Who Says Little Kids Can't Read and Write Music? Let's Do This, The Montessori Way!

MONTESSORI CHILDREN ARE EXCITED ABOUT MUSIC NOTATION BECAUSE THEY HAVE PLAYFUL AND HANDS-ON EXPERIENCES FIRST!
In my years of making music with little children, I have found that they greatly enjoy exploring the mechanics of music. They seem to love exploring instruments of all kinds and learning how they make their sounds. What is really interesting to me is how much little ones love to explore notation...that being how music is written out for all of us to enjoy!

The Montessori way of presenting anything to children is to begin with real, hands-on experiences. Music notation is an element of music that is quite abstract and so the very best way for children to begin learning how to write music is by first having real experiences using notation for a familiar song. 

Over the years, the children in my groups have enjoyed the following activity so much that it usually stays in the classroom all year round!

"Twinkle, Twinkle", in Written Notation

The set-up:


How to do it:
  1. The "Twinkle, Twinkle" song is placed on the music stand that has been adjusted to the height of the children in the group. The musical instrument, triangle and its striker, is placed on the music stand as well. 
  2. Child uses the triangle to play along while "reading the music" . The child is playing the rhythm rather than the melody and often s/he sings the song as s/he plays.
  3. One child can be the "conductor" while others are the singers. The "conductor" uses a pointer as s/he points to the notes and words of the song and cues the "singers" to follow along.
  4. As the children gain skills, they can be given blank sheets of large music staff paper along with black sticky dots. The "Twinkle Twinkle" notation book is used as a model for the children to make their own books. This would be an individualized shelf work and usually the children are 4 yrs or older. It may take a few days to complete! 


"Sandpaper Music Notes"  





The set up:
  • Quarter note, quarter rest, double eighth notes, and half note mounted on heavy card stock or squares of wood (I made mine with adhesive-backed boat decking from Home Depot that has a rough surface similar to sandpaper) 
****You can get my free template for these notes as part of the pdf download for my workshop in the Trillium Montessori Summer Summit. (see how to register at the end of this post)
How to do it:
  1. Child traces the note with index and middle finger of the dominant hand while saying the name of the note
  2. Child traces the note in the sand tray from the language area of the classroom
  3. Teach the children the way to say the notes in rhythmic patterns that are done in the rhythm echoes at the beginning of music class: Quarter Note is "ta", Quarter Rest is "sah", Two Eighth Notes is "ti-ti", and Half Note is "To-oe."  ****You can hear echo rhythms at my website by clicking here: FUN STUFF videos "Rhythm Echoes."
  4. At Music Circle, you can hold up 2 or 3 of the sandpaper notation cards for the children to play or sing the pattern (ex: "ta, ti-ti, to-oe")
  5. Children can create rhythm patterns of their own using the sandpaper music notes for reciting, singing, or playing.

The "Conductor" Game 


The Set-up:
  • Laminated card with the music notation "f", for "Forte" (means loud) on one side,  and "p", for "Piano" (means quiet) on the other side. You can get the downloads for these cards FREE at my TpT Store by clicking HERE.
How to do it:
  1. Start by being the "conductor" yourself. Choose a song for the children to sing and then hold up one side of the card to indicate how they should sing (loudly or quietly). Flip the card over at the end of each line of the song so the children will change the way they are singing.
  2. Later, a child can be the "conductor" and the children can choose the song to be sung.
  3. The card can be put in a basket on the shelf with a set of sand blocks and one child can be the "conductor" while another child plays the sand blocks according to which side of the card the "conductor" is showing.

Writing Music!

You just may be pleasantly surprised when you see your little ones spontaneously writing out music notes of their own!  
The four year old in the photo above would write out notes (complete with his handmade music staff) and then he would take his work home and ask his mom to play his song on the piano!

The six year old has a sweet sense of humor...she wrote "This is myoosic." I think her treble clef is simply lovely!

Want to join me each week for training in the first 12 weeks of your music program? My upcoming eCourse will be filled with videos, downloadable lesson plans with printables, and many of my secrets for creating a successful music curriculum, Montessori style! 

YOU CAN LEARN MORE AND EVEN GET ON MY WAITING LIST, IF YOU LIKE, BY CLICKING THIS LINK: 

Right now you can register to participate in my on-line training with my Musically Montessori Workshop in the first ever Montessori conference! When you register for the Trillium Montessori Summer Summit, you will have on-line access to my hour long training ("Using the Montessori Method to Create a Successful Music Curriculum for Young Children") along with workshops from twelve other Montessori educator/experts on a variety of topics!

I WOULD LOVE FOR YOU TO CHECK OUT MY GUEST POST AT TRILLIUM MONTESSORI'S BLOG THIS WEEK. 

I MADE A LITTLE VIDEO TO GIVE YOU A GLIMPSE OF MY UPCOMING SUMMER SUMMIT WORKSHOP! 

Registration is open NOW and if you purchase the ALL ACCESS PASS you will receive $50. worth of free printables from Trillium Montessori! 

The cost to you for this 4 day on-line Montessori conference?... Just $69.

I think that is an incredible deal and I am so looking forward to all the inspirational ideas from the other workshop presenters! 

You can click here to learn more and 
register for the event: Trillium Montessori Summer Summit.


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This Blog article is part of the wonderful link-up at Living Montessori Now. You can find amazing resources and lots of other articles from Montessori educators world-wide at that link: Montessori Monday Link-up.

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