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Montessori Music: CHMS 2015 World Music Tour

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” - Plato

Plato’s words are oh-so-appropriate as an introduction to our music program here at CHMS. That’s exactly what we are hoping for our children each time we offer them an opportunity to listen to and learn about music - wings for their minds, flight for their imaginations, and to give them a little context for which they can begin their exploration of the world through music.

Beethoven, Mozart, orchestra, jazz, pitch, tempo, dynamics - these are all words that our preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten children learn during Friday music class.  They use these words every day in our classrooms as we listen to music and talk about what they hear to further expand their musical vocabulary and appreciation for all types of music. These words mean something to them.  Expanding musical vocabulary helps children learn to talk with their friends about what they hear and to enjoy and appreciate it more.

We explore a new musical unit in the fall, winter, and spring, where we focus on a theme during music class.  The children learn all about composers, instrument families, identify specific instruments in songs, talk about and listen to a wide variety of types of music, and get an opportunity to play several instruments through the year as well.  For our holiday program, the children play the bells as well as several other percussion instruments in addition to singing and dancing. 

We recently completed our 2015 CHMS World Music Tour, and it was a blast!  Over several weeks this spring, we explored types of music and learned about specific instruments from each continent. Your child recently brought home his/her passport and an explanation of the unit so you can talk more with them about their experiences.  We used our iPad to explore the sounds and songs and see the instruments using YouTube. We learned about the fiddle, guitar, and trumpet when talking about North America.  For South America, we learned about the panpipe and piano.  When discussing African music, Ms. Marierose brought her djembe drums and we listed to the balafon as well. During European music week we learned about the harp and trombone. Instruments from Asia included biwa, bansuri, and tabla.  And last week was Australia, where we talked about clapsticks and Ms. Keturah brought in her didgeridoo for the children to see and listen to.  

In addition to the children thoroughly enjoying the music classes, we often hear them talking with one another during lunch while we listen to classical music.  They talk about the instruments they hear in the music as well as the composers they are listening to while enjoying their lunch. Kwame Alexander, Newberry award winning author and alumni parent of CHMS, paid us a special visit later year to read his book, Acoustic Rooster, to the children and we were all pleasantly surprised to hear the children actively participate in conversations about jazz music - they knew instruments, artists, and could relate to what the music would sound like because they had heard it during several times during music class. 

We have heard so many inspiring conversations and we’ve seen the children’s interest in music be lifted to new heights in the past few years of our new music program.  Specials are nearly over for this year, and we can’t wait to see how the children respond to next year’s music units as well!