Notation with the Bells

Material Description:

The bells

  • A green board with the five lines (the Stave)
  • A board to write on marked with five parallel lines
  • Cut out G-Clef which corresponds to the green board
  • Nomenclature cards with a picture, label and control with picture and name of the notes, Stave and G-Clef.

Prerequisite:

The children must know the names of the notes.

Method:

Here we aim to connect the name of the note to it’s name and show the children how to write it.

Say, ‘This is called the Stave and it has five lines’, indicate them counting from the top to the bottom) ask the child to identify some. Say, ‘Here we have four spaces’ indicate them counting from the top to the bottom) ask the child to identify some.

Say, ‘Here we have a small line’ (indicate it, at the bottom right) ‘this is called the ledger line, it helps us to write notes when we go above or below the line.’

Do a loose three period lesson.

Repeat this on a board, drawing them. Also introduce the idea that ledger lines can be at the bottom right, top left or wherever musicians need it. Tell the child it is possible to have more than one, draw three, giving them the terms, ‘first ledger, second ledger, third ledger’, (the first ledger is always nearest the stave).

Introduce the G-Clef, say, ‘This is the G-Clef, musicians a long time ago just wrote a G but then over time musicians used their imagination and made it so beautiful, it’s name clef means ‘key’, it is wrapped around the second line from the base. (place the G-Clef onto the green board in the appropriate place).

Show the children how to draw it by drawing it onto the Stave you have created on the board. Give the children a copy and invite them to trace it.

Note:

In English the G-Clef is called the ‘Treble Clef’ to refer to the high pitched ‘treble singers who sing in the key of ‘g’.

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The term ‘Stave’ can be used instead of ‘Staffs’.

It is also possible to give the terms ‘do, re, me’ which comes from the Gregorian chants, the ‘do’ is the first note of any scale, it is not a fixed note but it can helpful for learning from the fixed scale of ‘C’.

Introducing the notes on the Numbered Stave-board

Aim:

This is to introduce the names on the numbered stave and to associate the names with the proper places on the staff using the G-Clef.

Material Description:

  • Eight white discs with the names of the notes
  • Eight black discs with a number which corresponds to the stave board and on the other side the name of the note.
  • Green board with stave with each line numbered
    G-Clef

Method:

Play the bells in sequence, higher and lower on the different sets of bells.
Show the children the white discs with the names of the bells and invite them to match.
Read the names in order to reinforce it.

Say, ‘Today I am going to show you how to write the name on the Stave, we will start from one and go to eight, I have here some discs with the numbers on them’. Place the black discs with the names up. ‘First we need to place our key, without it the writing doesn’t mean anything’, place the G-Clef.

Take the black disc ‘c’, and read ‘c’, play the lower bell marked with the white disc ‘c’, then turn the disc over and read the number and show the child where to place it, counting the lines and spaces starting at the bottom. After doing ‘c’ take any disc and keep placing.

Remove the discs and invite the children to repeat the work, placing the discs and playing the bells.

Later work:

Later join the children while they are working, move the Clef and show them that the notes depend on the position of the Clef with this and say, ‘Where do we find ‘c’, the ‘c’ is on the first letter line under the stave’, or ‘Where is the ‘f’, the ‘f’ is in the first space’.

Show the children the Nomenclature Material

Note:

The later work shows that the position of the notes relates to the position of the Clef.

Introducing the notes on the Unmarked Staff/Stave-board

Aim:

Memorisation of the names of the notes with the proper places on the staff using the G-Clef.

Material Description:

  • A box of thirty-two white discs with the names of the notes
  • Eight white discs to label the bells
  • Two Unmarked Green board
  • G-Clef
  • Ledger lines
  • Control Chart for C Major

Method:

Play the bells in sequence, higher and lower on the different sets of bells.
Ask the children to place the white discs on the brown bells.
Place the G-Clef as before.

Say, ‘Today I am going to use all of these white discs’, take one, place it and play it. Read the letter out loud and use the control chart to help place it correctly if necessary. Also show the child how to use the ledger lines to go above or beyond the lines on the green board. The children place the white discs so that they look blank

When the children have finished turn the discs over and comment that the discs on each line are all the same, play the note.

The children can do this by themselves later, using the Control Chart and Nomenclature material.

Note:

Here we only want the child to use the notes on the control chart.
The children can now compose with the green board and white discs or with the bells.

Later Work:

  • Exercise with the broken scale:
    Give the children slips with a few notes, ‘broken scales’ ask the children which child thinks they have the corresponding slip. The child can represent this on the Green Board.

  • Children can now use the White Boards which show notes in a pattern to practice reading, representing and playing.

Children can work in groups to represent slips from ‘the broken scale’ or White Boards with white discs on the green board or play them. Show the children how to play from these if they need prompting.

  • The children can read the notes, turn the boards face down and then try to play from memory.
  • Children can begin composing their own music, they can place the discs on the green board when designing their piece and then play it on the bells, later you can introduce the child to bars to divide their music, show them the double bars and ‘fin’ sign when they can identify the time signature.

Naming Sharps and Flats

Material Description:
Full set of bells arranged on keyboard
Small box of black discs with the notation for sharps and flats
Eight white discs to label the bells

Method:

Play all the bells in sequence, higher and lower on the different sets of bells.

Say, ‘Today we have more bells, it sounds quite different, it is called the chromatic scale, we are going to look at these special black bells, they have two names. Play D sharp. Say, this is called d sharp’, it is a little higher than ‘c’, when a note is a little bit higher we call it a sharp and place the label ‘d#’, ‘it also has another name, when I play the note ‘e’ the black bell is a little bit lower, when the note is a little bit lower than another we call it an e flat, place the sign ‘eb’ This tone actually has two names, we can call it d sharp or b flat.’

Do the same with a sharp, comparing it to its two adjacent notes, it is called an ‘a sharp’ or ‘b flat’.

Give more examples in the same presentation or a few days later.

Note:

The black discs show both the names of the sharps and flats.

Later Work:

Later we will connect this with the tone bars.
Show the children the sharp sign ‘3’, flat sign ‘b’ and natural.

Notation for Sharps and Flats

Material Description:

The sharp sign ‘#’, flat sign ‘b’ and natural.
The unmarked green board
The G-Clef Eight white discs to create notes on the board

Method:

Show the child the symbols for sharp and flat and ask them to identify them. Place the G-clef and two or three of white discs, identify the note. Now show how the flat and sharp signs can be used to modify the meaning of the notes, place the symbol to the left of the note.
Lastly show the ‘natural’ sign which means that the note isn’t a flat or a sharp anymore, so they show the sign natural. Say, ‘All of these signs together are called ‘accidentals’.

Note:

Show this after the children have worked for a long time with the sharps and flat bells

Writing Music Composing by ear

When the children are familiar with the unmarked Green boards they can begin composing their own music. They can place the discs on the green board when designing their piece and then play it on the bells. Later you can introduce the child to bars to divide their music, show them the double bars and ‘fine’ sign when they can identify the time signature.

They can play games making the noise of running up the stairs, catching a ball and other movements.

Pitch dictation

The adult can play a short piece of music and the child can identify what she has hears and represent it using white discs and the green board.

Simple Songs

When children can read well they can use longer pieces of music than the White boards or ‘broken scale’ to play a short jingle.

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