Welcome To the 2002 AMC Newsletter
Spring/Summer Page


AMC Spring/Summer Part I

Copyrightę2002

all rights reserved

American Montessori Consulting
P.O. Box 5062
Rossmoor, CA 90720
Heidi Anne Spietz, Editor
ISSN 1084-743X
Copyright 2002-2008
All rights reserved

Click below to visit the AMC Montessori Bookstore




To Visit Our New Primary Montessori Resource Section



We are delighted to announce *many* new additions to the *Montessori Primary Recommended Resource Section*. Visit this new section today to find lesson planning resources. You'll find art, crafts, practical life, manipulatives, books, magazines, cursive writing, music, science, social science, math, classroom accessories, multicultural resources, furniture, foreign language, puppets, puzzles, teacher training, learning programs, and much, much more. These companies offer some terrific educational gifts as well. You'll also want to read below to learn more about these companies and organizations.

Contents in Part I of this newsletter include:

Creative Lesson Planning - Lessons About the Renaissance
A Look at Renaissance Music
Excellence in Education - Bringing the Joy of Learning
To Your Homeschool!

Lab Essentials, Inc. - Your Online Source for Educational and Professional
Microscopes, Laboratory Products and More!





Creative Lesson Planning - Lessons About the Renaissance

A Look at Renaissance Music

Part I of this newsletter contains Renaissance music lesson planning information. Part II of this newsletter contains detailed Renaissance art lesson planning information. Be sure to read both parts so that you have a complete set of lessons. You can read the AMC Spring/Summer 2001 Part II by clicking here.

The following lesson planning information is from: Modern Montessori at Home II: A Creative Teaching Guide for Parents of Children 10 through 12 Years of Age by Heidi Anne Spietz. Copyright 1990. American Montessori Consulting. ISBN 0-929487-10-9 Library of Congress-in-Publication Data LB775.M8S757 49'.68 --dc20 All rights reserved.

Some of the recommended suppliers mentioned in Modern Montessori at Home II have been updated to reflect newer product lines. Many of the materials mentioned in this book and in this newsletter should be available from your local public library, bookstore or used bookstore.

Modern Montessori at Home II: A Creative Teaching Guide for Parents of Children 10 through 12 Years of Age by Heidi Anne Spietz are integrated to include art, literature and music. Other lessons integrating music into the curriculum in this book include the study of music in ancient civilizations and using creative writing to explore music topics.

Beginning early in the 14th century and extending throughout the 16th century humanity went through an intellectual awakening. The period in our history is referred to as the Renaissance, a term meaning "rebirth". As you know, the historical period which preceded the Renaissance was a time of great disillusionment and religious repression. Thus, the Renaissance served to awaken man's interest in the universe, and changes in art, music and literature reflected this emerging ideology.

By presenting lessons which focus on the art, music and literature of the Renaissance, your child will learn to appreciate the historical significance of this period. Moreover, he will develop skills which will help him to distinguish works of art completed during earlier or later periods. He will also become familiar with the literary giants and the musical greats of the Renaissance.

Lessons About Renaissance Music

In order for your child to fully appreciate the style and compositional qualities which make the Renaissance music distinct you will need to acquaint your child with some basic music terminology. Extensive listening is required for music to be fully appreciated. As you know, unlike art, music is not a visual medium. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you obtain the following materials for your presentations. Check first with your local library, to see if you can borrow these items.

You can also go to Google Images and type in the name of the instrument. You will receive actual pictures (gifs or jpegs) at the site location for each. If you find a picture of an instrument you want to use, you will need to find out about copyright restrictions before you can use the picture.

Music! From the Young Discovery Library Book Collection

The Moss Music Group, Inc.
The Music Master Series
Their Stories & Music
Cassette Tape Series
Prokofiev Peter & The Wolf Britten Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra

During your first presentation familiarize your child with the instruments of the orchestra. With the packet of the Making Montessori Easy Musical Instruments cards in hand, demonstrate how the cards are classified according to category, i.e. woodwind, string, and so on. Next, shuffle the cards and encourage your child to line the cards up under the appropriate section, i.e. pictures of the wood wind instruments go under the wood wind category, the brass instruments go under the brass category and so forth. During the remainder of the presentation, encourage your child to listen to Side 2 of the Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra. Your child will then be familiar with the sound made by each of the instruments. You can also locate the sounds made by each of the instruments by visiting some of the recommended lesson planning websites at the end of Part I of this newsletter.

Next, encourage your child to read Music! in its entirety. Your child will discover the answers to questions like: What are the three families of the instruments? What were the first woodwinds made of? What are the parts of the violin? The Young Discovery Books are well recognized and appreciated by educators in this country. The publishers have been recipients of numerous awards for their contributions to excellence in education.

During a subsequent learning session you will want to present your child with some new terms which will help him to better appreciate classical music. Thus, if it's been awhile since you studied music or you just want to review all aspects of music so that you will be better prepared for your next presentation, I recommend reading books mentioned in Appendix D in Modern Montessori at Home II or visiting some of the websites located at the end of Part I of this newsletter. In particular, you will want to review the following terms: Homophony, polyphony, counterpoint, motets, madrigals, chamber music and fugues.

As previously mentioned, the arts were profoundly affected by the emerging ideas of the Renaissance. Like Renaissance art and literature, music underwent a revolution which became even more apparent during the subsequent Baroque period. Three-part polyphony flourished during the mid-Renaissance period. Explain to your child that polyphonic music is rather difficult to listen to at first, because of the demands placed upon the listener.

Presenting a Lesson About Polyphony

Using a three-part polyphonic piece as an example, explain that the listener must listen for three distinct voices. If you sing and/or read music you are very familiar with the parts written for different voices, i.e. soprano, alto, bass and the like. Therefore, as your child initially listens to the three-part polyphonic piece, encourage him to concentrate his attention upon the soprano voice. The next time the piece is played, request that he listen for the alto voice. Finally, during the third listening encourage him to concentrate on the bass voice. Guillaume de Machaut, G.P. da Palestrina and Josquin des Prez used polyphony extensively; thus, for listening purposes, you may want to inquire at your local library as to the availability of records featuring these musical artists.

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina's Pope Marcellus Mass is just one example how polyphony was used to create a majestic masterpiece. Suggest that your child listen to a recording of Pope Marcellus Mass four times. First, encourage him to listen to the soprano voice. Next, suggest that he listen to the alto voice. During the third period of listening he should concentrate on the tenor voice. Finally, during the fourth repetition of this piece he should focus his listening on the bass voice.

This a cappella version has a stirring effect upon the listener. Palestrina did this deliberately. He wanted to create a musical piece which would cause the listener to reflect upon his relationship with God. The a cappella effect (without accompaniment) is significant in that it heightens the emotional impact of the piece. The listener's attention is not diverted; thus, he can direct his thoughts inward and contemplate deeper spiritual matters.

Palestrina, who was born circa 1525 in Rome and died in 1594, was considered to be one of the most highly regarded musicians of this mid-Renaissance period. He was a prolific composer and is credited with writing at least 245 motets, numerous madrigals, hymns and so on. Like many of his colleagues, Palestrina wrote exclusively for the voice.

Explain to your child that orchestral music was not commonplace during the Renaissance era. The bass and treble recorder, viols, lute and organ were some of the instruments used to entertain guests during festivals or other social gatherings. Moreover, chamber music was very popular during this era. Emphasize that the terms chamber music and ensemble are synonymous. The ensemble was composed of two to twelve players; each player was assigned a part of like value. The string quartet, which originiated during the mid 1700's, consists of two violins, a viola and a cello. This is an example of chamber music. Early chamber music which was pleasing and in constant demand during the Renaissance and post-Renaissance period is still appreciated by audiences of today.

Another eminent composer of the Renaissance period was Josquin des Prez, who lived circa 1440-1495. Like Palestrina, des Prez used contrapuntal techniques (polyphony) to create religious masterpieces. Although his compositions had the reverent quality which was a trademark of religious Renaissance music, he managed to add embellishments, particularly ones which yielded a harmonic effect. His motets of Ave Maria provide excellent examples of his ingenuity. If possible, borrow a recording of one of des Prez's Ave Marias from your local library. (If you live close to a state university library, you may want to inquire as to the possibility of borrowing a tape or record of des Prez's Ave Marias from the humanities section of the library.)

Madrigals and Motets

Madrigals were written for secular occasions. These poetic polyphonic musical pieces were sung to small groups; the beautiful madrigal music added much to the festivities. Conversely, the motet was created for the Catholic service.

Palestrina vs. des Prez

During a subsequent presentation encourage your child to listen to works of Palestrina and des Prez. Ask him to comment upon the similarities and differences that seem apparent to him. Reiterate that both Palestrina and des Prez used polyphony while many Medieval composers of religious music initially used monophony. Stress that polyphony was an outgrowth of monophony.

The Gregorian chant was used during the Medieval period in the Catholic ceremony. Further explain that the Gregorian chant, or plainsong as it was sometimes referred to, consisted of one melodic line. It was not accompanied by any other voice or instrument.

Comparing the Renaissance with the Baroque Period

Music of the subsequent Baroque period was filled with much polyphony; however, there was a new accent on homophonic texture. Explain to your child that this homophonic music consisted of one melodic line with accompanying harmony.

During the Baroque era composers like Bach used tempo notations to indicate how music should be played. For example, terms like adagio meaning slowly, and allegro, meaning lively tempo were used. These notations helped the musician interpret and play the music with the feeling intended.

As in the art world, the music world of the Baroque period also witnessed other elaborate changes. These innovative ideas reflected the monumental changes which were escalating in society during this period. As an extension of Renaissance ideology, musicians of the Baroque period were encouraged rather than discouraged to pursue artistic expression.

The seeds that were nourished during the Renaissance realized fruition during the Baroque period. For example, the chorale, overture, opera and sonata are just some examples of how creative sparks introduced during the Renaissance laid the foundation for these musical concepts to materialize.

During the Baroque period the fugue was used extensively. Bach, considered a master of the fugue, used this musical form to create many intricate patterns in his musical compositions. Emphasize that a fugue starts by introducing a thesis. This rather plain melody orients the listener to the primary theme. The primary theme or exposition is foilowed by a series of various voices which answer or restate this primary theme. Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, S. 565, and Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, S. 582, are ideal examples of how Bach mastered the art of the fugue. Listen and then discuss these musical pieces with your child. The two of you may want to borrow additional recordings of Bach's works. Ask the reference librarian at your local library to direct you to such additional recordings.

Supplemental Readings

The following books will greatly aid your child in understanding and appreciating the artistic contributions of the masters of the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Your pubilc library may own copies of the following books published by Ladybird Books.

The Story of the Theatre
Discovering Shakespeare Country
Lives of the Great Composers Book 1
Great Artists Book 1
Great Artists Book 2
These books are beautifully illustrated and the text is detailed enough to satisfy your child's curiosity about many of the masters of the Renaissance and Baroque historical periods. You may want to preview these books first, so that you and your child can discuss these artists in detail during your presentations.

Supplemental Music Materials

Your first stop should be to Music Education Resources Idea Library!!! Developed by teacher Sandy Toms, who currently uses his talents to inspire students in Montessori schools, this marvelous website will connect you with many of the sites you need for your music presentations. Other sites to explore include:
Instruments of the Orchestra, Children's Music by Burchie Greenn and Matt Levin,Orchestra and Orchestration, Instruments of the Orchestra,and A Selection of Renaissance Music.

You'll find additional aids by visiting THE Port Washington MUSIC HOUSE,Kimbo and Intelli-TunesTM Visit Music Resources for additional curriculum and resource lesson planning. The music and lessons presented in Part I and II of this newsletter are combined with lessons about Renaissance literature lessons in Chapter V of Modern Montessori at Home II: A Creative Teaching Guide for Parents of Children 10 through 12 Years of Age by Heidi Anne Spietz.

By studying Renaissance art, music and literature your child will become familiar with the vast contributions which were accomplished during a relatively short span of time. He realizes that a positive, open attitude encouraged rather than discouraged learning in all academic areas. He sees the relationship between historical events and humanitarian contributions. By studying the humanities he learns the importance mankind places upon artistic expression.

EIE) Excellence in Education serves the homeschooling community and others searching for creative and interesting curriculum. The organization offers everything from a catalog of games, many of which are hands-on, to the EIE Independent Study Program. The latter is a help to all homeschooling parents in general, and to those who are new and need a sense of direction in particular.

This company also offers a unique game curriculum which gives the presenter a complete supplemental curriculum based on games. An EIE representative shares the following commentary:

"FUN-ED was created in 1993 by our daughters. We used games extensively in our own homeschool program and they wanted to share the fun with other families. Although FUN-ED is intended for everyone, we offer an array of manipulative and multi-sensory products that will be especially helpful to children with handicaps, developmental delays and "learning disabilities." Click here to learn more about the extensive offerings available from this fine organization.



Lab Essentials, Inc.

Lab Essentials, Inc. is a supplier of quality educational, laboratory, medical and clinical products. A representative shared the following:

lab essentials)


"Our customers include public and private schools, homeschoolers, local, state and federal governmental agencies, universities, hospitals, medical clinics and research facilities.

You will find a complete line of educational, laboratory and inspection microscopes, as well as accessories and video imaging devices by visiting, Lab Essentials, Inc. as well as helpful information in choosing the right instrument for your application and comprehensive instruction on the proper use of your microscope. " Click here to learn more about the fine line of products available from this company.



Don't forget to bookmark this page for lesson planning! Don't stop now!! Click here to read Part II of this newsletter. You'll discover some additional music lesson planning ideas and resources for your home and school classrooms.



American Montessori Consulting
P.O. Box 5062
Rossmoor, CA 90720

Heidi Anne Spietz, Editor
The AMC Montessori Newsletter
Spring/Summer 2001
all rights reserved
Copyright c2002 - 2008

For comments about this issue please contact
Heidi Spietz at Heidi1977@aol.com

For general questions about American Montessori Consulting
contact AMC via e-mail
info@amonco.org


American Montessori Consulting