Offering a visual music experience and exposing students to various musical forms, the Echo Music Program at Sakura Montessori International Schools enables each child to develop their musical sensitivity and vocalization abilities, ultimately nurturing their love for music.
The Program is based upon the Montessori method’s philosophy and the music education insights of Frank Leto – a Montessori teacher with years of teaching music at American Montessori schools – in consideration of the suitability to each child’s artistic development stages. Accordingly, the Echo Music Program is expected to engage the children of Sakura Montessori in playful and rewarding experiences.
The integrated Program unlocks each child’s musical sensitivity
The Echo Music Program is distinctly different from traditional programs thanks to its integrated characteristics. With a multi-sensory element incorporated in, the Program is delivered following the core mottos of “learning through playing” and “learning music through the senses”. These virtually match Dr. Maria Montessori’s philosophy on education and teacher Frank Leto’s approach in a fun and natural music teaching environment.
To that end, the Echo Music Program focuses on capitalizing the students’ active interactions with music through their senses, particularly sight, hearing, and touch. The Program is centered on the Echo method which engages students through interactive activities with music.
The students learn music visually following the Echo method which is different from traditional repetition, and explore musical instruments made out of everyday items. It is the students who can also present themselves as lively “musical instruments” by employing their own “body percussion”. Thanks to its approach in music education with body percussion, the Program will unlock each child’s innate musical potential and make them aware that music is not only created through singing or playing instruments but the melodies can also be produced by their own body or everyday items.
Aiming at reinforcing each student’s innate musical abilities throughout different phases, the Echo Music Program is structured with two blocks for the corresponding age groups:
- The first music block – Sound and Rhythm – for the 0-3 age group
In the first level, the children learn the fundamental block – Sound and Rhythm. They are further exposed to music through lessons on sound’s characteristics and timbre, and feeling the rhythms created from a wide range of forms such as footstep patterns, movements, imitations, and storytelling.
- The second music block – Melody Sensitivity – for the 3-6 age group
Based on their fundamental knowledge of Sound and Rhythm obtained in the first block, the students will gain a deeper grasp of music in the second block. During this phrase, the music lessons are extended to learn how to vocalize, use instruments, read sheet music, and do activities accordingly. Thanks to these, the Program intended for this age group provides students with the initial building blocks for playing music in the future.
Not only do they practice the reading and understanding of sheet music, vocalization, and performing melodies using musical instruments with the help of visual aids like pictures, the students also approach classical music through visual charts, instrument harmonization, or creating music out of everyday items and “body percussion”. What’s more, they have the chance to learn about the cultural essence of different nations through their traditional musical instruments, dances, or customs.
2. The formation of musical skills is in parallel with the natural body growth
“The two blocks of the Echo Music are consistently linked in terms of knowledge with the difficulty level gradually increasing. Thus, at each level, the children can pick up information and skills appropriate to their age such as recognizing instruments’ timbre, and responding and moving their body to music,” said Ms. Nguyen Dieu Ly – in charge of the Echo Music Program of the SMIS Education Research & Pedagogy Council.
There are two levels of musical knowledge and skills to be acquired:
- Level 1 for the 0-3 age group: The children can distinguish different sounds and timbre, feel and perform the beats, identify and use some unpitched instruments, and get to know basic information such as notes and rests.
- Level 2 for the 3-6 age group: The children can feel music visually and through imitation. They can read sheet music and do activities accordingly, and can vocalize and play the piano a little bit.
Mastering these knowledge and skills allow the children to enhance their musical sensitivity and know how to use some instruments at an elementary level, nourishing their love for music in the future.
3. Qualified faculty competent at musical specialization and pedagogical skills
The Echo Music Program at Sakura Montessori is delivered by highly qualified teachers who have majored in music education. The teachers are not only cognizant of the students’ sensory development but also show their affection to the children and impart a love of music onto them.
In addition, the School regularly organizes extensive training sessions for the music teachers in order for them to further enhance their teaching performance.
With its auspicious advancement, Echo Music is a special program driven towards the learning-through-playing approach that will open up a lively and inviting world to children.