I have been teaching a music appreciation and understanding class at L's Montessori school. The children are between the ages of 3and 5. It has been great fun and we have spent the last few weeks learning about why music is written, how it makes you feel, rhythm, dynamics, and the orchestral instruments.
Each week we talked about a different family of instruments using three part cards(Woodwind, Brass, Strings, and Percussion) had some demonstrations and got to try some of the instruments out.
Once the children were familiar with all of the instruments we listened to The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra by Benjamin Britten. This piece was originally written for an educational documentary film on the instruments of the orchestra. It begins with a simple theme played by the whole orchestra and then by each family of instruments. Britten highlights each instrument individually in a series of variations.
I presented this piece by laying all of the instrument cards out on a mat in their family groups. As the piece began I pointed out which group was playing. Once the individual instruments were introduced we all "air" played them along with the music. This was super fun as we started with a tiny piccolo and ended standing up playing the timpani.
It's a fairly long piece and I wasn't sure if it would hold the children's attention but amazingly we "air" played every instrument in the orchestra! It was great fun and a good way to familiarise the children with the instruments without actually having them all in the room.
Here is a link to a description of the piece and the order of the instruments and here is a link to the piece on Youtube.
You can also print out these Instrument Nomenclature cards from Counting Coconuts that Mari-Ann so generously shared.
Happy Music Making!
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