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Musically Montessori: Make Way for Music! Preparing Your Preschool Music Curriculum

ON YOUR MARK, GET SET NOW, READY TO SING...MOVE...PRACTICE...MASTER MUSIC! 

One of the best ways to prepare your Montessori preschool curriculum & learning environment for the upcoming school year is to take a training.



Of course, I am going to recommend taking a music workshop or an on-line training! 

BUT...WAIT A MINUTE...
How about a fabulous deal where you can join a community of Montessori educators who are sharing ideas about organizing their classrooms for the upcoming school year AND get a wonderful 30-minute Montessori Music mini-training from me?!




 HOW I AM PREPARING FOR MY MUSICALLY MONTESSORI SCHOOL YEAR

GETTING INSPIRATION: 
Taking and teaching music workshops

I recently completed a one-hour  on-line music workshop at Age of Montessori and I learned at least half a dozen new things I can incorporate into my preparations for the upcoming year of Montessori Music Activities for my Preschool groups. 

And, that recent on-line music workshop got my creative juices activated for the annual AMS Music Workshop that I presented last month at Fountainhead Montessori Adult Education Training Program. 



While preparing to  present my recent AMS music training with FMAE, I was re-energized to do some more reading about Montessori's music curriculum that was developed by her colleague, Maria Maccheroni: Montessori and Music Education

Then, I dug into one of my favorite books that I obtained many years ago that was one of the original inspirations for my own Montessori Classroom Curriculum. This is an amazing PhD project by Karen Miller published in the 1980's, and I go back to it every year for even more ideas for music in the Montessori pedagogy. The Montessori Music Curriculum for Children up to Age Six.

GETTING ORGANIZED: 
Going to "Bootcamp!"

Now, after all my inspiring summer Montessori Music experiences and research, I am itching to not only set up my music Activities for the upcoming school year, I am also acutely in need of re-organinzing all my materials for teaching. (And, I have tons of materials!) 

Two years ago I enrolled in Seemi's on-line Montessori Classroom Bootcamp with the idea that I would check it out since I had been recommending it to my student/interns in the AMS training programs where I taught. 

To my delight, I got a gazillion new ideas for simple organizing strategies and techniques for me as a Montessori music specialist! 

These days, I don't teach in one Montessori classroom, but rather I travel around weekly to more than 25 Montessori preschool/lower elementary classrooms in the SF Bay Area as a music specialist. 

However, after decades of being a classroom teacher, I still get the "hankering" in late summer to re-organize, repair, take inventory, buy new supplies, and set up what I need for the year in an organized fashion.  

And, that's what I continue to do each year! 

However, I only have my tiny studio space (set up for making my eCourse videos) where I have a staging room, a small office, and my storage. And, nowadays I am working alone. 

GETTING SUPPORT: 
Joining the Montessori Community on the world-wide web who are also organizing and setting up

So, first off, when I joined Seemi's Bootcamp, I got to join in with lots of Montessori educators from around the world who were all excitedly sharing experiences and photos on the FB page for the Bootcamp eCourse. 

All of a sudden I had a COMMUNITY of folks who were re-organizing, preparing, taking inventory, buying new supplies, and setting up their organization system, JUST LIKE I WAS DOING!

It was almost like those Prep weeks during years past when I was setting up my classroom as a Montessori Preschool teacher! 

Just what I needed.

So, I am looking forward to joining, once again, the other Montessorians world-wide who will be participating in Seemi's Bootcamp 2018! 

GETTING EXPERT TIPS & STRATEGIES:
Seemi Abdulah brings together & shares her amazing skills in effective organizing 

Here are just a few of Seemi's ideas I have found helpful:

~ "Shelf maps" (Seemi's unique concept complete with a download to make your own shelf maps for your environment)
~ Covering inexpensive bankers boxes (for storage) with some nicely designed contact paper so that you can even have these in your classroom and they are not an eyesore, but rather, a lovely corner
~ Her use of a labeler machine to make EVERYTHING easy to read and keep organized
~ Creating a Cultural Studies Calendar: "Year-at-a-Glance Grid" that you can look at in a glance, as well as keeping extensive individual plans for each cultural unit (another handy set of downloads)

I INVITE YOU TO CHECK IT OUT YOURSELF  

This year, I have been invited to be an affiliate in marketing this "go-to" eCourse for setting up your Montessori environment. When you use this link to explore and possibly enroll in Seemi's eCourse, I will be receive a monetary compensationMontessori Classroom Setup Bootcamp at Trillium Montessori Courses. (Thank you very much for your support!)


Oh, and Seemi has included a section in the Bootcamp for setting up your Montessori Music shelf! So, you will come out of this eCourse with a beautiful, comprehensive, and fully authentic Montessori environment for your group.

BOOTCAMP WEEK #2: 
"SENSORIAL AREA BONUS"...MUSIC!

A very special "training-within-a-training" is waiting for you in Module 2 (Sensorial Learning) in the Bootcamp eCourse! 

It is an entire 30 minute segment during the second week with a portion of my Montessori music presentation from Trillium Montessori On-line Summit (2016) and so you will get a little mini training from me for creating and implementing your Montessori Music Curriculum to enhance your Sensorial and Cultural Activities.

Have you checked out my Subscribers Freebie Collection recently? 




I've added a few new resources over the Summer. They are waiting for you to create and place on your Montessori Music Shelf to celebrate the beginning of a new school year!

If you haven't joined my Subscribers list so that you can access my Freebie Collection, it is easy to do right here on this Blog, at the sidebar or scroll down!

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Thank you for visiting my Blog today. I hope you you have gotten inspired for the new school year, right around the corner!

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. When you click on them you have no obligation to purchase and your information will not be collected. If you do purchase through the link, I will receive a compensation (Thank you very much!) and your purchasing  information will be securely collected at the site where you make the purchase.  When you subscribe to my email list, my platform, MailChimp will be securely storing your email information so that I can send you my newsletters and occasional notices of my special sales and newest free resources.  

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Musically Montessori: "The Musical Balloon Garden Game," Exploring Pitch with Preschoolers and a Freebie!

MONTESSORI PRESCHOOLERS CAN EXPLORE THE MUSIC CONCEPT OF PITCH WITH THE "BALLOON GARDEN" STORY AND MUSICAL SCALE MOVEMENT GAME! My Preschoolers always say: "Again...again!"


Understanding the concept of "pitch" in music can be a challenge for young children. That's why creating games designed for children to explore this concept of high pitch and low pitch is a real winner in the Montessori music room.

During my Orff-Schulwerk music education training nearly two decades ago, I was fortunate to study with Janet Greene. She introduced us to some fun ways for little children to explore this challenging concept of "pitch" in music. 

One of her games that has been very popular with my Montessori Preschoolers over the years, is the Activity I call the "Musical Balloon Garden." 
PREPARATION
Here's what you need to present this fun Activity to your groups:
  • An open and safe space for movement 


  • Various pictures of balloons being blown up and then popped and deflated 

  • A pitched instrument such as a Glockenspiel, Xylophone, Piano or the Montessori Brass Bells  



  • A small hand drum  

THE STORY

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful garden. (1) Not an ordinary garden! This was a garden of balloons. (2)



However, all the balloons were flat. Completely flat! (3) 

So, they had to all be blown up...(4)




Puff...Puff...Puff...Puff...Puff...Puff...Puff...Puff! (teacher pretends to blow up a balloon, while playing an ascending the scale on a pitched instrument)

Then, the balloons were floating all around in the sky (5) and up in the trees. (6)

All of a sudden, the balloons got caught by a prickly part of the tree (7) and BANG! they all popped and fell flat on the ground below. (8) (teacher or child taps a hand drum to make a bang sound, then teacher plays down the scale quickly on the pitched instrument)



Now, all the balloons had to be repaired.  That way they could fly up in the sky again. So, the balloons got patched.  (9)

Then they were blown up all over again, (10) and the balloons from the "balloon garden" (11) flew up in the sky once more. (12)


Every time these balloons were flying up high, they kept bumping into prickly things that caused them to pop! 

Then, they would fall flat down on the ground, and have to be patched over and over again... 

HOW TO DO THE ACTIVITY
1. Start by showing the children some pictures of balloons when they are flat and then when they are all blown up.

2. Invite the children to pretend like they are balloons in a "Balloon Garden." 

3. Begin telling the "Musical Balloon Garden" story (see above) and have the children lie down flat like balloons waiting to be blown up.


4. Play up the scale (ascending) on the Pitched Instrument: Pretend to blow on a balloon each time you play one of the ascending notes on the instrument. (See chart below in this article: do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-do' or C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C')

5. Invite the children to move from lying flat to gradually standing up until you have reached the high "do" on the pitched instrument.


6. When you have reached the high "do" (or C') on the instrument, then play a glissando to accompany the children pretending to be balloons flying up high in the air. 

A "Glissando" means rapidly sliding the mallets across the bars or keys of the instrument so that you are moving up and down the scale. 


7. As you tell the story to the children, the "balloons" are flying in the trees where they get pricked by a prickly part of the tree and then they pop.  Here, you tap the drum to create a sound like a balloon popping. POP! Then, you play down the musical scale (descending) on the pitched instrument, to indicate the falling motion of a deflated popped balloon.


8. The children then fall flat to the floor, as if they were popped balloons.


"AGAIN...AGAIN!"
9. This part of the story can become a fun little game in which you go around to each child and pretend to repair each "balloon" with a "patch" so that the story can be re-inacted again. 

10. You will probably find, as I have, that the children love to act out this musical story over and over and over!



I INVITE YOU TO DOWNLOAD
WITH MY FREE 
"BALLOON GARDEN" VISUALS  FOR THIS ACTIVITY!

This set of Activities has been a great success in my Preschool classes for decades! It has turned out to be a really fun, hands-on way to present a first introduction to the concept of pitch (high and low) in music and the musical scale. (ascending and descending tones)

I've created a Freebie for my Subscribers Freebie Collection and my subscribers can access it HERE!


If you are not a subscriber to my email Newsletter list, you can easily join by signing up right here on the sidebar of this Blog or by scrolling down to my sign up form at the end of this article.

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Outdoorsy Montessori: 5 Components for Your Montessori Toddler Outdoor Classroom A VLOG

YES, SUMMER IS HERE AND YOUR TODDLER CAN GAIN LOTS OF IMPORTANT SKILLS PLAYING IN A HOME-MADE MONTESSORI OUTDOOR CLASSROOM!


Have you been looking for some easy and quick outdoor ideas to create a stimulating learning environment for your Montessori Toddler?


WATCH MY SIX MINUTE VIDEO TO SEE HOW!


AV Montessori Toddler Outdoor Classroom Instrumental version from Carolyn Lucento on Vimeo.
                
Here are 5 components for creating that Montessori learning environment right in your Toddler's back yard.

1. Create a safe space for your toddler to move! That way your little one will have freedom within safe boundaries.





2. Provide large motor drama play with, for example, people-powered toy "vehicles," a DIY tunnel, a balance saucer, extra long scarves and beautiful rainbow ribbons.




3. Set up water play in an ordinary plastic storage bin for sensory learning. Store water play manipulatives in hanging mesh bags.



4. Have a child-size picnic table for snacks where your toddler can practice Practical Life skills, such as pouring her own drinking water and spreading peanut butter on her cracker "by herself."



5. Keep Montessori-style "works" on an outdoor shelf so that your Toddler can choose her own manipulative activities to practice small motor skills and develop eye-hand coordination. 









"It has been understood...that the best means of invigorating the child is to immerse him in nature." Maria Montessori, The Montessori Method




I am so happy to have you visiting my Blog today and I hope that you have gotten some fun ideas for the summer Outdoor Classroom with your little one!

Here are links to some of the resources for my suggested Activities for your Montessori Toddler Outdoor Classroom:

Have you subscribed to my email newsletter list? You can access my 30+ free resources on my Subscribers Freebie Collection and receive my latest news about my special sales and new products. 



TO SUBSCRIBE, just fill in your email address on the sidebar of this blog or scroll down if you are on a mobile device!
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I invite you to explore my Magical Movement Company Pinterest Page! 



Disclosure: The links in this article are not affiliate links for me. I simply like these products and hope they help you set up your Montessori environment!
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Musically Montessori: One of My Secrets For A Successful Preschool Music Curriculum

IF YOU ARE A MONTESSORI EDUCATOR, THEN YOU KNOW THE IMPORTANCE OF THE MONTESSORI TECHNIQUE OF "ISOLATION OF DIFFICULTY." DID YOU KNOW IT WORKS REALLY WELL IN HELPING CHILDREN DEVELOP AN APPRECIATION OF MUSIC? 

"Focused Listening" in Music Circle: this is one of my very simple techniques that gives children lots of practice in auditory discrimination (the ability to recognize differences between sound) and a wonderful understanding of the basic concepts in music. These are the ingredients for children developing a true appreciation of music.

Read on to learn more about this secret ingredient of a well-planned Montessori Preschool Music Curriculum.



EARLY MUSIC EXPERIENCES HAVE IMPORTANT COGNITIVE BENEFITS FOR YOUNG CHILDREN

In the realm of child development, researchers and educators understand the important cognitive benefits that come to children through early music experiences. If you are looking for a solid rationale for offering an organized music curriculum for your preschool group, click here to learn more: Cognitive Benefits of Early Music. 

The Importance of Movement and Music

I do believe that "making music" is the most important ingredient in a Preschool Music Curriculum. "Making music" means that children are engaged in "hands-on" musical activities that involve creativity and movement. 

Movement of the whole body when stamping, clapping, marching to music that gives the children opportunity to produce sound that expresses steady beat and rhythmical pattern. 

Movement of the hands & fingers while playing rhythm instruments to create sounds that coordinate with others to show the melody and rhythmic structure of songs and rhymes.

What is so wonderful about children, movement and music is that children move spontaneously to music. The "fun" of music brings benefit to children without any effort at all.  So, you can see that providing an organized, sequential, and developmentally appropriate music curriculum for young children enhances cognitive skills through play. (Literally speaking, people "play" music...there is a reason why we use the word play!)

The Importance of Focused Listening and Music

An almost secret cognitive benefit of a well-planned Preschool Music Curriculum is the development of listening skills that are enhanced in the young child. 

Musical experiences are multi-sensory and this is one of the biggest reasons why children gain cognitively when they have early music experiences presented in their Preschool Curriculum. 

Not only, do we feel the tempo of the music, we also hear the melody, the words, the sounds and instruments in the music. This is when a well-planned Music Curriculum can help children build skills in auditory discrimination ability. That is, focusing on what is heard in the music: listening skills!

In every Music Circle that I conduct in more than 30 Montessori Preschools each week, we have a minute or two of what I call "focused listening." That means that I play a piece of music for the children and have them listen without speaking...just listening. 

In my Musically Montessori Preschool Music Curriculum, I play certain pieces of music with a certain goal in mind. The music the children listen to, will be emphasizing a particular concept in music, such as Quiet ("Piano") or Fast ("Presto"), or a particular rhythm pattern, such as "Ti-ti-Ta", or a prominent instrument or instrument family, such as flute and Woodwinds.  

In the world of Montessori, this is called "isolation of difficulty."

From Dr. Montessori:

 "Isolating the object: When a teacher gives   a lesson or wishes to assist a child in using the sense materials, she should be aware of the fact that the child's attention must be isolated from everything but the object of the lesson." The Discovery of the Child p. 153 


JUST WHAT "FOCUSED LISTENING" IN MUSIC CIRCLE IS ALL ABOUT

Start with a Movement Activity!

At Music Circle, my groups first have an opportunity to move to music, which not only gives the children a way to get their energy out and get their brains working, it also allows the child an opportunity to absorb the elements of the music through movement. 

Then, the children are ready to settle down for a Focused Listening Activity.




For a really effective Music Circle, I try my best to coordinate the Movement Activity with the music concept/s that I have planned for that day's lesson.

Likewise, the music I choose for the Focused Listening Activity should illustrate, even further, the main concept of the day's music lesson. That means that the music selection should noticeably emphasize Quiet or Fast, or a distinct rhythm pattern such as "Ti-ti Ta" or a particular instrument or instrument family, such as the flute. Just as was the more subtle focus of the Movement Activity that the children have just experienced.

Also, the music for Focused Listening should be no more than a minute long! 

And, I always include a little exercise for preparing the children for listening. We rub our ears gently around the edges so that we sensitize our ears for listening.

For years, I have so enjoyed the music and activities from a wonderful resource, "Classical Fun Singalongs" produced by  the Franki family and available in cd format at West Music.  
This CD and Activity packet is full of one-minute Classical Music selections that are appealing to young children along with engaging movement activities to go along with each music recording. 

I have been so fortunate to have an arrangement with the Franki's to include the exclusive Mp3 music downloads of this wonderful resource in my Musically Montessori eCourses.

Click here to Learn More 


I've created a set of short and engaging Movement and Focused Listening Activities in my newest teacher resource packet at my TpT Store: "Musically Montessori: 15 Minute Music" featuring 10 engaging music pieces from 10 famous classical music composers. 

You can buy individual packets focusing on one of the composers or you can purchase the Bundle with all ten packets.

Click here to learn more: 


I've also added new pins to my Preschool Music Boards on my Pinterest Site. 
I invite you to check it out HERE.


Thank you again for visiting my Blog today. I hope you have gotten some fun ideas for your Music Curriculum for your group!

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Musically Montessori: Fill In Your Classroom Transition Times with 10 Classical Music Activities!

MARIA MONTESSORI POINTS OUT TO US THAT VERY YOUNG CHILDREN HAVE SUCH SENSITIVE HEARING! THAT'S A GREAT REASON TO BRING CLASSICAL MUSIC TO THEM WHENEVER IT CAN BE SQUEEZED INTO THEIR BUSY DAYS. 



There are those times in the daily routine when children have to wait a few minutes to move on to the next activity. Maybe it's just before lunch or a few minutes before pick-up time...

How about playing a minute or two of music with an emphasis on 
developing listening skills in a fun and enjoyable way? This can be very engaging for young children. 

First, invite the children to stimulate their sense of hearing by gently rubbing the edges of the ears. This helps the children focus on the listening experience and sensitizes the ears.  (Similar to inviting the children to wash the fingers to sensitize them before tracing the Montessori sandpaper letters.)




I've found that with a bit of planning on my part, the little children can have so much fun that they will ask for these experiences over and over again! 

It can easily become a daily occurrence. And, you can extend the activity by adding some rhythm instruments and inviting the children to hear the music again, and this time play along.



Showing a picture of the composer will further enrich the experience! 

Here are ten captivating pieces of music from famous classical composers that I've found to be favorites of the children in my groups over the years. 

I usually play the music for about a minute, so that the children get a sense of the melody and stay engaged. (my "one-minute rule")

TEN ENCHANTING PIECES OF CLASSICAL MUSIC 
THAT CHILDREN WILL ENJOY

You can introduce each music piece by showing  the composer's portrait and then give the vocabulary to the children (ex: "This is a picture of the composer of the music we will be listening to. His name is Beethoven.")

1. "Symphony #5" by Beethoven.

2. "Blue Danube Waltz" by Strauss.

3. "The Russian Dance" from the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky

4. "Suite for Cello Solo: Prelude" by Bach

5. "Spring" from The Four Seasons by Vivaldi

6. "Elephant" from Carnival of Animals by Camille Saint-Saens

7. "Sylvia Ballet Suite" by Delibes

8. "Flight of the Bumble Bee" from The Tale of Tsar Sultan by Rimsky-Korsakov 

9. "Symphony #40" by Mozart

10. "Variations on  Ah Vous Dirai-je Maman" by Mozart as a child

EXTENSIONS: 
CONNECT TO CULTURAL STUDIES

You can do a little research about the composer beforehand and then tie in the continent globe and miniature flags to the continent and country where the composer was born.




MY NEWEST TPT ACTIVITY PACKETS

You might like my series of Musically Montessori: "15 Minute Music" Activity Packets at my TpT Shop.  

There are ten packets, one for each composer:
~ Montessori style Lesson Plan
~ Visuals of the composer
~ Mp3 Music download of 1-minute excerpts of the music pieces outlined above 

Or you can purchase the Bundle with all ten Activity Packet materials. 
CLICK HERE TO CHECK THEM OUT



Thank you again for visiting my Blog today. I hope you've enjoyed your stay! 

I would like to invite you to visit me on PINTEREST, where you'll find lots of resources about Preschool Music, Montessori Arts, and more. 




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