Music plays an integral role in the Montessori classrooms at North Star, reflecting Dr. Maria Montessori’s emphasis on creating a rich, multisensory environment that supports the development of the whole child. Music in Montessori settings is used not only to enhance musical skills but also to support various areas of learning and development, including language, motor skills, social-emotional growth, and cultural awareness. When it comes to teaching music, the Montessori teachers at North Star utilize several distinctive strategies and methods to foster a child’s natural interest and abilities. 

Musical Environment

Our Montessori classrooms include a variety of musical instruments that students can explore independently or under guidance. These instruments might include simple percussion instruments like tambourines and shakers, as well as keyboards or string instruments like xylophones or small harps. This exposure allows students to experiment with creating sounds and music at their own pace.  Students are encouraged to express themselves freely through music, whether by singing, playing instruments, or composing their own songs.  This freedom fosters creativity and emotional expression helps develop a love for music.  

Music Lessons in the Casa (preschool) 

More formalized Music lessons are taught in the Casa (preschool) classrooms with the use of the Montessori Bells Material.  Montessori bells are a set of precisely tuned bells that correspond to the notes of the chromatic scale. They are used to help students develop auditory discrimination, pitch recognition, and an understanding of musical notation. The bells are typically color-coded and can be used for various interactive exercises, such as matching, sequencing, and playing simple melodies, fostering a deep, hands-on engagement with music.  Just like receiving a lesson in Math, Language, or Practical Life, students are presented lessons in music. This does not only occur at ‘Music time’, rather spontaneously at any point during the day, emphasizing that Music is equally as important as the other subject matters.

Music Lessons in the Elementary

At the elementary level, students continue their lessons in Music with the Montessori Tone Bars. Montessori tone bars are a set of metal bars that are designed to teach students about musical pitch, tone, and the relationships between notes. Each bar produces a specific note when struck, and they are typically arranged in a way that visually and aurally represents the musical scale. Students use the tone bars to explore and understand musical concepts such as scales, intervals, and harmony through hands-on experimentation. These bars are an essential part of the Elementary Montessori music curriculum, promoting both auditory discrimination and a deeper appreciation for music.

Musical Extensions

At North Star, students are invited to share their talents and love of music with those outside of our immediate school community.  Our Upper Elementary students visit to the neighbouring Assisted Care Facility, where they perform songs and play various instruments for the elderly.  As well, North Star’s elementary students are responsible for planning, writing, and executing the musical components for our yearly Spring Play, resulting in a truly wonderful student-led performance.

By creating an environment that supports exploration, integrating music into daily activities, and providing structured yet flexible lessons, Montessori teachers at North Star help students develop a lifelong love and understanding of music.