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Let music be their muse

How you can help at home: Your first-grader listens to music and then draws a picture that illustrates how the music makes her feel.

By Paul Bakeman, consulting educator

With this activity, first-graders can use their natural interest of art and drawing to show how different music makes them feel.

What You'll Need:

  • Drawing paper or construction paper
  • Markers, crayons or colored pencils
  • A mixture of recorded music without lyrics (can be classical, jazz, new age, etc.)

Here's How To Do It

Lay out the paper and markers, crayons or colored pencils, and play music that evokes a particular emotion. Soundtracks are great for this, and you can usually find compilation CDs of music from various soundtracks. While your child listens, have him draw a picture that illustrates how the music makes him feel. You'll be surprised at how perceptive he can be!

Avoid music with lyrics, as they tend to oversimplify the emotional tone of a song. Just let the music guide them in their drawings. Try to find a good assortment of music that sparks different emotions so that your child can draw several pictures and illustrate the various moods she hears. After she finishes her artwork, talk about what the composer of the music had in mind, and see if your child picks up on the emotions that were intended.

Paul Bakeman is a music teacher in Virginia and Teacher of the Year award-winner.

Paul Bakeman is a music teacher in Virginia and a Teacher of the Year award winner.

Comments from readers

"Its very important for the development of k kids, here in Mexico in my daughter school in their music class all the group 15 kids stay quiet and in silence when th muisc teacher explain them all the story behind a song it includes the director, musicians and every part of piece. "
"I really believe music is a true healer, and a very simple and almost free exercise such as the 'Feel the Music' idea is a great plan. Fast to set up and you can go back in the kitchen, finish your healthy creation and converse over dinner with your child. As he or she is verbally expressing there picture with words, so you get the best of both forms of communication as this will create trust to open new info. in your child's life, that you had no idea about!"