Matilda Giampietro, PhD has been teaching music and movement at Washington Montessori School since 1981. Dr. Giampietro has given teacher training in music and movement at the Center for Montessori Teacher Education NY (CMTE/NY) since 1991. Matilda has presented many workshops on Music and Movement for Montessori Schools (New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Florida), Early Childhood Conferences, Montessori teacher training programs (New York; Arizona; New Jersey; Puerto Rico; Guangzhou, Shanghai and Qingdao in China; Hanoi, Vietnam; Village Health Works in Kigutu, Burundi; Kibera School for Girls, and FAFU School in Nairobi, Kenya), and Orff Schulwerk workshops. In 1996 she was the American music presenter at the International Montessori Conference in Rome. Matilda is an active member of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Orff Schulwerk Association (CTAOSA) and served on the board for 10 years. She is a past board member of CMEA. She is a soprano, performing Renaissance music with Wykeham Consort.
In 2011 she founded The New England Center For Montessori Music Training which offers a summer week long intensive and weekend introduction or refresher courses in music and movement. Participants are trained to use the authentic Montessori Music materials including the Bells, Tone Bars, green boards, notation materials, music listening, movement exploration and curriculum building. Students leave with an extensive repertoire and syllabus of poems, games, singing games, stories and dances to build their own programs.
Matilda is a sought-after clinician, and greatly enjoys teaching Montessori Music materials, songs, singing games and dances. Her work involves helping people find, explore, develop and enjoy their own musical abilities through singing and dancing together, which build and sustain the human community.
Matilda holds Level I and Level II Orff-Schulwerk Training Certificates. Her undergraduate work was done at Trinity College in Washington DC where she graduated with a BA, Major in Music and gave a senior recital in piano performance. Matilda studied the Montessori Music curriculum under Marcia Perez, an AMI music specialist and classroom teacher at Mater Amoris School in Maryland. Marcia has done a great deal of work with Dr. Jean Miller, author, teacher and music specialist who studied Maria Montessori's work on music in the archives in Holland.
On May 8, 2009 Matilda received her Doctorate in Sacred Music on May 8, 2009 at The Graduate Theological Foundation in South Bend Indiana. She received the Presidential Merit Scholarship. Her degree was based on her work at WMS developing community through non-religious ceremonies involving singing and dance, and her work as soprano and director with The Everyman Guild (an eight-member performance group specializing in the music and dance of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance). The title of her doctoral dissertation is "Building the Human Community and the Development of Spiritual Awareness Through Communal Singing and Dancing. "
Matilda was invited to join an international team of 5 musician-educators traveling to Village Health Works in Kigutu, Burundi in February and June of 2012. They went to learn about and document Burundian music, to introduce western music education methods and assist VHW in building a center of musical instruction and performance. Matilda was invited to share Montessori music and movement education. In June 2013 Matilda joined Nina Stern, recorder soloist and founder of S’Cool Sounds in her work teaching students in the FAFU School and The Shining Hope for Girls in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya. In August 2014 she returned to teach at Village Health Works in Burundi.
In 2013 she gave a week long intensive Montessori Music and Movement training in Guangzhou, China for MIA. She gave this course again in August, 2014 for two teacher training programs offered by MIA in Guangzhou and in Shanghai. While in China she also gave a course for the faculty of the Qingdao Amerasia International School in Qingdao, China. QAIS is the first and only school in Asia to be accredited by the American Montessori Society. In November of 2014 Matilda presented a six day Montessori Music and Movement Training in Hanoi, Vietnam, for 40 students of MIA in Hanoi. The class included mostly Vietnamese students but also some Chinese, Japanese, Australian, Philippino and American students.
Matilda has been teaching at WMS since her children first attended and she found her calling in 1981. At the entrance interview for her four young children, the head of school asked "And what do you do?" Matilda responded "I am a singer and a music teacher." Pat Werner (head then and now) said " Oh! The music teacher quit yesterday! Would you like a job?"
Over the years since that day the music program has grown from one part time teacher on a cart to a full music and movement program with a large beautiful music room, 3 pianos and a state of the art theater. There are now 5 members of the music department. There are 3 choruses (Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary and Middle School) giving 6 concerts a year, a middle school hand drumming program, a middle school rock band, individual Montessori Bell and Theory work with all 3 to 6 and 6 to 9 year old students, a music listening program, annual week-long cultural residencies with guest presenters in music, dance and story telling for all lower elementary and upper elementary students and four All School Ceremonies. These include the Opening Bell Ceremony celebrated in September, The Winter Solstice Celebration, Earth Day Celebration and the Moving Up Ceremony at the end of the school year. All school ceremonies involve music, dance, story telling, banners, processions, bells, drums, quiet ceremony and lots of excitement!