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Around the Campfire: The Arts are NOT Extracurricular

Tip Number 10.

Make Good Art!

You might ask: How is a language arts connected to music and visual art?

Visual art via the craft of graphic design exists in the world everywhere we go. Music, too, is often in the background of our daily world, whether in a store or on TV.  Because both influence our daily lives, we should have a more active understanding of these two significant languages.

That’s right music and art are language!

Because music and visual art are significant branches of literacy., learning about music and art will not only help us understand, but also help us help us appreciate the arts we see on a daily basis. Learning the history of both disciplines can help us understand what we see and hear.

Our music classes concentrating on the history of music—especially in the classical and jazz era—to help students develop listening skills, an appreciation for appreciation. The historical background offers insight that, no matter the era, music brings community together. It can be daunting for a student to listen to music for half an hour that has no words. But the goal according to teacher extraordinaire, Taylor, is “to have my students enjoy music and know what they are listening too.” Our classes have a required writing element but this is always tailored developmentally. Writing about music ties the languages together through translation. The class format will not require reading, but it will require listening to music inside and outside of class.

Anyone familiar with Blackbird and Company curriculum and our philosophy, know that we promote the pencil work of handwriting from Kindergarten forward. Master teacher, Taylor, points out out that writing is a core to English, and that the the rules of phonics, for example, are presented to our students starting day one. Art on the other hand is not considered a core subject (though it should be) and most people want a free form class, want fun with crayons! Taylor agrees that free form art is important for play, but insists we need to teach skills of art-making, “We don’t just set a child down with high quality art supplies and watch them create amazing art.”

When students have a creative idea but lack the skills to bring shape to that idea, a state of frustration blankets the student.

There is a mechanics to art—a way to hold the pencil and how much pressure to apply. We are taught small finger movements to handwrite. In art we are taught to use the arm to assist in drawing a line as opposed to fingers. Wrist and arm movements can assist in making bigger lines. Learning the mechanics of art is skill learning.

Ultimately, writing is art making and so, what better pairing for an ELA curriculum than a study of music and visual art?

This year our Pages students have been learning art skills and techniques, settling down into the basic elements of art.

Students have had beautiful ideas inspired by the listening  skills and appreciation of music. They’ve gained the confidence to make beautiful, important work, that is authentically theirs.

Notice the connection between writing music and art?

Think s l o w i n g  down, actively observing, doing less but better, doing it well. Writing and music appreciation and art making—this all takes time.

It’s all important.

It’s individual work.

it’s your student’s IDEA.

The possibilities are endless.

Work from Pages online classes:

Story inspired by Vivaldi’s Winter movement:

Frosty silver snowflakes were drifting down from the skies. I was thrilled because we hardly ever have snow days in California. Everyone was super cold. Our teeth were chattering and our bodies were shivering, but we ran in excitement towards the small hill behind our houses. When we got to the top of the hill, we all fell on our backs in the snow and began to make snow angels. We moved our arms and legs side to side, while opening our mouths to taste the fresh falling snowflakes. After that, we decided to slide down the hill in our newly built sleds. There was a lot of laughter in the air.

Painting inspired by a five-week study of Paul Cézanne and engaging in the slow work of observation:

There are two more sessions of Pages online this school year.

Join the fun!

Make good art!