Music and The Art Show – Part 1

The children have been preparing for our annual Art Show, a major exhibit for the whole community.  It’s especially exciting this year, as last year’s event was cancelled due to Covid.

How do you help children to think like Picasso or Van Gogh?  How do you help them to feel creative and inspired?

We start by introducing children to the same tools that real artists use – paints in tubes, good brushes of many sizes, even well-loved palettes that are covered with years of paint.

We show them major pieces of art.  I pan every work of art in these good books – slowly and thoughtfully – to the children.  What I say makes the difference, and I do it with surprise and enthusiasm, as if there is a revelation:

“Connor, you can do this.  See the mountains?  You could paint this.”

“Eddie!  You love blue.  Look at the circles.  You could paint this.”

I make sure I’ve made a comment to every child.  It’s how you say what you say.  Children look at me with saucer eyes and nod their heads.  No-one has ever told them they can do this.  ‘You can’ makes all the difference in the world to a child.

Then the fun begins!  I introduce children to my old suitcase record player.  I just put it on the floor at our Morning Meeting and ask, “What is this?”  Of course every child is riveted.  I open the cover and tell them it plays music.  We learn about the parts and how it works.  And then I pull out an old record album.  This year it was Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

 When the music explodes from the record player, it’s as if all the stars have aligned.  Well they have, because I tell children,

“When you hear the music, it goes into your ears, and then into your brain, and into your heart.  Then it shoots out your fingers, whoosh- like magic, so that you can paint.”

Music inspires art.  The two are intertwined.  Children painted to Vivaldi and Beethoven.  They also painted to the Beatles and the Supremes, with an occasional dance party.

Children have been painting in earnest for weeks.  So much has happened!  Stay tuned for Part 2.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
This entry was posted in art, Early Education, Inspiration, music, preschool, Teaching young children, The Arts and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to Music and The Art Show – Part 1

  1. Ritu says:

    So wonderful, Jennie!

  2. beth says:

    i love the record player introduction to them! and we’ll be having an art show in a few weeks, where each child creates a piece made from loose parts and shares it proudly

  3. I love the role of music in the children’s painting! I look forward to seeing their creations!!

  4. beetleypete says:

    Painting, and dancing. Perfect education! 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  5. delphini510 says:

    Wonderful Art and Music lesson. I really enjoyed reading the progression of it.
    Bringing the music in was inspired. How true, music is in all. ( I even wrote a poem on that).

    I guess a few artists will come out of your classes.


    • Jennie says:

      Thank you so much! The progression makes difference in how the children see themselves and their abilities. It’s a creativity stimulator. I do love how music influences art.

  6. Dan Antion says:

    You go through such a wonderful process, Jennie. Its well planned, orchestrated and filled with love!

  7. GP says:

    Fantastic, Jennie! From you, the children learn the arts and their own hidden talents!

  8. Darlene says:

    I love how you introduce art to the children. Perfect! This will last their entire lives.

  9. I love that you not only show works of art that are famous and known, but also express to the children that they could be the creators. Then you go further to bring music into the equation. Music brings life to artwork. The connection between music and art allows the fluidness of creativity. Can’t wait to see what they kiddos created

  10. So fun! I absolutely agree that music and art compliment one another.

  11. I wasn’t into art until I became a teacher. Then, I realized how wonderful it is for kids. Good article.

  12. petespringerauthor says:

    You can do this are powerful words. Sometimes I say them aloud to myself. Another fabulous teaching moment, Jennie!

    • Jennie says:

      That’s really all children need to hear, isn’t it (besides I love you)? Thank you, Pete. Did you ever have a child say that to you when you were struggling to do something? Yes, it’s powerful!

  13. Orvillewrong says:

    That is the real way to teach, tell children they can not belittle them and convince them they can’t!

  14. I’m so glad you showed the kids what a record player is/was, or they might never know. Also, teaching them a bit about the lives of great artists is a wonderful inspiration to them. My niece’s son learned about Van Gogh in Kindergarten and was all enthused, drawing his own version of Starry Night at home and telling us all about Vincent Van Gogh. You’re doing a good thing there, Jennie!

  15. frenchc1955 says:

    Hi Jennie, this is such a wonderful example of excellent teaching! Art, in its variety of forms, is crucial for children to learn.

  16. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    Please look at this post on teaching music and art from that excellent teacher, Jennie!

  17. willedare says:

    I love how you explain the world, Jennie!!! And thank you for this wonderful reminder about how powerful/empowering our words can be: “‘You can’ makes all the difference in the world to a child.”

  18. Music s a great way to get the children to engage their creative minds. I have that Beatle Album too.

  19. Magical… Music and art!

  20. L. Marie says:

    I love the way you teach the children through the arts. So powerful!

  21. jilldennison says:

    You da woman!!! Where were you when I was in kindergarten, struggling to learn to draw something … anything that resembled something … and was finally told to go wash the paint off my face and sit down and read a book? Then, a few years later, my parents enrolled me in piano lessons, and the 2nd week the teacher refunded my mother’s money and said, “She’s tone deaf, no hope at all for her”. No wonder I have zero artistic talent!!! All kidding aside, great job, Jennie!

  22. I remember the moment I decided I wanted to BE an artist…1966…six years old…sitting in the movie theater…late — so stuck in the first row…staring up at the artwork of Bambi… I remember being totally overwhelmed by the sensory feast of the April Showers scene of rain in the forest…and every scene after…Too bad real life shot my art muse dead as Bambi’s mother. Who knows what would have happened had I had MORE teachers like you to catch the child artist in me and others when we feel lost in the woods..

    • Jennie says:

      I visualized your moment in the movie theater, and all the hopes and dreams. And then… it’s shot down. It’s as easy to tell a child they can as it is to tell a child they can’t. I’m glad I take the ‘can’ path. Thank you, KC! I will remember this every time I see an image of Bambi.

  23. Annika Perry says:

    Yeah! Music and art is an extraordinary combination and the students are very lucky to have you introduce both to them – simultaneously. Love your comment of ‘You could paint this’!! What fantastic encouragement!

    • Jennie says:

      The two go hand in hand! Yes, it was a perfect time to introduce them simultaneously. It’s incredible how a few encouraging words can make a big impact on a child. Thank you, Annika. 😊

  24. Everybody can paint to good music, Jennie. I am delighted you still have a suitcase record players. That is so fantastic.

    • Jennie says:

      It’s that tangible hands-on element, plus a completely different way to make music, that makes it special and exciting for children. They love my record player! Thank you, Robbie.

  25. srbottch says:

    Wonderful concepts, Jennie. I even find that I work better when listening to music.

  26. Pingback: Sunday Post – 11th April, 2021 #Brainfluffbookblog #SundayPost | Brainfluff

  27. You are really unbelievable, Jennie! 🙂 What are you not engaged in? 😉 There you having a lot of efforts, but i am sure this makes a very positive impact, for their future life. Best wishes, Michael

  28. I am glad the new CBC curriculum came by in Kenya. Art is now a subject taught in primary school. Kids can discover and nurture their talents early in life

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