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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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