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  • Writer's pictureMontessori Views

Understanding Syllabication through the Teaching of Rhythm in Music

Updated: Apr 24, 2020

Music is such a natural event, that it almost happens instinctively. It is a direct response to the environment in which we humans live in. Music is used to communicate, and express our most inner and intimate emotions. It is a language so powerful that it can cause people to cry, laugh, dance, move, sing and hug. If you don't believe us, try watching a movie without sound and see how it affects your emotions. 

We initially envisioned that any teacher regardless of her/his background, or exposure to music may be able to present these lessons. In doing the presentations one would use the same methods and techniques used when teaching young children the sounds of the alphabet.

Think of music as a language! One uses an alphabet to represent sounds. We have created a connection between language and beats or rhythms. Each syllable in a word is a beat, giving the child the ability to make a one-to-one correspondence between something they are familiar with and something new.

We start off by introducing the common symbols found in music. This is done with hands on activities, and movable pieces. Through the presentations, we encourage the formation of an environment that fosters the free flow of ideas and explorations. Loud and soft sounds are represented with a large and a small diamond respectively. Pictures of items that students are familiar with from working with our Pink, Blue, and Green reading series, are presented. Each syllable in a word is a beat, giving the child the ability to make a one-to-one correspondence between something they are already familiar with and the new concept of a beat. The ultimate goal is that through the use of these materials the child will be able to read, write, and play notes and rhythms with the same ease as they do when reading.

These primary lessons may be used for individual children or small groups. They introduce activities for:

  • Steady beat in 4/4 time

  • Materials for early rhythm

  • Introducing quarter notes

  • Introducing quarter note with rest

  • Loud and soft

  • Following rhythmic patterns, and

  • Creating rhythmic patterns in 1 measure or multiple measures

As with all of the ETC Montessori materials, careful attention has been given to making sure that all the necessary materials are included, and that instruction is based on a three year pattern. Each set includes the following:

  1. Musical note nomenclature (3 part cards)

  2. Note stems

  3. Pattern cards for loud and soft

  4. Pattern cards for syllable matching

  5. Rhythm boards

  6. Teacher's Notes with lessons on presenting the lessons

Ideally, the materials here are intended to be used in an early childhood environment to introduce young students to primary music concepts. However, as is often the case, a teacher may find that a child does not have the foundations to understand music. If that is the case, then the same presentations have been used successfully in the lower elementary environment. 


1 3-Part-Card Tray, 2 wooden trays, 1 ETC Half Page Card Holder

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