Music Inspires Art

Children are painting in earnest, working on their own masterpieces, preparing for our annual Art Show.  We have studied Van Gogh, Picasso, Kandinsky, Monet and Matisse.  The range of art is as diverse as the interests of the children.  That’s just how it should be, as there is something for everyone to like.  Do you know how excited the children were to see Starry Night (our classroom poster) in an art book?  Haystack, Gladiolas, Large Blue Horses, and Monet’s Garden are the popular works of art.  Interestingly, while the art is inspiring, most of the children want to paint their own thing.

Today we introduced music to inspire art.  I brought in my old record player and some record albums.  First I placed the player on the floor and asked, “What is that?”  Most children thought it was a suitcase.  Then I opened the top like it was a treasure chest (well… it is) and began to touch the turntable (it moved in a circle!) and the arm.

At this point you could have heard a pin drop.

I turned on the power button and rubbed my finger on the needle.  Every child had saucer eyes.  Next, I pulled out a record album.  “This is music.  It looks like a giant CD.  Watch what happens when I put it on the record player.”

I put on Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.  After children’s shock of hearing music floating in the room, I said “Listen carefully.  What instrument is that?”  Yes, a violin.  We listened a while longer.  Oh, it was lovely.

“Guess what happens when you listen to music?  It goes into your ears.  Then it goes to your heart, and it shoots out your fingers- like fireworks- so you can paint a masterpiece.”

Yes, I was dramatic as I explained the music going into the ears and eventually out the fingers.  My fingers were fireworks.

Children wanted to hear some of my other records.  I played Meet the Beatles, and I can attest to the fact that “I Want to Hold Your Hand” is still as popular as it ever was.  Boy, did the children dance!  I also played a Supremes album, which they enjoyed.

Now we had music to inspire our art… but which music?  Children picked their favorites and we took a tally vote.

Vivaldi won!  Children listened to the beautiful music and painted.  They chose wisely.

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the wind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” ~Plato~


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five 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 was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
This entry was posted in art, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Inspiration, music, Quotes, Teaching young children, The Arts, The Beatles and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

108 Responses to Music Inspires Art

  1. Norah says:

    Wonderful. Inspiring.

  2. willedare says:

    Such a terrific process of discovery! And I love to see the final tally — Vivaldi by a nose…

    • Jennie says:

      I wish you had been there, Will. The feeling was electric. Music always does that, doesn’t it? I was pleasantly surprised that Vivaldi won.

  3. Well done, Jennie. I’m glad that the majority selected Vivaldi for the musical art. Nothing against pop music, but classical music is meant to paint a picture because the composer is sharing feelings about something.

  4. beetleypete says:

    The kids choosing something Classical was a surpise to me, but a very good one. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  5. joylennick says:

    That brought forth a tear or two…You are such a wise teacher, Jennie. ‘ Im indoors and I listen to Classic FM a lot and I often type while listening. as It can be inspiring for sure. Upwards and onwards. Hugs xx

  6. Ritu says:

    This is wonderful, Jennie! 😍

  7. K.L. Hale says:

    I love this so much, Jennie! Music is a teacher like you. It touches places that are untouchable in our souls! Vivaldi winning was too cute! 🎶🎶🎶♥️🤗

  8. Those clever budding artists loving Vivaldi. ❤ Jennie you nurture and bring out such creativity. What a conductor you are!

  9. That’s one of my favorite classic pieces too! I should take a page from your book and play it while I’m trying to draw and paint…maybe my creative juices will start flowing too!
    I love that you still have a turn table and LP’s!! How wonderful that children were introduced to music that way.

    • Jennie says:

      Who knew old technology could be so exciting! The record player and albums really had the children focused. Deborah, I truly believe that music will inspire your painting. 😀

  10. srbottch says:

    Wonderful, Jennie. I understand that record players are making a comeback. Our local classical station is on all day and I ask my wife the same question, “what instrument is that?” French horn is a fav. By the way, , is the ‘van Gogh Experience’ in your area, yet?

  11. The Four Seasons is a favorite of mine as well. Th children have good taste.

  12. Elizabeth says:

    My first music listening education came in grade school with “Peter and The Wolf.” Before that I had no idea of how each instrument sounded. Reading this brought back the whole bewildering experience as my brain tried to learn a new skill.

    • Jennie says:

      That was also my first serious listening to classical music and making a connection with the sounds of the instruments. I think every elementary school should introduce children to Peter and the Wolf. Thanks for reading and commenting, Elizabeth. Do you still have a record player and albums? Your granddaughter would love it!

  13. What a delightful experience for them. I just can’t believe you can sit on the floor like that to teach! 🙂

    • Jennie says:

      Haha! You should see me get down and get back up off the floor!! It was really wonderful, Marlene. I think I had as much fun as the children. 😀

  14. quiall says:

    Both those mediums feed the soul. That looked like my first record player.

  15. Don Ostertag says:

    Such music connoisseurs, Jennie. Proves that the Beatles are an acquired taste.

  16. beth says:

    what a beautiful, beautiful lesson/experience for all

    • Jennie says:

      Beth, I thought about you as this would be something right up your ‘kinder alley’. Do you have an old record player and albums? I take forever as I go through ‘discovering’ every part along with the children. STEM at its most fun.

  17. Darlene says:

    How wonderful that the children were exposed to a variety of great music. And on a record player no less. A close score but Vivaldi won! I can see how the music will inspire them. (I´ll let you in on a secret, Amanda visits Monet’s garden in the next book!)

    • Jennie says:

      OMG!!! I preordered the Amanda book yesterday, so I will be thrilled! I love exposing children to all kinds of music. Doing it on a record player makes the children truly listen. Hands on in the real sense.

      • Darlene says:

        Thanks for the pre-order! You will like this story about the power of music. It has been raining a lot here (quite unusual) so my dogs are unable to get outside much. They were quite antsy today and not able to settle down. I put on a Yo-yo Ma CD and they slept like little angels. It even works for dogs. I expect they may be painting pictures soon!

      • Jennie says:

        I love this! Yo-yo Ma is one of the greats. Gee, the dogs really might be painting pictures. 🙂

      • Jennie says:

        This reminds me of the wonderful clip of Mister Rogers and Yo-yo Ma. I must find that again.

  18. Dan Antion says:

    Great lesson. I love that you let them choose.

  19. I think this is just amazing, Jennie. I listen to classic music when I work.

  20. Jim Borden says:

    what a wonderful lesson that incorporated such a variety of subjects – music, art, math, technology, history. And I would have picked Vivaldi as well…

  21. This is such an uplifting and inspiring post. I feel the need to creat something!!

  22. I love The Four Seasons. Of course, Vivaldi one. Lol. What a fun day your kids had. That must have been marvelous.

  23. petespringerauthor says:

    How nice that they appreciate all the different types of music you’re introducing to them, Jennie.

    • Jennie says:

      They really do, Pete. That makes it such fun for everyone. While I love Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, secretly I was hoping the Beatles would win.🙂

  24. bosssybabe says:

    I love this! I think music is so inclusive, bonding and transformative! I am such a huge fan of introducing all sorts of music to Charlotte. I think it’s so magical… you never lack companion when you are with good music, you always have the ability to reflect on what you’re listening to (even with a 3yo toddler mind, I can see her absorbing the music she listens to and feels it in her bones) and I think it brings absolute joy! 🙂 I love it!

    • Jennie says:

      Hear, hear! Beautifully said, Jen. I couldn’t have said it better. Interestingly, I don’t play children’s songs in school. I sing them when I play the autoharp, but that’s it. Their favorite song at the moment is “Wagon Wheel”. If a child is feeling sad, I ask, “Do you want me to rock you mama?” Of course they say yes, and I rock them and sing to them while the song is playing. The rest of the class sings and loves it. We’re reading aloud the Little House books, so they know the instrument is the fiddle, the same as Pa’s. That’s just the tip of the iceberg on the power of music, all kinds of music. And you know that! Best to you, Jen.

  25. sjhigbee says:

    What a fabulous lesson, Jennie. And how lucky the children are to have such an inspirational teacher:)).

  26. You are such a gem, Jennie! You are teaching them more, than i ever had been tought in higher classes. xx Michael

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  29. dgkaye says:

    I love this! I can imagine their faces seeing a record player. I wonder if they know we used to have phones hanging off a wall, lol. ❤

  30. Mireya says:

    Oh my I would have loved to be in that room and you reminded me of a 1st grade class. They requested writing music and I put on classical. It made me smile when I hear the kids say of that my favorite. What a great idea!

  31. sandrah says:

    I absolutely live this! What an inspiring teacher you are!

  32. Carla says:

    I used to love playing music in my classroom when my students were doing art. Vivaldi is one of my favourites.

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