In addition to music, I also teach visual art. My student teacher for the fall, Ms. Reed, had a very short placement (only 8 weeks). I didn't want the time in the art room to impede her learning and experience teaching music. So, we decided to integrate art and music for those lessons.
We compared the art element LINE to the contour of a MELODY. Fourth and fifth grade students got to choose their favorite song and draw the shape of the main melody. They practiced drawing the lines with small chalkboards. Ms. Reed and I walked around the room and asked each student to sing their song while tracing their finger along the line. We offered suggestions to change the melody, if needed, to make it more accurate. The students chose a piece of construction paper from an assortment of pastels. The students drew their melody line and then added additional lines in the background in attempt to hide their melody. The chalk lines should be very thick to prevent paint colors from mixing.
After drawing the lines, the students used watercolors to paint each section. Some chose to create color patterns while others preferred a random method. It took two 50 minute classes to begin and finish this project. We began painting in lesson 1. At first, the students were disappointed in the darkness of the watercolors. At the beginning of lesson 2, they were able to see how the colors are more vibrant when they dry. They also enjoyed comparing how colors looked different on different colors of construction paper. (Yellow paint on green paper looks different than yellow paint on pink paper) The original plan was to wipe the chalk away and reveal the background color of the paper. But, most students liked the chalk and didn't want to wipe it away.
If you are fortunate enough to have an art teacher at your school, this would be a great opportunity to collaborate! Students could draw their melody lines in music class and complete the chalk and painting in the art room. I really fell in love with this project because each student created a beautiful work of art that was truly unique. I try to plan lessons that give the students freedom of creativity to influence the outcome of their art. The response papers allowed students to comment on something they loved about their art and something they wish they could do better. One student commented that she loved "how we could make it our own". This was great reassurance. For that moment, I could pretend that I was a real art teacher and not just a music teacher pretending to be an art teacher. ;)
This post was featured on Fermata Fridays
on September 18, 2015.