I currently perform with the Burn City String Quartet in Phoenix and teach in the Maricopa Community College district.

How do you incorporate Dalcroze work into your musical life?

Dalcroze makes an appearance pretty much everywhere I perform or teach. In lessons it’s always nice (and very effective) to set the instrument down and make musical connections in movement-based ways. In classes or coachings, we’re up and moving and/or singing at least once per session. It also manifests in my own playing, as I become more and more aware of how I’m using my body to create music on the violin. I think more deeply about how I’m expending my energy to play and give myself permission to use all the time and space necessary to communicate with the audience. It’s very liberating.

Are you currently offering Dalcroze classes?

I generally work with college students, which is a joy for me. College students are often at a place where they can really benefit from getting out of their heads and into experiences. I love creating safe and fun environments where they feel like they can experiment with new ways of making music, experiencing rhythm, and have the courage to be expressive. Right now, I’m focusing on introducing Dalcroze to the Phoenix area and Arizona at large through workshops geared toward our college district, as well as string-specific workshops for teachers. Recent workshops have been with Arizona State University, the Tucson Brass Workshop, the Oracle Chamber Music Festival, and the Tetra Chamber Music Institute Summer Workshop. 

Tell us about your involvement with the DSA:

I joined the DSA in 2018 before I attended my first national conference and helped out with the 2023 conference. This year I am co-chairing the 2024 National Conference with Greg Ristow, working with a thoughtful and detail-oriented planning committee, and looking forward to a fabulous time in Oberlin this June!

Any other fun facts or trivia about you?

I am co-owner of an amateur motorsports endurance-racing team called Fetterhund Motorsports.

About Katie Couch

Katie Couch holds the Dalcroze Certificate and License from the Dalcroze School of the Rockies. She lives and works along the Colorado Front Range as a Dalcroze teacher with classes that range in age and level from early childhood through adult enrichment, with several other children’s classes as well.