Musically Montessori: Becoming a Preschool Music Teacher, Part Two!

Photo by Jeri-Jo Idarius

This is the second installment of my two-part series on becoming a Preschool Music Specialist. Just in case you missed it, you can read Part One at this link: Musically Montessori, Becoming a Preschool Music Teacher, Part One!

For me, becoming a full-time music specialist has been very rewarding. Little children really like making music and so one of the first rewards of giving them musical activities is the big smile I get to see on each child's face!

I've also been pleasantly surprised about HOW MANY MUSIC CLASSES I TEACH THESE DAYS! 

Three years ago, I started out with 3 schools that each had 3 morning classes for me to teach. Within 4 months, I had a full 4 day a week schedule with morning classes and afternoon classes, too. In one school, I teach 6 classes in the afternoon!

One big advantage I have is that I am a trained Montessori teacher and so the local Montessori preschools in my area are so happy to have someone teach music the Montessori way! 

As you know from my first article in this series, I TURN AWAY BUSINESS BECAUSE I CAN'T FIT ANY MORE CLASSES IN MY WEEKLY SCHEDULE! 

So, if you are thinking of becoming a Preschool music specialist, I say "GO FOR IT!"

Need a little more encouragement? You might like to enroll in one of my upcoming eCourses!
I will be offering these eCourses beginning 
this summer and fall.

  • "Musically Montessori: First 12 Weeks of School." On-Line eCourse for classroom teachers. Weekly Sequential Music Activity Lesson Plans with instructional videos to get your school year started off with a musical boost. STARTS AUGUST 28th. 
  • "Musically Montessori: Becoming a Montessori Music Room Specialist."  On-Line eCourse for Montessori teachers who want to become music specialists in Early Childhood settings. Certification through Bushfire Press using Music Room: Book One Series. STARTS DECEMBER 15th.
If you are interested in learning more about either of these courses, you can contact me here:

YOU CAN GET A LITTLE JUMP START BY JOINING MY MINI-COURSE/WORKSHOP at the Trillium Montessori SUMMER SUMMIT: The first ever on-line Montessori Conference.

My workshop is on WED. JULY 20th at 5:00 EST. See the link at the end of this post!

In my first installment of this two part series, I wrote about some of the components of a successful preschool music class:

  • Routines and Procedures
  • Singing
  • Echo Rhythms
  • Movement 
Following are some more components of creating successful music experiences for young children that enhance their cognitive abilities and are just plain fun!

A really important part of learning about music is listening to music. With young children, the music specialist will bring a love of the quiet moment to the children in a purposeful way. 

After children have enjoyed a music-oriented movement activity at the music circle, they are ready to sit back down and prepare for a focused listening experience. 

These listening activities reinforce whatever concept you are introducing to the children. For example, when children are exploring tempo in music, they will enjoy hearing the song, "The Flight of the Bumblebee" by Rimsky-Korsakov.
Children immediately recognize the quick tempo of the music to represent the sound of a bumblebee flying! 

This music is available as a download from Amazon

I invite the children to sit in lotus position with our backs nice and straight and then we gently rub our ears along the edges to get them sensitized for listening. 

You can show them a visual of a bee and then tell them that we will be listening to music that sounds like bees flying around. I like to joke with the children and ask them if they think the music will be slow or fast...?!

Sometimes I even play a short excerpt of an actual bee flying, before we listen to the orchestral piece by Rimsky-Korsakov. You can listen to and download the authentic sound of a bee at this link: Bumble Bee Sound Effects.  

It's amazing how quiet children can sit while listening to a piece of music that you have prepared them for. However, I limit this listening to one minute or less, and I comment positively on how long they sat still and listened!


When the children have experienced the music, it's time to give them some information about music, in this case, tempo. I introduce the word "presto,"  in some playful ways. 

You can show them a finger puppet of a bumblebee and then ask them, "If this were a real bee would it be moving slowly (move the puppet really slowly...) or would it be moving really fast?" (move the puppet as if it is flying around quickly.)

Then the children will be able to understand that the music we listened to was played really fast like the way a bumblebee flies around.

Now, it's time to introduce the word, PRESTO, to the children.

I show them my visual with a picture of a bumblebee and the word Presto printed on it. 

Then, I ask them to say the word presto along with me.

This lesson can be expanded in many ways, such as showing them a picture of the composer, Rimsky-Korsakov, comparing fast to slow ("Largo"), and even show them a visual of eighth notes that tell the musician to play the piece very fast.

Some basic concepts in music that you will want to introduce to Preschoolers:

I have a fun beginning activity lesson plan for fast and slow in music at my TpT site at this link: Musically Montessori: Is It Presto or Is It Largo?


It's time for playing rhythm instruments! This is always a big hit with the children and exploring instruments reinforces the concept presented in the lesson.

Some of my tricks of the trade are:
  • Choose instruments that sound nice to the ear, fit children's hands, and are made of sturdy materials
  • Have sets of instruments that provide each child with the same instrument (ex: 24 sets of rhythm sticks, 24 tambourines, 24 sets of chiquita maracas, etc.)
  • In the beginning months, have the children all play the same rhythm instrument that way you can really focus on teaching them how to play it and the noise level is manageable!
  • Set up your procedures for the way you will do the activities with instruments (ex: will the children "rest" their instruments until everyone has theirs? and how you will signal them for playing and for stopping)
Before the children have their instruments, you will be showing them the instrument of the day and the ways to play it. You may also want to tell them about things that are not safe, like poking rhythm sticks or throwing egg shakers.

Here is where you can fall back on your group management skills by giving children clear directions and a fun, safe experience.

You can see the instruments that I like to use with little children at my Amazon Store by clicking here.

As with your routine of how you begin the music circle, you will also create a predictable process for ending the music session.

Decide on a simple good-bye song that children can learn quickly. "Echo songs" work well for this. 

Likewise, children enjoy some kind of special thing like giving a hug goodbye to your "music time puppet" that you bring around to each child, or giving each child a stamp on the hand, etc. 

I use stamps with a musical theme. Then, when the children are home later, the stamp on their hand will be a conversation-starter. The children can tell their families about what they did in music class that day.

Photo by Jeri-Jo Idarius for Magical Movement Company

Read more articles about lessons for teaching music to Preschoolers at my blog page: Music.

My post is part of the link up at Living Montessori Now. You'll find gazillions of useful resources and articles from Montessori educators world wide. She even has a fabulous link to her daughter Christina's summer themed movement activities for little kids...complete with half a dozen videos of 2 yr.old Zoey demonstrating how to do them! 
Here's that link: Montessori Monday.

<<<<<<<<<<<<News flash>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

My workshop, "Using the Montessori Method in Your Music Circle Time", is Wednesday July 20th, 5:00 PM. 
Seemi is giving away an amazing bundle of her fabulous TpT printables created as an exclusive for registering for an all access pass. 
Just $69!!! for all 12 workshops AND the Trillium Printables Pack with access to the summit workshops for a full year, so you can check them out at your own pace.

So great to have you here at my blog today and I hope you enjoyed this article. 

I would love to hear from you...just leave a comment or two in the section below. I'll get back to you right away!

Advertising Disclosure: Magical Movement Company may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website. Thanks for your support!

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