Use our Montessori bells online; Java version 1.2 or higher required (1.4 or higher on MacOS X)
If you are using java5 or higher then you can try this java web start link.
Download our Montessori bells; Java version 1.2 or higher required (1.4 or higher on MacOS X)
Help; suggestions to try if the Bells don't work on your computer
The purpose of the Montessori bells is to introduce children to discrimination of musical sounds by pairing and ordering. The bells are also a musical instrument for children to play. Because the Montessori bells are a lovely and extremely expensive piece of equipment to buy, we have made a software equivalent of the first few activities usually done with the bells. We suggest that parents and teachers present and supervise the activities as they would the real bells. We think it will be worthwhile for adults to spend a bit of time familiarising themselves with our bells themselves before presenting them to a child, in order to avoid frustrating the child with any confusion. We suggest that the bells be introduced at a stage when the child is showing interest in music or singing.
In our start mode, there are two rows of bells; the top row is white, the bottom row brown. Other than their colour, the two rows are identical. Clicking on each bell in a row from left to right will produce the notes of the C major scale in ascending order. The bells cannot be moved in the start mode. The start mode can be returned to at any time by clicking on Restart at the bottom of the activity.
The Montessori bells activities are usually done in the order they are listed below. We agree that doing them in this order is the way to get the most value from them. The activities would usually be introduced over a number of different sittings, depending entirely on the child's interest and capability. Some children may need to have some of the activities demonstrated multiple times. We think most children will want to practice each activity multiple times. If a child moves onto the next activity without mastering the last, frustration may result.
These are our suggested activities:
- In our start mode, demonstrate that clicking on a bell produces a sound, then allow the child to experiment.
- Still in the start mode, demonstrate that clicking on a bell produces a sound which can be sung ("la"), then allow the child to sing to the bells if they want to (some won't).
- Still in the start mode, demonstrate playing up and down the scale. Allow the child to play up and down the scale as much as they want to.
- If the child seems ready for the next step, but has not discovered for herself that the two rows match (each column is a pair identical in sound) this fact should be demonstrated and the child allowed again to experiment.
- Clicking on Activity 1 will result in three random bells from the brown row disappearing from their places and reappearing, in random order, below the two rows of bells. The task for this activity is to correctly replace the three bells into the row. Demonstrate this by finding the brown bell to match each lone white bell before offering the child a turn. It is worthwhile demonstrating how to check, once the task is done, that each bell is in the correct place. Do this by clicking on the white bell and then the brown bell in each column to make sure they are the same.
- Either before demonstrating Activity 2 or before demonstrating Activity 3, use a three period lesson to introduce the child to the words "high", "low", "higher" and "lower" using the bells in our start mode.
- Clicking on Activity 2 will result in all of the brown bells disappearing from their places and reappearing, in random order, bellow the line where they belong. The task for this activity is to replace the bells in the correct order. Demonstrate this once or twice by finding the brown bell to match each white bell. Demonstrate how to check that the bells are in the correct order, once the task is done, by clicking on the white bell and then the brown bell in each column to make sure they are the same.
- Clicking on Activity 3 will result in a single row of bells appearing, in random order, below the line where they belong. The task for this activity is to replace the bells in the correct order. Demonstrate this once or twice. Demonstrate how to check that the bells are in the correct order, this time by clicking on the bells from left to right and making sure they ascend the scale as they should.
These are just the first few Montessori bells activities. There is information on other Montessori music activities in The Advanced Montessori Method volume II (also called The Montessori Elementary Material) by Maria Montessori.
I would like to gratefully acknowledge the Aperfield Montessori Trust Book 1 Course for my understanding of how to use the Montessori bells.
Linux, Windows and Solaris users
If our Bells don't work on your computer, the most likely reason is that you do not have Java version 1.2 or higher, which is required for the Bells to work. You can download the latest version of Java from the Java download page. Once you've done this, it may be that you can use the bells online here, or it may be that the bells will only work for you if you download them and run them on your own computer.
If it isn't obvious how to run the bells on your set-up, you could try the following: click on the run command in your start menu, drag the mbells_1.1.jar (our Montessori bells) into the prompt input box and type java -jar in front of the <your-directory>\mbells_1.1.jar . So for example if you downloaded the mbells into a directory called C:\downloads the input box in the run command should look like this: java -jar C:\downloads\mbells_1.1.jar
Our bells have been used successfully on MacOS X, with Java 1.4.
Please do contact us with questions, comments, suggestions or problems, though we don't guarantee we can help.