Musically Montessori! A Music Toolbox for the Preschool: My Stand-by Favorites!

STURDY, VERSATILE, QUALITY AND FUN: IMPORTANT SUPPLIES FOR THE MONTESSORI MUSIC ROOM!



Photo by the artists at Dollar Photo Club

I love seeing young children singing, playing instruments and moving to music EVERYDAY! Bringing purposeful music experiences to these children has always been an important part of early childhood education, and the right music "tools" can make all the difference.

The "Butterfly Dance" in Carolyn's Music Class


iPOD


If you use an iPOD or PHONE for the music you play for the children in your group, then you can create play lists for your everyday music class. Just about every favorite childhood song is downloadable these days and iPods can hold a large amount of cp3 songs! Also, you can transfer songs from cd s onto your iPod (via computer) and have the songs you've enjoyed for years right at your finger tips & stored compactly on your iPod.




I USE MUSIC RECORDINGS FOR:

  • Movement Activities 
  • Focused Listening Activities 
  • Listening to Authentic Renditions from the Various Cultural Genres of Music. 
Also, RECORDINGS OF SONGS ARE HELPFUL FOR THE TEACHER LEARNING NEW SONGS TO LATER TEACH TO THE CHILDREN.

I've been using my iPhone as an iPod for years. Recently, when I upgraded to a new phone, I kept my old phone and now it is officially my iPod for music class. I REALLY LIKE APPLE PRODUCTS and highly recommend them. I love that I can transfer recordings between all my devices and I can even make recordings in Garage Band and send it over to one of my iTunes play lists. This means you can record the children singing (or playing instruments) and put them on your iPod or even make a cd for the parents!

Regardless of which mp3 product you use, I have so enjoyed HAVING PLAYLISTS FOR MUSIC CLASS.
My play list is like my lesson plan!


SPEAKER

I also use a BLUETOOTH SPEAKER that can be placed anywhere in a room (or even outdoors). No need to locate electrical outlets or to have cords running across the floor. I really like the bluetooth speakers from Jawbone. I have had mine for over 4 years now and it is still going full blast! In my opinion, these have a true sound and they are sturdier than other brands, especially around children. On the top of the box, there are controls and you can even control the volume & the song selection from these controls, if you like. It also works just fine using the controls on your iPod. I have the BIG JAMBOX because I sometimes work with large groups in large rooms for training programs. For a normal size classroom, the MINI JAMBOX should work just fine.

There's a GREAT SALE on this BIG JAMBOX right now!(see link below)


If you prefer plugging in your mp3 device into a stationery speaker, I look for a set-up that is sturdy and not easy for children to knock over. This one from iHome works nicely and has a remote, too.

RECORDINGS FOR MOVEMENT ACTIVITIES

In the Montessori environment, CHILDREN CLASSICALLY BEGIN ACTIVITIES "ON THE LINE" when they are as young as two! I find that "the line" or the edge of the rug is a great place for movement such as marching and circle dancing.
Here are some Montessori-style movement songs that even the youngest children enjoy.

 "The Line" 
"Warming Up the Body"
"Dancing for Little Kids"
"Just Plain Fun!"
Several of the songs cited above are available on cd only...but they are well worth the purchase of the entire cd since there are many fun music activities on each. I download the cd to my computer and then put individual songs on my playlist to transfer to iPod or iPhone.



FAVORITE SONGS FOR SINGING

You can check out my FAVORITE HUNDRED SONGS FROM THE MONTESSORI MUSIC ROOM at the following link. Just scroll down to the 5 articles titled: Musically Montessori! A Hundred Songs.



RECORDINGS FOR FOCUSED LISTENING

DEVELOPING LISTENING SKILLS is a GREAT BENEFIT OF MUSIC  with young children. Practicing focused listening can be a really fun activity for children.

You can offer listening activities with:
  • EVERYDAY SOUNDS the children are familiar with (ex: birds, car horn, popcorn popping, etc) 
  • Gradually introduce the SOUNDS OF EACH INSTRUMENT OF THE ORCHESTRA
  • Eventually children enjoy listening to FAMOUS PIECES OF MUSIC (ex: Beethoven's fifth)


Here are some sources for focused listening experiences for young children:


FAVORITE CLASSIC COMPOSERS CHILDREN LOVE

I think that young children really enjoy learning about some of the classic composers in Western Music.
Here are some of the very favorites of the children I have worked with over the years:


Mozart at this link:Mozart on Amazon. 


Beethoven at this link:Beethoven At Amazon.  


Vivaldi at this link:Vivaldi at Amazon.

 Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint Saens and more! at this link:Saint Saens & More at Amazon.

The Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky  and more! 


MUSIC FROM THE CULTURES OF THE WORLD


In the Montessori early childhood setting, we traditionally introduce the continents of the world to the children throughout the school year. 

Playing the Rainstick from South America Study Unit

Typically, we also like to explore the countries of the children's family heritages and music is a wonderful way to do this! 

INSTRUMENTS

A very important part of music for young children is the actual MAKING OF MUSIC! 
RHYTHM INSTRUMENTS AND PITCHED PERCUSSION are always engaging for the children and should be a part of music class, at least weekly.

Playing the Castanets in the Montessori Music Room

Here is a LIST OF THE INSTRUMENTS I RECOMMEND for early childhood settings with links of where they can be viewed/ purchased:
   Rhythm sticks (a set for each child in the group)
   Maracas (a set for each child in the group)
   Single Bells (a set for each child in the group)
   Sand Blocks (a set for each child in the group)
   Triangles (a triangle & striker for each child in the group)
   Finger cymbals ( a set for each child in the group)
   Tambourines (one for each child in the group)
   Glockenspiel (just one that has a true tone)
   Hand drum (just one that is easy for a child to handle)
   Cymbals (just one set that is child-sized)
~ Wonderful RHYTHM INSTRUMENTS that DIRECTLY EXERCISE THE PINCER GRASP for the young child are the CASTANETS, but a bit challenging for the youngest children!


IF THE BUDGET IS REALLY TIGHT:
A RULE OF THUMB is that when the children have an INSTRUMENT THAT REQUIRES THE USE OF BOTH HANDS, they stay engaged more fully. (Ex: rhythm sticks, finger cymbals, tambourines)

I prefer to start the children out with everyone playing the same instrument, so a set of RHYTHM STICKS for each child is usually affordable. These can be used in so many, many ways! I consider them to be a "must have!"

Next, I would invest in FINGER CYMBALS, which is another instrument that is inexpensive and played with both hands.

I think it is worth it to purchase some SMALL, PLASTIC TAMBOURINES because these can also be played like a drum.

Then, if need be, each child can play one maraca. Likewise, the single bell can be limited to one for each child rather than two. 


YOU WILL NEED some kind of PITCHED INSTRUMENT for SOLFEGE WORK and if the Glockenspiel is out of your range, then a set of resonator bars can be substituted. Here's a good set from Amazon: Basic Beat Resonator Bars.

If your classroom has a set of the MONTESSORI BRASS BELLS, then you have a fabulous pitched instrument for a great many activities! 
  

PROPS

Some PROPS in music class are AIDS for the TEACHER TO ILLUSTRATE MUSIC CONCEPTS, like puppets for loud and quiet. Other PROPS are for the CHILDREN TO USE FOR MOVEMENT, individually or all together as a group.(ex: Stretchy Band)


HERE ARE THE ALL-TIME FAVORITE PROPS from my 
Montessori Music Room with the links to view/ purchase:
   Scarves (one or two for each child)
   Rainbow Ribbons (one for each child)
   Stretchy Band (Choose a size appropriate for the number of children in your group. You will need the extra large size for a group of 24-36 children)
   Finger Puppets (one for each child)
   "Music Babies" (one for each child)
   Hand Puppets (for the teacher to illustrate music concepts)
Here are 2 examples of puppets for games with fast and slow music:

Music that is fast (like a rabbit) is called "Presto"

 View rabbit puppet at this link: Folkmanis Rabbit Puppet.

Music that is slow (like a turtle) is called "Largo"

View Turtle Puppet at this link: Folkmanis turtle puppet.

More examples: 


  • Bird for high pitch
  • Frog for low pitch
  • Lion for loud  (or "Forte") in music
  • Mouse for quiet (or "Piano") in music

Check out my favorite music resources at my Amazon Store by clicking this link:Magical Movement A Store. 


Photo by the artists at Dollar Photo Club 

You can find more activities & information at my past posts by clicking on the links below:



I am so delighted to have you visiting my Blog and I hope you found lots of ideas for music experiences with your group!




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