I LOVE MUSIC! I listen to it constantly, attempt to sing it and have even been known to dabble on the piano from time to time. So, when my colleague was conjuring up a musical All That Jazz, I was more than happy to incorporate this theme in my curriculum!
Music and the visual arts overlap in many areas: Kandinsky’s visual music, musicians who also paint and draw like John Lennon and Miles Davis, and visual artists who, in turn, make music (did you know Leonardo da Vinci was a vocalist?). For this project I wanted to focus on an artist who was living and breathing all the inspiration and passion of Jazz Age and the Harlem Renaissance, so I zeroed in on Romare Bearden.
Students learned about Romare Bearden and looked at examples of his work for inspiration. I showed them my all time FAVORITE piece, Showtimefrom 1974. Bearden’s artwork creates a natural dialog for a discussion on emphasis, balance and harmony. His characters aren’t just standing there, that gal is wailing on the microphone! Then we listened to various jazz artists, identifying different instruments, feeling the rhythm, even moving around a bit. The final project was to design and create a multi-media collage of a musician (or two or three) using drawing, paper, and paint. We even used recycled sheet music for the background!
I hung each and every collage up on opening night. Parents were thrilled to have a mini art show on the same night as the performance, but most importantly, the students strengthened their learning with one more connection: music and art! After all, isn’t that what’s its all about?
What are some other art projects you’ve done combining music and art?