THE MONTESSORI METHOD - online book

Scientific Methods As Applied To Child Education In "the Children's Houses"

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EDUCATION OF THE SENSES 207
addition to the discrimination of sounds, is to awaken a sense of rhythm, and, so to speak, to give the impulse toward calm and co-ordinate movements to those muscles already vibrating in the peace and tranquillity of immobil­ity.
I believe that stringed instruments (perhaps some very much simplified harp) would be the most convenient. The stringed instruments together with the drum and the bells form the trio of the classic instruments of humanity. The harp is the instrument of " the intimate life of the individ­ual." Legend places it in the hand of Orpheus, folk-lore puts it into fairy hands, and romance gives it to the prin­cess who conquers the heart of a wicked prince.
The teacher who turns her back upon her scholars to play, (far too often badly), will never be the educator of their musical sense.
The child needs to be charmed in every way, by the glance as well as by the pose. The teacher who, bending to­ward them, gathering them about her, and leaving them free to stay or go, touches the chords, in a simple rhythm, puts herself in communication with them, in relation with their very souls. So much the better if this touch can be accom­panied by her voice, and the children left free to follow her, no one being obliged to sing. In this way she can select as " adapted to education," those songs which were followed by all the children. So she may regulate the complexity of rhythm to various ages, for she will see now only the older children following the rhythm, now, also the little ones. At any rate, I believe that simple and primitive instruments are the ones best adapted to the awakening of music in the soul of the little child.
I have tried to have the Directress of the " Children's House " in Milan, who is a gifted musician, make a num-
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