Maria Montessori found that music plays an important role in development in three main areas: physical, intellectual, and emotional. The music program at MAC promotes all three areas. Physically, each child engages in instrument playing and movement, which encourages self-control and coordination. Intellectually, the children engage in singing and listening to music, which requires them to use their memory and stay attentive. Emotionally, certain melodies or instrumental sounds can evoke feelings whether conscious or not.
Zoltan Kodály believed that music education should be based on teaching, learning, and understanding music through singing. He also encouraged the use of folk songs that are native to the child’s homeland as repertoire. The children at MAC receive a rich variety of American folk music, as well as music from other countries to promote cultural awareness and musical diversity.
“In the early years of a child’s intellectual and spiritual development, musical education is of extraordinary importance.” -Zoltán Kodály
Music for the Nido Communities:
Music classes for the Nido children emphasize each child’s opportunity to take an active role. Even the youngest children learn to hear and feel the beat, become acquainted with pitch through singing very simple songs, as well as listen to classical music. Older children have the chance to move to live music, sing and play simple percussion instruments to traditional folk and nursery songs, dance and play many different musical games.
Music for the Toddler Communities:
Once the children have been exposed to these elements in their early years in the Nido, the Toddler years are then spent solidifying the musical components that they have been exposed to up to that point. This includes pitch (high/low), rhythm (long/short), tempo (fast/slow), dynamics (loud/soft), mood, form, and style. Their basic skills are gradually refined preparing them for what will be introduced during their Primary years.
Music for the Primary Communities:
The Primary children are introduced to three very important skills, while continuing to build on their musical elements. These skills are: identifying rhythm as related to names (Ta/Ti, etc.), using solfa (do-re-mi), and learning the Curwen hand signs (provides a psychomotor representation of pitch).
Music for the 3rd Year Primary students:
The Kindergarteners have the opportunity to develop their skills even further while keeping their Kodály foundation strong. They increase their skills in singing, movement awareness, instrument playing, music appreciation, music listening and identification, and music writing and composition.
The Montessori Bells:
The Montessori music curriculum is centered around the montessori bells. Developed through a partnership between Dr. Montessori and Anna Maria Maccheroni, the montessori bells are used to for musical and auditory skill development. The Primary children at MAC receive bell lessons once a week during the second work cycle in the afternoon.