Musically Montessori: Your Kids Can Have Lots of Fun With the Music of Europe Featuring Johannes Brahms!

TO MY SURPRISE, THE MONTESSORI CHILDREN FELL IN LOVE WITH THE HUNGARIAN DANCE FROM THE GERMAN COMPOSER, JOHANNES  BRAHMS! 

I personally think it's all in the "set-up"...


All photos in the article are by the artists at Adobe Stock 

In our recent Springtime studies of music from around the world, I decided to include the music of the German composer Johannes Brahms this year, and it was a big success with the Montessori Preschoolers!

We started our music activities from Germany by singing our "Hello" song using the German greeting:



We are fortunate in the Montessori classrooms, to have lots of "props" for music class when it comes to world music. I love introducing the day's music with requesting that one of the children bring me the colored continents globe. 

Then, I point out that our music activities are from the country of Germany on the continent of Europe.




The Montessori Continents Globe from Amazon: HERE.

Next, I invite a child to fetch  the flag of Germany. Many of the older children already know which flag is the German flag and can carry it nicely to our music circle.

Next, I show the children a picture of Johannes Brahms. They love to repeat his name, too. There are always a few comments about his big scruffy beard!


I ask the children to gently rub their ears along the edges to prepare them for listening to some music from Brahms. When I tell the children that the music might make them a little sleepy, they are very interested in what is to come next!

So, I put on the orchestral version of Brahms Lullaby and the children do seem to get sleepy and of course, many of them immediately remember the song from hearing it at home! 


We have a fun little discussion about why the music makes them sleepy and then I tell them that music that is written for putting babies to sleep is called a lullaby. This music we are hearing is a famous lullaby: Brahms Lullaby!



If you happen to have a little music box that plays Brahms Lullaby, this is a great time to bring it to the children. I have a sturdy one that I can pass around the circle for children to play. Or you can add it to your Europe basket on your Montessori Cultural Studies shelf in the classroom.



After the children have fun pretending to fall asleep when hearing Brahms Lullaby, then I tell them I have some more music from Brahms that will definitely wake them up! 

We prepare our ears for focused listening again, and I put on the selection from Brahms' Hungarian Dance #5. They are immediately moving their arms and smiling when they hear this lively music! It is such a great contrast to the lullaby music and the children pick up on this immediately. In the Hungarian Dance there are a couple of parts where the music gets quiet, so I tell the children there is some lullaby music coming up...then the music quickly picks up tempo and wakes everyone up again! 

I am convinced that this playful way of presenting classical music to young children really cultivates a love of music at an early age. My groups have asked for this activity again and again over the past weeks!

Since this Hungarian Dance music lends itself to playing the tambourine, we quickly give tambourines out to each child and I play this fun selection from the cd, Kids Meet Composers.  (from Amazon)

This cd has an amusing introduction to Johannes Brahms and his life and I play it for the older groups (Prek/K) since they have a bit more of an attention span and enjoy the humor in the selection. (An actor personifies Brahms and it's quite entertaining and has a few jokes, too!)


With this selection from the cd, "Tap Your Tambourines"  the children play along with their tambourines as the singers describe how to move and play them. All along the background melody is the Hungarian Dance #5.




Once we have the tambourines out, the children love to play rhythms together that we have practiced over the past few months. "Ti-ti Ta" and "Ta Ti-ti Toe" are some of the favorites, and the children are really gaining skills in playing these familiar rhythms in unison (almost!) You can see my videos on making these rhythms with kids at my website: HERE.


It's also fun to vary one of our ending songs, "I Have A Little Pony,"  by playing our tambourines along while we sing. We keep the beat by stretching our legs out in front of us and tapping the tambourine from shin then thigh repeatedly. (Like the clip clop trotting of a pony)




Once again, I am so happy that you came to visit my Blog this week and I hope that you and your child/ren get a chance to have fun with Mr. Brahms and his amazing music!

I have been preparing a Teacher's Lesson Plan packet for these music activities from our world music unit and it will be for sale soon at my TpT Store soon! 

As usual, my email subscribers will be the first to be notified when the Lesson Plan Packet is out and there will be a special 24 hr price of $2. for all of you to be able to get the packet for a song! (pun intended!)

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These music activities described in this article will fit in very well with your Montessori cultural studies of Europe, too!

I invite you to check out this wonderful cultural studies super pack of downloads from Trillium Montessori: Seven Continents A-Z Bundle.  

This post today is part of the "Montessori Monday Link-up" at the Living Montessori Now site, where you can read lots of articles from Montessori educators worldwide. There are also MANY FREE resources and downloads at this fabulous site! You can check it out by clicking here. Hope you enjoy!

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