Have you ever danced to music? Played tabourines while dancing? Used a paint brush with bells on it to paint? Drawn while listening to music? The creative arts provide a wide spectrum of activities and experiences that are specific to each area of expertise i.e. instruments in music, dancing in dance, drawing in art, and acting in drama, but when you combine them together you get something so unique! I feel that one of the obvious pairings is dance and music (which, don't lie, we've all danced out hearts out in our bedrooms or in the shower!), but one that's less thought of is music and art. Let's, talk more about that, shall we?
Music and art have the ability to be brought together in many beutiful ways. In music therapy, we often bring drawing, painting, crafting and so much more into our sessions! The difference between using art in music and receiving art therapy is that as music therapists, we do not in depth analyze the art that is created. When using art in music therapy sessions, the art itself becomes a keepsake or simply art to take home and hang on the fridge while the music is what is analyzed and broken down to its parts to ge to the root of the problem. In art therapy, the art may still be displayed but it is the key component or what is anazlyzed and broken down.
Art in the music room can be a fun, sensory way to explore music. Here are a few ways I enjoy bringing art into my music sessions:
1. Mandalas- Mandalas are circular drawing used for relaxation or exploration. Sometimes they are given to the clients empty, and sometimes they are given with a detailed picture insie for the client to color. Light music and a short, visually vague story are often given to the client before drawing to evoke emotions or visions.
2. Group Drawing- This is an awesome activity! Set up the room with desks/tables with one paper for every client spread out. Each client starts at one piece of paper with some colored pencils, crayons, etc. When the music starts, the clients begin drawing. After a minute or so, pause or change the music which will signal to the clients to move on to the next piece of paper and continue to draw. After every child gets a chance to draw on each piece of paper, hang the photos up on the board in your classroom or therapy setting to remind the group of the beauty that can come from working together!
3. Sheet music color-coding- Once of my favorite ways to teach reading music is by color-coding the music and the instrument. Similar to the coloring and structure of Boomwhackers, color-coded sheet music allows for students to play parted music. Allowing them to follow a color key in the front of the room or on their desks and color their own music teaches them to identify notes and be independent. It also gives them a sense of responsibility to color the music they will be using to play!
4. Color by Note- Color by number or letter pictures are a great way to engage the mind and a fun way to engage in academics. Color by note does the same thing and can be a fun pre-requisite to learning rhythm and notation! I prefer to find colors that match the color-coded music system with either Boomwhackers, or the Suzuki color spectrum, which I prefer to use. You can check out our blog on that system right here!
5. Drawing to Music- This is a simple relaxation activity that can be done in many different ways. One way I like to do it is to start playing music and let the clients come up and select their paper color, pencils/crayons, and even cut their papers if they are able to/allowed to do so. Another way is to just give everyone a blank sheet of white paper and let them draw to the music. No matter which way you do it, it allows for a new way to explore music.
There are so may ways to bring art into the music room but these are just a few. Pinterest is a great way to explore more ways to bring art into the music room and our Pinterest page has so many great ideas! Check it out here! Do you have a fun way to combine music and art? We would love to hear it! Let us know in the comments below!
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