The First Class Album Blue Volume - Ballet Class Music by Don Caron has become a favorite among ballet instructors worldwide. The album includes a complete ballet class, barre and center and features multiple tempos on most selections, which expands the applications of the various cuts, making them appropriate and useful for a larger variety of ballet exercises.
The First Class Album series, which includes four complete ballet classes on four different albums, includes the Blue Volume, the White Volume, the Red Volume, and the Yellow Volume, was composed and recorded by Composer/Pianist/Dancer Don Caron.
The series came about as a result of studies conducted at the Eastern Washington University Dance Department in the early 1980s, by Don Caron and dancer/choreographer Elizabeth Carlssohn. A subjective series of tests was conducted to ascertain how specific elements of the ballet class music affected the dancers' performance in class and their progress in mastering, or more appropriately, in working toward the mastery of the ballet moves and positions. These tests and the information collected resulted in a system called The Motosonus Method, which is a guide for composing and recording ballet class music as well as for live perfomance of music in a ballet class.
What was discovered in the process of developing The Motosonus Method, was that certain characteristics of the music had unmistakable and consistent impact on the student dancers. The most remarkable was the use of beat placement. As is explained in the outline for The Motosonus Method, the beat in music can be placed in a fairly wide variety of positions and still be musically correct. It was discovered that through a purposeful use of this beat placement, the ballet class music could be performed in such a way as to noticeably enhance the response of the dancers.
In addition to the manipulation of the beat, The Motosonus Method also outlines how to use phrasing, melody, rubato and other musical techniques to make the ballet class music far more effective. These developments are important for ballet instructors because the actually have a quantifiable impact on the progress the students make in class and the effectiveness with which they train their muscles and form the habits of ballet movement.
If you audition some of the ballet class music selections on this page, and listen for the way the beat is used you will immediately understand what we're describing in this brief overview.