Montessori Lesson


3.5 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.

Introductory exercise

Demonstrate how to play the bells up and down the scale. The child can then select a single bell and isolates it from the others at the front of the stand or takes it to the table. He then strikes and mutes the bell alternately, or he strikes the bell and allows the note to die away. The child is encouraged to sing the note.


  1. Name the bells and show the child how to carry them. The bell should be carried in an upright position only, with one hand gripping the stem and the other hand beneath the base.
  2. Tell the child that we are going to pair the diatonic scale.
  3. Set 1 is placed on the wooden board in the correct order. The Montessori Directress shows the child how to strike the bells with the hammer provided.
  4. Select three white and three corresponding brown bells on the board.
  5. The selected three brown bells should contrast in tone (low C, F and B for e.g.) Place them together, in a mixed up order, in the centre of the space on the table in front of the board.
  6. Take up the striker and strike one of the white bells (diatonic scale) and listen carefully to the sound. Then strike one of the brown bells and if it does not match move it to the far right hand side of the table.
  7. Strike the white bell gain, and try a second brown bell. Repeat until you find a match. Invite the child to strike each bell of the matched pair.

    The child must distinguish differences and grade the bells. Using set 2, the bells are arranged randomly on the table from left to right. The child strikes one bell at a time. When the lowest bell is heard, he places it to the left of the mat and keeps on listening for the next highest bell. The highest bell will then be on the right hand side of the mat.


    Another day, repeat the presentation with three new pairs of contrasting bells.As you introduce three new bells each day, re-use the pair that you used before. ( 1 known and 2 unknown)


    Another day, do the presentation with all eight brown bells mixed up on the front edge of the table.


    Give a three period lesson on the comparatives and superlatives of “high” and “low” or “highest” and “lowest” and so on.


    For ex. 2, the child can check to see if he has graded the bells correctly by comparing the order of the bells of set 1. These are set out on the board in the correct order.