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I feel that music appreciation is such an important area, yet is quite abstract in some ways for a young child. My KHT Montessori training didn’t have a music album, so how do I expose our children to music in a Montessori-inspired way?
I figured it should be no different than any other subject exploration. For me, this means
- plenty of hands-on time with real instruments
- a space that is set up to foster spontaneous musical expression (i.e. instruments accessible at the child’s height)
- demonstration on how to use the instruments
- how all this applies in real life
(I should say I’m blazing a trail all on my own when it comes to this subject. I do believe there is a more formal album for Montessori music education, but I don’t have it at this time.)
1. Hands-on exposure to real instruments
If possible, I think this is the best way to experience and appreciate musical instruments. Children are such concrete learners that having a real instrument to play with makes a huge difference in their understanding. If this is not possible, I think a trip to the music store will serve the same benefit (if the store manager will be kind enough to allow such a field trip.)
My boys have access to a variety of real musical instruments because that’s important to me. We have collected these over the years because they show such passion and talent for music.
2. Independent access to instruments
Space is limited in our homeschool/living room, but we found a nice little nook to place Z’s beautiful ukulele (gifted by his uncle). He often grabs his ukulele to spontaneously break into song. It’s so fun to watch him!
Our drum kit and keyboard are in the basement, and have been adjusted as low as possible. Both my boys have been shown how to turn them on and off. They frequently go down to the basement to have a jam session to their favorite worship song.
3. Demonstration on how to use the instruments
I learned how to play the organ as a child, but we don’t have this at home. And I don’t know how to play the guitar nor the drums. I can play simple songs on our keyboard, but that’s about it.
At this time, I don’t send my kids to any formal music lessons. Instead, we rely a lot on YouTube to watch how these instruments are used.
4. How all this applies in real life
I find that our activities have a longer life-span if my boys can see how it is applied. They are both much more keen to use the instruments when they have a favorite song to practice or when there is a new song to learn.
We watch worship songs on YouTube, and they get to see the songs performed by our church band each week. This gets them pumped up and want to get their rock on at home (despite the forehead and nose injury!)
Kitchen toys and pencils are turned into drum kits, recycled material turned into a microphone … their imagination becomes limitless when they understand and appreciate the beauty and joy of being able to make music. Such fierce passion abounds!
Lately, I’m trying to dive deeper into the technical details of musical instruments to see if there’s any interest. Here’s what we have done, but I’ll be honest — this really isn’t holding Z’s interest at the moment. So I don’t force the issue — I’m happy with his music exposure at the moment and we’ll revisit the technical details when he’s a little older.
- Parts of a guitar
Z’s favorites at the moment are the guitar (a ukulele is the ideal size for him), so we decided to learn parts of a guitar. We just started, so he has not mastered this. But I also don’t place as much emphasis on memorization than exposure. We got our 3 part cards here.
- Creating a guitar craft
We used some recycled objects around the house to re-create a guitar. We used the 3 part cards and the ukulele as our controls of error. I feel that this not only helps him to understand the concept of these musical instruments (sounds created using strings), but also to solidify his learning of the parts of a guitar. M (8 years old) was more keen on this than Z (3 years old) though.
I hope this has inspired you! For more resources on Montessori Music activities, I encourage you to check out all the blogs listed below:
Don’t forget to check out my previous posts as part of this 12 Months of Montessori Series: