Dr. Montessori’s cosmic view of education is to teach all branches of learning as part of an interwoven network. Therefore, music is not taught as a subject but as an integral part of the daily activities of the class.
When the child first enters the class, he joins in small groups singing nursery rhymes and well-known jingles. These he will have heard at home and will know therefore that he is able to take part as soon as he wishes. These activities help to form a bridge between his home environment and school, thus helping his orientation process and adaptation. If you are homeschooling, you should introduce music related activities as part of the daily routine. It works well to start the day’s activities with music as it relaxes the child and creates a good frame of mind for concentration in the activities that follow. Using a playlist with carefully chosen children’s songs can be very useful to ensure you are always prepared.
Children love repetition therefore they enjoy singing the old favourites over and over again. To add to the interest and to give the children a wider choice, two or three new songs are introduced each week.
Children between the years 3 – 6 are in the sensorial stage of development. Activities are designed to use the potential of this stage to its optimum.
For the refinement of the auditory sense, the child manipulates small containers called the sound cylinders. These are paired in exact sounds which are audible when gently shaken, and can be graded from soft to loud.
For the refinement of the body movements, activities centred around walking to music, on the line, for balance, are introduced. These activities gradually extend to different rhythmic movements of the body to music with a definite tempo.
For the refinement of the auditory sense of pitch, the children are introduced to exercises with the bells, which prepare them for the music programme designed to teach notation.
Ongoing throughout are singing activities which emphasise rhythm when the children clap, tap, nod etc.
The children also use percussion instruments for enjoyment and the highlighting of rhythm.
The link between music and all cultural areas is formed by songs and dances of other countries, discussions about composers, their music, country of origin, place in history. The children learn the names of the instruments, their particular sounds and place in the orchestra, and are introduced to different schools of music including Baroque, Classical, Romantic etc.
All the different aspects of music are introduced separately but parallel – the activities are intermingled, and form a foundation for music, which will remain with the child throughout his life adding an important and enjoyable dimension to the child’s life.
Here are some Additional Ideas for Music Presentations
PITCH – HIGH AND LOW.
- Listen to sounds around you that have different pitch.
- Play high and low notes on a melodic instrument like a piano or xylophone.
- Place items on high places such as a cylinder on a shelf, or low places such as a cylinder on the lowest shelf.
- Make voices high and low e.g. Cat meowing, dog barking.
- Make voices follow your hand from low to high like climbing the stairs.
- Do many actions on different levels such as picking apples off the tree, collecting leaves off the ground, and walking tall like a giraffe, slithering like a snake.
- Relate high, medium and low to places on the body e.g. Low-feet, middle-tummy, high- head. Stretch or jump high, lie down etc.
- Ball games – bouncing high and low.
- Pour water into glass bottles to different levels making high and low notes.
TEMPO – FAST AND SLOW.
- Sing familiar songs at different tempos.
- Move bodies or scarves to fast and slow music.
- Use instruments and play at different tempos.
- Play games or sing songs where you get faster and go slower. Show the child exactly how to hold the instrument correctly.
- Imitate how fast or slow animals move e.g. Elephant and ant
- Play music of different tempos and let children draw or paint in time to the music.
DYNAMICS – LOUD AND SOFT.
- Discuss loud and soft sounds heard in the classroom. Places where you need to be quiet e.g. Library, church, and hospital.
- Play instruments and sing using the different dynamics.
- Listen to recordings of soft and loud music.
TEXTURE – FEW, MANY.
- Children should be made aware of how many sounds are heard at the same time. Listen to pieces of music where it is easy to hear different voices and instruments.
- Play instruments one at a time then add another and another.
- One person can sing a song and slowly add more voices.
- Listen to recordings of a choir.
TIMBRE – COLOUR OF SOUND.
A French term describing the quality of sound – clear, dull, cool, vibrant etc.
- Listen to things that rattle, clink, clank or jiggle. (doorbells, horses clip clopping..)
- Tap on metal, wood, glass.
- Find recordings of a violin, cello or double bass; what a trumpet and flute sound like.
PULSE / BEAT.
This is the underlying ‘throb’ or ‘heart beat’ implied through a piece of music.
This is the timing of the music; the different patterns of sounds and silence or number of beats in every bar of music.
Singing a verse, chorus then another verse is the structure or ‘form’ of a piece of music.