How to Teach Music Notation the Montessori Way

The Montessori method of education teaches reading and writing by isolating each sound/symbol and allowing the child to manipulate them herself through the movable alphabet.  So why would we teach music any differently?  I don’t have a music degree, but I do know how to read music and play the piano —  so when I saw the printable template for a “movable alphabet” of sorts for music notation, I knew this was the way we were going to teach our children.

The true Montessori material for this work would be the the Montessori bells — but those are pretty far beyond our homeschool preschool budget for a single material.  This brand would be a more cost-effective alternative, but it was still a bit steep for us.  So we went with handbells.

The handbells that we have actually differ slightly from the ones the printable template is for — the middle C is red while the treble C is white.  So I made this white treble C add-on card if you go for the same set we chose.

I also made many more of each felt note than the template called for — about 15-20 each — so we could use them to actually write music.  L’s not at that stage yet, but they are ready when she is.

For now, we are using the control cards along with the felt notes to figure out where on the staff each note belongs.  One time I tried to use the notes to write a song, and L became upset because they weren’t “in the right order” [ascending] — so I made sure to point out as we played our handbells with the notes that the pitch of each bell was getting higher just like the notes were getting higher on our staff.

A few weeks later, L was ready to copy the first line of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with her movable notes, and she absolutely loves playing it with her handbells.

L is pretty comfortable by now with where each note belongs on the staff, so our next step will be to try placing the felt notes on the staff without the control cards as a guide.  After that, we will bring out those Music Symbol 3-Part Cards [at the bottom of that post].







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