Music/Dance in the Lower Elementary

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What is sometimes overlooked in the Montessori classroom? The music and dance, which is such a blast to watch (and, clearly, even more fun to participate in)! Here, Lower Elementary Directress Megan Eilers shares what group music is all about, as well as how music is generally approached in the Montessori classroom.

In Megan’s words:

Music is part of the integrated environment and is designed to be an ongoing classroom experience. The children receive music lessons just as they receive lessons in any other subject, and therefore it is not taught in isolation.

We want to emphasize that music is accessible to everyone and that it does not require a specialist to teach. The optional group music sessions I offer are not intended to replace the music curriculum that we offer in the Elementary classrooms, but rather to encourage children from different Elementary environments to come together and share in musical expression.

Since the children are receiving ongoing lessons in music in the classroom, I try to build off those experiences when planning activities for group music. We are currently exploring music and movement, but earlier in the year, we focused on concepts of rhythm, singing as a group, and changing and creating lyrics to songs.

This semester, I noticed that many of the children in my classroom were eager to dance (literally had some children dancing throughout the day), so I thought exposing them to different forms of dance would be the perfect way to pair their need for movement with their interests in music.

What I have really enjoyed about our group music sessions is that it has brought out an unexpected confidence in so many children. I have loved watching everyone collaborate and support each other while learning or creating new rhythms, songs, or dances. I think the larger group setting has provided a safe and comfortable outlet for the children to express themselves without fear of being singled out. When they sing, their voices blend in with the rest of the group and help create the melody. When they dance, they learn from each other and laugh when they make mistakes. I just love seeing how much the children enjoy themselves when they participate in group music.

While we have been learning about dance and dancing just for the sake of dancing, the children have been so eager to show off their moves and create new moves that they have requested to put on some kind of performance or potentially incorporate a performance into the spring concert. We shall see what happens!

Thank you, Megan, for opening your classroom to us, and sharing just how special music and dance is in Montessori!