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


  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!

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!


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!

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