Thursday, February 10, 2011

Activity Ideas for Musical Training in the Montessori Preschool Classroom

NAMC montessori preschool musical training activities children with instruments

In our Montessori preschool classroom, we try to incorporate a variety of music and movement activities that help to build good listening skills, promote self expression, and increase a child’s self confidence. The children enjoy playing games like Sound Bingo and Name That Sound, and they enjoy working with Montessori materials including the Sound Cylinders and Hand Bells. We have a specialized music teacher who comes twice a week, and it is such a special time for the young students. They learn about rhythm, rhyme and melody, they have the opportunity to explore various rhythm instruments, they learn how to keep a steady beat, and they enjoy exploring different types of body percussion.

At the beginning of the school year, my three-year-old Montessori student Jordan was very quiet, and rarely participated in such activities. But with regular exposure in a fun and non-threatening environment, he now has the confidence to stand up in front of his peers and hum a melody, as well as participate in the various games that are played during circle time and music class.

Activity Ideas for Musical Training in the Montessori Preschool Classroom

The other day we were listening to a song from a music and movement CD. Jordan put up his hand and said, “Teacher Bree, I hear a glockenspiel in that song!” He was absolutely correct, and I was amazed that he was able to hear and name the instrument … such an abstract concept! I often hear Jordan humming a song or singing to himself while working with Practical Life activities, and he is often curled up in our Sound Corner exploring the rhythm instruments from around the world.

Musical training can enhance child development in so many ways. It helps children learn valuable problem-solving skills, improves their physical coordination, concentration, memory, and their language skills.

Through musical training, a child learns to be more self-disciplined and to feel more confident in expressing themselves.

Musical training improves listening skills, not to mention instills in children a love for music! A child’s sense of worth and creative nature will surely shine when they are given a wide range of musical opportunities. A few of the activities that I have implemented over the years in my Montessori preschool are listed below.

  • A Music and Movement lesson that incorporates Geography is always fun. Try dancing to music with colored scarves that correspond to the various continents, or listening to a CD with songs from around the world.
  • Challenge the children to identify everyday sounds. My Montessori preschool students love to close their eyes and put up their hand to identify different sounds that they hear in the environment; we do this both indoors and outdoors.
  • Play a CD with animal sounds and encourage the students to guess which animals make each one.
  • Play a ‘copy-me game’. Make different sounds or a particular rhythm and encourage the children to repeat it back.
  • Challenge the children to identify the instruments being played in different songs. This activity works best with children 5 years and older.
  • Rhyming Games are always popular with young children. The children in my class love to sing Down by the Bay as well as Willaby Wallaby Woo. We sing the following song and try and incorporate each child in the class.

    Willaby Wallaby Woo

    Willaby Wallaby Wordan
    An elephant sat on Jordan
    Willaby Wallaby Welissa
    An elephant sat on Melissa

  • Musical storytelling is another fun activity that my students love. I retell an old favorite, but incorporate rhythm instruments to make various sounds during the story.
  • Exploring instruments from around the world is a wonderful activity and a great way to promote a sense of cultural awareness.
  • Freeze dancing is always a favorite, and the children love holding still like statues when the music stops.
  • Play Musical Chairs.
  • Provide the children with rhythm instruments and help them to create a musical band.
  • Explore sound boxes. Have a few boxes available and inside each, place a variety of items that make different sounds.
  • Make sounds shakers or rainmakers out of various recyclable materials (yogurt containers, baby food jars, toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls).
  • Record the children's voices and then challenge them to identify the person whose voice it is when played back.

This year long series looks at the experiences of teachers, parents, students, and Montessori education itself, as we follow a student through his first year at a Montessori Preschool. Montessori Insights and Reflections of a Preschool Child’s First Year is a collection of useful stories, tips, and information that have arisen from one real student's Montessori journey.

Bree — NAMC Tutor & Graduate

As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Thursday, February 10, 2011.


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