Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Montessori Bells!!

I am so excited to finally present this new work I can hardly sit still. The Montessori method is genius in many ways, but the way it introduces music is just incredible. Montessori bells are two sets of either 8 bells each (white only) or 13 bells each (white and black). Children are taught first to match each bell to the control set and then to grade the bells from Middle C to High C. The "official" set of 26 Montessori Bells costs in excess of $2000. So imagine my surprise when I found an imitation set of 16 bells on Craigslist for only $100. Wow!! The only thing left was to have somewhere to put them.

Enter my wonderful husband and his custom made bells cabinet! The plan is to put a cover on it so I can be sure the bells aren't damaged when I'm not aware. But for now this cabinet is perfect. The table top is 22" tall so it's the perfect height for a preschooler.

This shot shows the control bells (white bases) that sit on the green board behind the painted keyboard pattern. Although I don't have the "black note" bells, the Montessori lessons start with only the white notes and he'll be able to move onto the tone bars in early elementary to learn the black notes.

This is the complete set up with the wood colored bells added in front of the controls. The control bells will always stay where they are. The front set of bells will be moved and mixed up so they can be matched and sorted. You can just see the mallets to the far left and there are two dampers to the right, although they are black and get lost in the photo.

Here's a close up of the bells. They are struck by hand with a mallet and have a nice ring to them.

For the first presentation I taught DJ 1) how to pick up and carry a bell, 2) how to hold the mallet and strike the bell and 3) how to hold the damper and dampen the bell. That was all he was up for today. For the next presentation we'll select three bells, set them out of order and learn to match them.

Here is an adorable video of DJ ringing the bells for the first time. I love his little dance at the end!


  1. Awesome! And I love that little dance too ;)

    Be sure to show him how to strike the bells with the mallet "dangling" from his fingers - this helps with writing grasp AND produces an even more beautiful sound on the bells. ;)

    1. Yeah, I love that little dance too! And thanks for pointing out the way he's holding the mallet. I did show him the proper way but he reverted to the dust hold when he got to the white bells (I missed video'ing the first row). But I will pay attention to that and make sure he learns if right. He does need it for pencil grip too!