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Musically Montessori: Three of the Best Free Music Resources For Outer Space Fun!

LITTLE CHILDREN HAVE A FASCINATION WITH SPACESHIPS, ASTRONAUTS, AND THE SOLAR SYSTEM, SO WHY NOT BRING THAT FASCINATION TO THE MUSIC CIRCLE? Here are some wonderful FREE resources to go along with a song/activity that my little music groups simply love!  

As you probably already know, nowadays I am a music specialist and so I go into many different classrooms and make music with the children there. My activities are derived from my experiences over the years when I was a Montessori Primary teacher and also from my Orff-Schulwerk music training that I received in the mid 1990's. 


ORFF-SCHULWERK CURRICULUM: 
"WE'RE ORFF!"
For several years now, I have been using some wonderful resources from Bushfire Press, including  a curriculum called "We're Orff" from Tamara O'Brien. Tamara is a world renowned Orff-Schulwerk practitioner and also a professional score-writer for the screen. You can learn more about Tamara at this link: Tamara O'Brien Youtube

Fortunately for all of us, Tamara's iBook & music curriculum is now available to download instantly. And, the first lesson is FREE! The song from this lesson is one of the favorites with all of my groups. The melody is very lively and beautiful. As well, it happens to be a Pentatonic song, so it is easy for children to sing and for older children to play on a pitched instrument! So, I created some free activities to go along with this lovely song and to have follow up Montessori-style "shelf works" for the children in your music circles.

You can learn more about Tamara's music curriculum, "We're Orff" and how to get this free resource at this link: Bushfire Press Downloads



This little song is from a nursery rhyme, "Flying Man" and Tamara has put it to music. Here are the words to the song.

THE SONG


I teach the children this song, by using the Orff-Schulwerk method of teaching a song. You can see how to do this in action in my eCourse, "Musically Montessori, First Twelve Weeks: Lesson 4" And, Tamara O'Brien demonstrates this way of teaching a song in her free iBook lesson mentioned above. 

HOW I DO IT, 
MONTESSORI-STYLE
I decided that I would introduce this activity in a way that is compatible with the reality-based approach of the Montessori schools where I teach music.  So, my "flying man" is an astronaut! 

It may be helpful to introduce the song by showing the children a visual of an astronaut flying through the air. Here is a great photo from my free resource that you can find at my Subscriber's Freebie Collection or at my FaceBook page on "Montessori Magic Friday" 9/1/2017. 


Photo from Adobe Stock

When we sing the song, I use a prop.  I show the children my toy foam space ship/ rocket and I move this prop up high so that the children can all see it. Then, I say: "Do you think this is a real spaceship? Do you think it is going to shoot fire from the back and fly all over the room?" The children usually laugh about this question, but I always want to make sure they know it is a "prop" and I'm not going to really blast it off! 

Then I say, "Let's pretend that there is a man inside this toy spaceship and he will go flying up in the sky!...Ready, set, sing."



Foam rocket at Amazon HERE.



VARIATIONS
After we've sung the song once through, then we change it a little.  We sing "flying girl..." then "flying boy..." then, the children offer their own ideas like "flying baby"! Last week, the children came up with "flying princess..." and there have been some very cute ideas from the children that we all enjoy singing. 





I have also added a second verse to the song. I found a copy of this nursery rhyme and there is a second verse, so we are nowadays singing 2 verses  to the song. You can learn the second verse when you download my free resource, "Flying Man Classroom Song Book". 

This is an instant download with pages that you can copy off and place in a little binder for your book corner.  I have discovered over the years when I was a Montessori classroom teacher, that the children love these binders of songs that we sing at circle. They love "reading" them and they would often bring them to me to read during story time!



I have also created an mp3 music download for you that is my version of the song with both verses. 




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PERFORMANCE PIECE
Last Spring, one of my lower elementary groups performed this song at our end-of-the-year musical. The children first played the rhythm of the song on their rhythm instruments, without singing. Then, they played their rhythm instruments along with singing the song. Simple, but very sweet. Another of the older groups played the song on their glockenspiels, since it is a fairly simple melody to play. 

And, Tamara's lesson plan (the free resource above) offers a lovely performance piece using Orff style instruments.

BONUS ACTIVITY

I found this picture at Pixabay, (free photo site)  and  I thought it would be fun for the children to color in a face on the astronaut and make a stick puppet for singing the song at circle time. 


1. Download the picture HERE 
2. Make copies on heavy cardstock, one for each child in your group
3. Invite the child to color in the face they would like to sing about (flying boy,  flying girl, etc)
4. Cut out the astronaut face and attach it to a craft stick so it is a "Puppet"! 

I am so happy to have you visiting my Blog today and I hope that you got some valuable ideas for your group. Please take advantage of all these wonderful FREE music resources!


Photo from Pixabay

Blast off!


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Musically Montessori: Learning to Use Scissors by Playing the Castanets!

UNTIL JUST A FEW DAYS AGO, I DIDN'T REALIZE THE MAGICAL CONNECTION BETWEEN LEARNING HOW TO PLAY CASTANETS AND LEARNING HOW TO USE SCISSORS!  Looking for a fun Montessori-style musical cutting activity for your group? See my Freebie link at the end of this article! 



This week we have been playing castanets in our Montessori Music classes as we continue with our "Echo Singing" and "Echo Rhythms" exploration. With a castanet in each hand the children were able to make the castanets look like they were "talking to each other" and answering like an echo. As we were practicing the movement of manipulating the castanets, a four year old looked up at me and said, "It's like scissors!"

Okay, do you still think you might need a rationale for playing rhythm instruments with your little kids? 

Playing castanets is a bit of a challenge for young children, and the motion they are mastering uses the same muscles that are needed to cut with scissors, which is also a bit of a challenge for young children. I have discovered over the years that children need lots of practice manipulating child-size scissors and lots of practice exercising those muscles of the hand. Violá!  I discovered a fun magic ingredient in the process of learning how to use scissors!
These wooden castanets are available at Amazon: Link here

Just like using scissors, playing castanets has a step-by-step progression that I have observed in music class with young children aged 2 1/2- 6 yrs. It's a magical connection!

WHOLE HAND GRASP
The easiest for the youngest is placing the castanets on the floor and pressing down with the full opened hand. (whole hand grasp) This brings the sound out without having to use the smaller muscles of the fingers. 



Photos from Kiran's Montessori

I have observed that children generally go through a similar process of steps in developing their skills using scissors. The first time a young child picks up scissors they often hold the scissors with more of a full hand hold using both hands, rather than using the fingers of one hand.

Photo from Adobe Stock

MANIPULATING WITH FINGER HOLD
With more practice, the child begins to use the muscles of the fingers to grasp the castanets in a more refined manner. 

Photo by Jeri-Jo Idarius for Magical Movement Company 

Likewise, the child begins to use the muscles of the fingers to grasp the scissors in a more refined manner. 

Photo from Adobe Stock

REFINING THE PINCER GRASP
USING THE MUSCLES OF THE FINGERS
With more exploration, the child begins to manipulate the small muscles of the fingers to not only grasp the the castanets, but to squeeze so them so that they make a sound. 


Photo by Jeri-Jo Idarius for Magical Movement Company

ADJUSTING AND REFINING 
THE FINE MOTOR SKILLS
After the child has gotten the idea of how to hold the scissors,  child will begin cutting by manipulating the scissors rather than the paper. 

Photo by Adobe Stock

MASTERY OF SKILLS
After more practice, the child has developed the coordination of the muscles of the hand and the connection to the beat of the song...mastery!

Photo by Jeri-Jo Idarius for Magical Movement Company

Now, we can observe that the child has mastered the art of using scissors when s/he has not only developed the skill of grasping the scissors but also of moving the paper rather than moving the scissors!  

Photo from Adobe Stock


LOOKING AT THE PROGRESSION
OF SKILLS DEVELOPMENT








Just in case you are looking for more musical activities that increase the cognitive development in the child, specifically to learn how scissors work, you will enjoy this video with a song about cutting with scissors!

SING AND DANCE: SCISSORS!



Now, for my favorite part of music...dancing! This video is a recording of one of my favorite dances for preschool aged children. "The Scissors Dance performed by Shenanigans." Scroll down to see the motions for this dance. And, here is the link to download this music: Scissor Dance at Amazon



Scissor Dance

How to do this dance:
   For Part A:
A1. Step right foot to right, close left foot to right foot. (like scissors)
A2. Repeat
A3. Clap 3 times (with the clapping in the music)
A4. Step left foot to left, close right foot to left foot. (like scissors)
A5 Repeat 
Repeat all of part A

  For the Part B: 
B1. Take 2 slow steps forward
B2. Make 3 quick jumps backwards
Repeat all of part B 3 times more.

I learned this simple dance in my Orff-Schulwerk training many years ago and I have done this dance with many Preschool groups over the years. Very fun!

I invite you to visit my Magical Movement Company Facebook Page, "Montessori Magic Friday"  to check out my FREE DOWNLOAD to go along with your activities for scissor work with your group!



You can also access my new Freebie Collection at my website by subscribing to my Newsletter, where you can download this activity and many others! Here is that link: Free Resources for Educators 

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Thanks for visiting my blog today and I hope you have gotten some ideas for activities with your group!


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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Musically Montessori: Rhythm Echoes and Clapping, Stamping, Patting the Pattern

ONE OF THE BASIC COMPONENTS OF MUSIC IS RHYTHM AND KEEPING THE BEAT. THAT'S WHY LITTLE CHILDREN LOVE TO PRACTICE WITH ECHOES AND BODY PERCUSSION.

Photo from Adobe Stock

In the Orff-Schulwerk Music Education Method, the next step after echo singing is rhythm development through echo patterns, chants, and body percussion. 

I have found that my groups really enjoy the echo rhythms that we practice in each of our music classes every time. In fact, we've practiced these rhythm patterns so much, that the children have them memorized and can eventually carry them over to playing the patterns on instruments like rhythm sticks, tambourines, and maracas.


START WITH ECHO RHYTHMS
So, the first level of refining these skills is vocally repeating simple rhythm patterns. By keeping the underlying pulse going, the teacher establishes the steady beat that permeates throughout the rhythm patterns the children are echoing. That makes the activity more cohesive, easy to follow, and the children feel successful. 

Here's a little video made with Frank Leto's "Be My Echo" recording. In the beginning of the school year, I use these echoes from Frank at every music circle.



Sometimes, it is fun to introduce a prop, like the sock puppet in the photo below, so that the children can dramatize the echo action with their own little "echo friend."

Photo by Jeri-Jo Idarius

My Lower Elementary Groups absolutely LOVE this "Boom-Chicka-Boom" Rhythm Chant and this video is shows the creative fun of this traditional chant.




BODY PERCUSSION REINFORCES 
RHYTHM PATTERNS 
Since movement is so important in the early childhood music experience, it is easy to jump right into the next step of practicing rhythm patterns with stamping, clapping, patting and even finger snapping. 

Orff-Schulwerk introduces these actions, called "body percussion", early in a child's musical life. In the Montessori way, we introduce each action separately so as to "isolate the difficulty". Then, as the child gains coordination skills, and practice with echo rhythms, s/he  is able to combine two, then three and even four of the body percussion actions to create a sort of musical choreography. 


This video below is from the San Francisco School where Doug Goodkin, my first Orff-Schulwerk instructor, has been teaching for over 30 years. Body Percussion is an art form in itself!


RHYTHM PATTERNS AND INSTRUMENTS
The progression of skills eventually leads to playing rhythm patterns with simple rhythm instruments and this is the beginning of ensemble playing for children.

After your group has practiced echo rhythms for a while, they are ready for rhythm patterns played with instruments, like the sand blocks in this photo. 

Photo from Kiran's Montessori

Here's a great video showing the lovely progression of activities typical in the Orff-Schulwerk method of music education. The ways to practice rhythm patterns is almost endless!




I recently discovered this sweet video from the Summit Montessori School that shows the perfect blend of the Orff-Schulwerk style of rhythmical activities and the classic Montessori method of education.


This week I will be posting lots of Rhythm Echo and Body Percussion Activities on my Facebook Page, and please don't miss my FREE ACTIVITY I'll be posting on "Montessori Magic Friday" at Magical Movement Company Facebook Page.

I've just completed my new "Magical Movement Company Freebie Collection" at my website, so now my subscribers can download all my free activities from that password-only page. This includes my eBook, "Musically Montessori, First Lessons."($12.95 value)  You'll be getting an email this week with the new password for the page. If you haven't already joined the thousands who subscribe to my email list, you can do it right here on the sidebar of this Blog!

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Musically Montessori: Let's Begin with Echo Singing and 10 Activities!

THE MUSICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE YOUNG CHILD IS SOMETHING WE CAN HAVE FUN ENCOURAGING AND ECHO SINGING IS WHERE WE CAN START IN THE MONTESSORI WAY.


  Photo from Adobe Stock
"Play what you sing, sing what you play" 
This is what Doug Goodkin, my music teacher, describes as his secret of effective music education. Learn more of his secrets by clicking HERE.

Echo singing is an important component of a Preschool music curriculum, especially when you want to follow the Montessori approach. Echo singing happens to be a foundational principle of the Orff-Schulwerk  method of music education. In the Orff-Schulwerk approach, the children learn each new song by echoing when the teacher first presents the song.  

In addition, another hallmark of the Orff-Schulwerk approach is offering the young child lots of opportunities to sing "echo songs." Echo songs, like "My Aunt Came Back," have the echo built right into the song. They involve the teacher singing for the children, rather than with the children. Each phrase of the song has a time just following, when the phrase is repeated. This means the child will be copying the words, the tempo, and the melody exactly, when s/he echoes each phrase.  Echo singing has a built-in "control of error"...which blends beautifully with the Montessori method!


THE ACTIVITIES
Here is a little sampling of music circle activities you could create that feature echo singing. Great for the beginning of the school year!

1. Warm-ups
My groups always enjoy playful breathing and vocal warm-ups to begin our music circle. This quirky, but quick, video below is one example of what we do for warm-ups.
     


        
2. Echo "Hello" Song

          3. Rhythm echoes
Below is another one of my funny videos with a favorite "Hello" song and really fun rhythm echoes. This hello song is from Lynn Kleiner.  Here's the link: Hello Song





4. "Copy-cat" style Movement Activity
I discovered this action-packed video of the traditional song, "My Aunt Came Back". I always practice the movement portion of each of my lessons before I do it with the children. This one is a bit challenging, but fun. The children will follow your modeling of the actions and funny little mistakes just add to the fun!


  
5. "Copy Cat" Song for a "Sitting Down Movement" Activity 
This song, "Copy Cat" is from the cd , “Kidding Around” from Greg and Steve and is currently only available in cd format at their website. Here’s the link: Greg & Steve . The children can sing along to the catchy chorus: “I can copy that!” as they follow along with the easy motions that can all be done in a sitting motion. Here's a video of the song:


6. Focused Listening featuring an actual echo
When introducing the idea of "echo," it is important to prepare the children a bit by playing a recording of an actual echo. I say: "Today we are singing 'echo songs'. An echo is the repeating of a sound. The vibrations of the sound bounce off a surface and you hear them all over again. Let's get our ears ready for listening to a recording of an echo." I play this recording: Voice Echo 

Photo from Adobe Stock

7. Singing the echo parts of a song
Frank Leto, is a Montessori and Orff-Schulwerk trained professional musician who produces the most wonderful cd s of his music for children. He has a strong emphasis on echo songs. Here is one of his most famous! 





8. Using props, rhythm instruments, or puppets with echo songs
Lynn Kleiner is another Orff-Schulwerk practitioner who uses echo songs throughout her curriculum. She also beings drama, puppets and rhythm instruments to many of her lessons. I've used this song with many groups of young children. Some children have the instruments and others have stick puppets of the various animals in the song. Later, you can provide a Montessori-style shelf work for children to make their own oviparous animal stick puppets during your cultural studies of viviparous and oviparous animals.  



9. Echo "Goodbye" song
Dream English is a very popular children's performer and this sweet and very simple song is the perfect echo "Goodbye" Song!




10. Have fun while gaining lots of cognitive benefits!

FaceBook Friday: Check out my "Montessori Magic Friday" free download for a fun hands-on activity for your group!

CLICK HERE


When young children engage in echo music activities they gain skills in:
~ Auditory discrimination through "matching pitch" (singing in tune)
~ Memory development
~ Language acquisition
~ Group social & community consciousness
~ Vocal control
~ Gross & fine motor refinement when participating in Movement Activities and Instrument Exploration

I am happy to have you visiting my blog today and I hope you got some fun ideas for your group!

For many of us, this is the time of year for preparing for the upcoming school year. Does your Montessori music curriculum feel a bit neglected?


I have a wonderful 12-week-on-line Musically Montessori eCourse that can help you set up a developmentally appropriate, sequential, and fun music program in your setting!


Musically Montessori eCourse: "First Twelve Weeks"



It's "Montessori Monday" at Living Montessori Now and I've added my post to the many resources you'll discover there, including some wonderful free Printables from Deb and many other educators from around the world!


And, if you haven't yet joined my email list, you can have my eBook, "Musically Montessori, The First Lessons" as my complimentary gift to you. ($12.99 regular price at my TpT shop) Just sign up on the sidebar of this blog! 

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