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The relationship between music and art has a long history. MOMA has a wonderful module that examines the many ways that artists have explored the connection of music and art through materials, subject matter, and composition. Discussing movement, frequency, and rhythm in a song while identifying and describing the visual elements of color, line, and shape allows artists of all ages to make the connection between music and art.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED :
+ PAPER Any paper size and shape will work wonderfully for creating a musical line drawing. We found that a light color paper lends itself to a more colorful drawing. I often use 11 x 14 white drawing paper, the size is incredibly inspiring and permits for wide movements. Feel free to use the back of worksheets, handouts, or open up a paper grocery bag to create a beautifully big line drawing.
+ PENCIL Grab that No.2 and sharpen to a point
+ PERMANENT MARKER I'm a huge fan of Sharpie for their "bold to the max" colors that are ridiculously motivating and inspiring. Check out the How To Tuesday : Forever Flowers post for all the reasons why even the youngest artists can use permanent markers.
+ COLORING MEDIA Crayola crayons and markers are a staple at the studio. If you haven't experienced the joy of watercolor pencils, try Faber Castell's Do Art set of richly pigmented pencils. After filing shapes with color using the watercolor pencil, apply a damp paint brush onto the paper surface to move the paint within the shape.
+ MUSIC Chose two songs that represent two different music genres (ie : classical and metal, rap and folk, an instrumental piece and a song with plenty of vocals) My "go to" songs that inspire some pretty fantastic line drawings : My Funny Valentine by Ella Fitzgerald and Master of Puppets by Metallica. And for even more creative combos, my a handy-dandy "I See A Song" playlist is available on Spotify, enjoy!
WHAT YOU WILL DO :
"I See A Song" Line Drawing is a great opportunity to investigate how artists use lines to show movement. Brainstorm ways that lines show movement : warm up by sketching lines that show the bouncing of a ball, a kangaroo jumping, a robot walking, the waves of the ocean, your heart beating.
1. Chose one of your two song selections and play the song. Simply listen to how the song moves and flows, notice the rhythm, and hear each sound. Where is the song soft like a whisper? How would you describe the loudness of sounds (like a clap of thunder? the clanging of a hammer?) I will often have students close their eyes for this step to eliminate distractions and encourage a more focused listening experience. Use a pencil like a conductor to draw lines in the air that describe the movement of sounds. If you feel that song in your soul, get out of your seat and make movements with the lines of your limbs that show the rhythm.
2. Listen to the song again. This time use a pencil to draw lines on your paper that show the sounds that you hear. Let the song lead you around the paper, let the rhythm and beat flow through the lines you draw. Allow lines to cross and touch to create shapes. Usually the first 30 seconds of a song will provide plenty of time to create a line drawing that fills the paper.
3. Repeat step No. 2 as you listen to your second song selection. Draw on the other side of your paper if both sides are blank or use a new sheet.
4. Look at your two musical line drawings. Decide which drawing you will use for the remaining steps. PRE-SERVICE EDUCATORS/CLASSROOM TEACHERS & PARENTS/CAREGIVERS : Have young artists compare and contrast their drawings. This is a wonderful way to introduce reflection, encourage discussion, and fosters visual art vocabulary development. As you look at the drawings, ask "Where did the song move slow/fast? loud/quiet? How do you know?" Use descriptive words to talk about line quality (thick, thin, wavy, sharp, soft, dark, jagged, etc)
5. Trace all the pencil lines on the drawing that you chose in step No. 4 using a permanent marker. Carefully erase any pencil lines that "peek" around the marker lines. This will leave you with a crispy, clean line drawing.
6. Play iSpy shape and discover the free form shapes that were created during the line drawing process. Fill the shapes you identify with color. Continue until you've filled all the shapes with color. Use your imagination, what do you see? This is so similar to the experience of watching cloud formations and seeing a rabbit or a dragon! If you are filling shapes with watercolor pencils, experiment with a damp brush to move the paint on the surface of the paper.
7. You now have a visual record of sound, a documentation of the movement of music, do you "See A Song"? Name your song/give your work a title. If you're on social media, I'd love to see your masterpieces : tag @smartstudioakron (Instagram and Facebook) @smARTSakron (Twitter) and use the hashtags #HowToTuesday and #getsmART