Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Montessori Music: Reading Music

This was SO MUCH FUN!  I found this presentation in the Keys of the Universe music album.  I tweaked it just a tiny bit to fit our family and the home environment rather than a classroom environment.

What you do is write out simple songs or note patterns on staff paper (I used the giant staff paper from the Susan Paradis website again but cut each sheet in half.).  I filled a basket with about twenty different snippets of tunes that both boys know well from Suzuki Violin School, book one.  Kal-El would choose a card from the basket, play it on the bells with a mallet (The tunes will be less recognizable if they play the bells by shaking them due to double or triple striking.), and then try to guess the tune.

This worked well for our family in so many ways.  Me Too isn't ready for this work, but could participate in the guessing because he knows all of the tunes.  I had to transpose most of the tunes from A, D, or G Major to C Major to match the bells so Kal-El had to guess by listening and couldn't simply identify "Allegro" by Suzuki by recognizing the "A A E E" at the beginning of the piece.  The missing rhythm kept this from being simply "too easy."  The "game" aspect of guessing the name of each snippet in the basket was super motivating.  

My favorite moment was when Kal-El got to the "Allegro" card (bottom card in the photo at the top of this post) when he had worked about halfway through the basket and said "I don't need to play this one, I know it's 'Allegro'."  In order to do that the contour of the melody on the staff had to have transmitted some kind of "sound" to his brain in a recognizable way and I didn't realize he had already developed that skill.  Many people never do.  It is also a sign that his treble clef reading is becoming "fluent reading" rather than mechanical decoding.

I am not sharing a printable of the melody cards that I made because they are so specific to our family.  If you do this activity your cards should be specific to your family.  It is fine to have some melodies that your child does not know, in fact the album specified that.  However, some of the tunes should be melodies that your child knows and only you know what those are.  I didn't bother to make cards of tunes Kal-El doesn't know because he already does that kind of work at the piano and will be moving on to the tone bars right away.  Playing melodies on the bells like this is actually quite cumbersome and it is nearly impossible to reflect rhythm (Due to having to pick up and replace the bells one at a time.)

If you are looking for the rest of my posts about Montessori Music you can find them under the Montessori Music tab at the top of my blog, under the header.


  1. Your music posts make me so jealous and wish I had at least some music knowledge! I kinda understand your posts and kinda not! Isn't that sad. Wish I could send my kids to your house for some music work! Lucky Kal-el and Me too!

  2. Isn't it so wonderful when our kids pick up on something we didn't even think they were at yet? Legoboy has been that a LOT lately with Biblical topics. Fascinating times :)

  3. Once again your posts are sooo timely with what we are doing here! L is just learning to read music and plays tons of songs by ear on her melodika so this is a natural next step! Thanks for posting.

  4. MB...Ah, the Melodika. I am just so relieved that I'm not the last person alive that knows what a Melodika IS. Love it!

  5. What you do is write out simple songs or note patterns on staff paper (I used the ... song-reader.blogspot.com