Mar 312016

Montessori Lesson


4 years onwards


Set 1

A series of bells representing the whole tones and semi- tones of one octave from middle c. the bells are on black and white bases and correspond to the black and white notes on a piano.

Set 2

A second series of bells identical in sound to the above set but all on plain wooden bases and a wooden board marked into black and white spaces which are wide enough to hold one bell.
A wooden striker
A damper


To develop the child’s discrimination of pitch.


To develop the child’s perception of tones
To prepare the child for music.


High and low

  1. High and low are taught by means of the three period lesson. Select three bells from the diatonic scale e.g. Middle C and A – and bring them to the front of the mat isolating them from the others. Strike middle C, listen. Sing “this is low” then mute the bell. Strike A and listen. Sing “this is high” then mute the bell. Repeat.
  2. In the second period sing the “strike high” and “strike low” notes and encourage the child to answer by singing on the notes.
  3. In the third period, ask, “what is this”?

Comparitives and superlatives

  1. Select middle c and the three highest notes a, b, and c – and bring them down to the front of the stand to isolate them from the others.
  2. Strike middle c, sing “this is low”, and mute it.
  3. Strike a and sing “this is “high” and mute it.
  4. Strike b and sing “this is higher” and mute the bell.
  5. Strike c, sing “this is the highest”, and mute the bell.
  6. Continue in the usual manner with the second and third period.

Names and notes of the diatonic scale

  1. Play the diatonic scale and tell the child that the notes have names.
  2. Sing the names as you strike the bells again from middle c, to c.
  3. Then select three bells e.g. Middle c, e and b.
  4. Bring them down to the front of the stand to isolate them from the others.
  5. Strike middle c, listen and sing in tune “ this is c”
  6. Invite the child to do the same.
  7. Then do likewise with e and b giving the child a turn.
  8. Continue as for the 3 period lesson.
  9. Teach all the notes in this way.
  10. Before each lesson, review the ones already learnt.

Names of sharps and flats

  1. Play up and down the chromatic scale and sing la, la ,la,la.
  2. Decide on a bell e.g. Middle c and d.
  3. Strike middle c and sing in tune la – mute it.
  4. Strike c # and sing in tune la – mute it.
  5. Explain to the child that the notes are very similar with only a semi-tone difference.
  6. Ask him to listen carefully and proceed to sing them again.
  7. Play c # (sharp) again and tell the child that this is called c sharp. It is just higher than c.
  8. Invite the child to have a turn. Strike d and sing “la”…-mute it.
  9. Explain to the child that this note can also be called d flat.
  10. Ask to child to listen carefully, strike, and sing d and b flat.
  11. Continue as for a normal three period lesson. The other sharps and flats are similarly introduced.


The child realises when working with the chromatic scale that when a black bell is to the right of a white bell it is called a sharp relative to the white bell. When a black bell is to the left of a white bell it is called a flat relative to that bell – although the child will be working with the brown bells in front of the bells mentioned. It is essential that the control set of Bells are always in the correct sequence.

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