As a musician and someone who deals in the visual arts, it’s not hard for me to draw a natural connection between music and art. Both deal in the same abstract qualities-texture, balance, form, design, harmony, line and emotion-albeit in very different ways. Both forms of expression seem to tap into the same space in the mind and can influence one another in a beautiful way when used together.
Here is a simple invitation to draw your own connections, first given to us by a favorite music teacher…all you need is a workspace set up with your child’s favorite art supplies, plenty of paper and a device for playing music. Have your child sit down and play them a piece of classical music they have never heard before. Ask them to create whatever the song brings to mind for them. There are no strict guidelines and no wrong answers!
This activity evoked a great discussion between my 1st grader and I about the emotion behind music and art. We were listening to Beethoven (Symphony No. 3 in E flat), and she said it made her think of puppies jumping and playing in the park with the sun shining and flowers all around. We discussed the feeling both behind the music, and the image she created and she came up with happiness. I added playfulness, hopefulness, and bold abandon too. We also talked about how our senses influence one another- a valuable tool to remember, especially when we are stuck creatively!
Here are a few other resources for you:
- One Teacher’s approach to expressing visual arts through music
- A fun app for preschoolers to compose their own music using visual elements
- A fascinating video from PBS about Arts & The Mind
- Classical Music for beginners