Preparing For the Aqua Room Art Show. Who knew that music would be so inspirational?
Artist’s tools certainly work to help children feel inspired and create their own art. Whether it is squeezing thick watercolors from a tube directly onto a palette in order to work with different shades and colors, or adding water to a drop of the paint to make a translucent color, children are very engaged. They understand real tools, use them carefully, and they feel empowered. That’s a good thing! We embrace every opportunity to incorporate ‘real’ into our curriculum. It makes a difference, and the current artwork is proof of that.
When we planned for the art show, we felt that music could be a strong component to inspire art and creativity. Little did we know that music would take a big turn and become important on its own. We brought in a record player and albums, and that made the music ‘real’. Children cannot get enough of listening to music, played on a record player. They gather to watch and listen. Often they find magnifying glasses in the science area and use them to carefully watch the record player as they listen to the music. They love it! Perhaps I should add that this is science and technology, too. When I bring a record player to school, I put it on the floor and say nothing. Children are curious about the box, so I open it and they don’t know what to say. “What is it?” someone finally asks. I say, “Let’s find out.” Slowly, I spin the turntable, turn it on, lift the arm, and then rub my finger on the needle to make a sound. At this point, the children are captivated. Then, I pull an album out of it’s jacket and ask what it is, looking as curious and confused as the children. When I put the album onto the turntable and lower the needle, children are as euphoric as they are shocked. Tommy blurted out, “That’s magic!”
We have listened to Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”, “Annie”, the “Temptations Greatest Hits”, Earl Scruggs, Handel’s “Water Music”, the Supremes, “The Sound of Music”, “Mary Poppins”, the Beatles, and much more. Each day we read the book, Can You Hear It? from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There are twelve art masterpieces, each with an accompanying piece of music on a CD. We only get through two each day (we love this!), as we listen for certain instruments that depict different scenes or objects in the art. Your children have embraced both the art and the music!
Are you ready for this? Children ask for Vivaldi, and for Copeland and Rossini, especially when it is matched with art. Yes, they do! Four-year-old children asking to hear impressive pieces of music…well, that’s just wonderful. When we play Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”, I ask, “Do you want to hear ‘Spring’, ‘Summer’, ‘Autumn’ or ‘Winter’?” They know the difference. Wow! The favorite art and music match-up in Can You Hear It? is a Currier and Ives print titled “My Little White Kittens into Mischief” along with Rossini’s “Comic Duet for Two Cats.” We literally belly-laugh at every ‘meow’. So much fun!
So, what happens to art when children have been enveloped in music? In my class, the children created thoughtful, detailed masterpieces. Each piece was stunning. They knew that important works of art had titles, and I told each child that their art deserved a title, as it was a masterpiece. I asked them to name their masterpiece. Again, the children amazed me. I expected they would be excited or flustered to pick a title. No, not at all. Each child seemed to instinctively know what to call their piece, and they told me the name with great pride and confidence. Never underestimate young children, and the power of art and music.
The slow presentation of tools to create art, and also the tools of music, will engage children to become excited to do art. The process of allowing children to use the tools, and listen to the music over and over again, will empower them to exceptional creativity.
The Art Show will be on display at the Groton Post Office to kick-off NAEYC’s “Week of The Young Child” this week. Each year this is a big community event. Our Guest Book is always full of signatures and wonderful comments.