“Music is a more potent instrument than any other for education, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.” Plato
Maria Montessori observed that the child’s sensitive period for music takes place between the ages of two and six years. During this period, the child is most sensitive to developing basic music skills, like singing and rhythmic movement. Most importantly, Dr. Montessori discovered that the child’s experience must involve more than just listening. It is through hands-on experiences and movement that the child can benefit most and develop an appreciation for music. These benefits lead to strengthened pattern recognition, math, language, spatial reasoning, writing and reading skills.
There are many ways to bring music into your day at home or in the classroom. I offer the child song choices that relate to his work. For example, if he is working on the World Map, we may sing a song about the seven continents. When he is washing his hands, he can pick a song to accompany the hand movements (and to ensure they are clean ;)). We often sing as we walk to the playground and add exaggerated movements. And at clean-up time, we sing a clean-up song: “Clean-up, clean-up, everybody, everywhere; Clean-up, clean-up, everybody do your share!”
Instruments are wonderful for incorporating music too. I keep a xylophone on our shelf for all ages. I also have a basket of wooden instruments with bells, rhythm sticks and clackers for movement songs and games. I’ve made sound shakers with glass jars filled with different beans, pasta and coins. Sealed tightly, they especially delight the youngest children. They are great to shake along with our recorded music.
“Why do we teach music? Not because we expect you to major in music. Not because we expect you to play and sing all your life. Not so you can relax. But so you will be human. So you will recognise beauty. So you will be sensitive. So you will have something to cling to. So you will have more love, compassion, more gentleness, more good, in short, more life. Of what value will it be to make a prosperous living unless you know how to live? That is why we teach music.” Unknown