Montessori Philosophy & Practice

AGE 1-3 YEARS—Music

The following is the text from this section of the 2009-2010 edition of The Joyful Child, Montessori from Birth to Three
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If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing. —Zimbabwe Proverb

Everyone has a need to sing, dance, make music, and we can fulfill our own needs as we fulfill that of our child. It is important to eliminate background sounds—that the child at this age cannot screen out—and to make all sounds count. A child's musical taste is formed early in life so we should provide an environment rich in beautiful music and high quality musical instruments.

The adult doesn't need a beautiful voice to model singing for children—just a song at any time during the day, the child joining in as he pleases. Singing is therapeutic for the whole body, and gives practice in language—words and language patterns which would otherwise not come up in everyday speech.

A new form of educational system will not appear until we give serious consideration to the fact that we have a “double mind.” Children at any age must be offered a balanced experience of VERBAL and INTUITIVE thinking to help develop the great potential of the human mind. The results will not only include better functioning of the brain but also greater happiness in personal and social life.

In Western education, we tend to separate them, because many of the things the right hemisphere (intuitive) is able to do are not highly valued in our civilization. So from a very young age, children learn not to express themselves completely with that hemisphere because they haven’t been urged to give much importance to body-movement in dancing or in singing, drawing... all the arts.

In Eastern civilizations, however, greater importance tends to be given to the intuitive part of the brain; the logical hemisphere is considered irrelevant in solving the real problems of our existence.

It is a source of great hope for our immediate future that the most advanced human beings of both cultures are uniting in the recognition that we need each other to become complete and that we have a lot to share.

—Silvana Montanaro, MD., Montessori Teacher Trainer

Instrumental Music
It is important for children to realize that music is always the result of body movements. Even if there are natural sounds, children need to understand that music is produced by human beings using various muscles of the mouth, hands and arms. They should . . . have the opportunity to witness how musicians control their gestures so as to obtain different musical sounds.
—Dr. Silvana Montanaro, MD

High quality non-plastic percussion instruments will accustom the child to the best of musical sound. We recommend real instruments from different countries of the world, as well as Western classical instruments, for quality, variety, and beauty of sound.

Most of all enjoy this experience with your child—music is one of the greatest joys of life.

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© Susan Mayclin Stephenson, 2010 (
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