Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Learning about the Staff

The boys were super excited that they might be ready for a new music presentation this morning.  First, they each took turns demonstrating their readiness.  They labeled the half and whole steps of the major scale and then labeled each bell with it's letter names using the discs.

Their next job was to work as a team to bring me the big, heavy box from Nienhuis.  In the above photo (Which didn't turn out well, I wish I had a better photo of this because it was really cute.) they are bringing me the box while singing the "What's gonna work? Teamwork!" song from "Wonder Pets."

Inside, they found our proper (not contruction paper) staff boards.  They learned about the lines and spaces on the staff.  We also talked about leger lines.  I had them go into the music room and each choose some sheet music from whatever they could find lying around.  We used it to have a little scavenger hunt for notes written on leger lines.  For example:

  •  "Find me a leger line."
  • "Find me a note written ON a leger line."  
  • "Find me a note written BELOW or ABOVE a leger line."  
  • "Find me a leger line ABOVE the staff."  
  • "Find me a leger line BELOW the staff"
  • "Find me a group of 2 leger lines."
  • "Find me a note that needed FOUR leger lines."

Afterward, they brought out their rhythm notation materials and placed some rhythms on the staff board.  In the photo above, Kal-El is performing his by clapping.

Me Too:  ti-ri-ti-ri ta-ah

Kal-El:  ti-ri-ti-ri ti-ti (his stems are on the wrong side of the noteheads)

If you are looking for more information on Montessori music materials you can find my series of posts on this topic here, or through the "Montessori Music" tab at the top of this blog under the header.

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  1. Hi

    It's wonderful for me to be able to see Montessori music work in the home, so many thanks for your work in sharing what you do. I have a couple of questions though. I have absolutely no musical education and as a result do not read music, play any instrument and cannot be relied upon to sing in tune. And it is exactly for these reasons that I want to introduce my daughter to music in a Montessori way. She is 5 years old and I would like to get started in (roughly) the next year. Do you think that the Jean Miller book would be the right resource for me to use, given that I'm starting from the absolute beginning? Also, did you wait until your boys were ready to learn an instrument so that they could play music alongside learning in the classroom?

    Many thanks as always

  2. Amanda,

    Thanks for commenting!

    The Jean Miller book is written with Montessori guides in mind who also may have had NO musical training. Having been trained, I sometimes think things are obvious that aren't, but I distinctly remember thinking as I read through the Miller the first time that it is written in a way that explains EVERYTHING you need to know step by step so the guide learns right with the child. I think you'd be fine. Remember, the whole point of the lessons is to introduce the sensorial aspects of sound to children. They aren't technically meant to be "music" lessons, but can grow to be as they progress. The presentations start with such simple, basic, building block concepts that I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

    My boys started violin a good six months before we started the Montessori music. There wasn't any relationship between the two. While I see some neat things happen because the boys already play an instrument, I think the Montessori music lessons are meant to be and would be MARVELOUS experiences to have before learning an instrument.

  3. Thank you so much for your advice. It is encouraging that, up to a point at least, it's a sensorial work - I'm more relaxed thinking of it that way :) The Jean Miller book looks a great resource - just what I need in fact. Time to get cracking making our bells set!

  4. Interestingly enough, almost 100% of the primary and elementary music album pages come straight from Jean Miller's book.

    There are some non-crucial differences in layout, and there are a small number of additional activities in the primary and elementary AMI albums, but these are the only differences.

    Nienhuis has it for $24.90 - which is lower than it was when I originally bought it!

  5. Jessica,

    Jean Miller's book does not cover tone bars, only bells. I was hoping that the elementary albums would cover tone bars since it is the elementary work. Is that not the case?