This was the final week of our first eight-week session! We cannot believe how quickly the time has flown by! However, we have noticed a lot of growth in our little artists and musicians in many key areas of development. We feel so blessed to be able to share some of these moments with the families of The Atelier – first words, first steps, new friendships, and brand new ideas popping up every day; it is just so exciting! Another plus is the sense of community we feel among the parents, grandparents, nannies, and caregivers, who may be enjoying the class at least as much as the children ;)
This week, we explored the connections between art and music. Sometimes, artists are inspired by music, and sometimes musicians are inspired by art. We focused on one artist in particular, Wassily Kandinsky, because he was famous for making artwork to music – his art was a visual representation of the music. As he listened to the music, he would make black lines that were reminiscent of the sounds – to fast music, he would draw fast squiggles; to slow music, he would draw slow, meandering lines. Then he would paint the art, choosing colors that fit the mood of the piece. The children were invited to make their own artwork in the style of Kandinsky, by drawing black lines with beeswax crayons to the sounds of music, such as Chopin’s piano nocturnes, or to faster jazz pieces by the likes of Count Basie and Duke Ellington. Continuing to draw inspiration from the music children used watercolor paint pucks to add areas of color to the line drawings. Children were encouraged to think about how certain colors make them feel…, “blue makes me feel sad!” and “yellow makes me feel happy!”
Our youngest artists painted on canvases while listening to the same songs listed in the above paragraph. W enjoyed watching the paint drip onto his canvas and pool into swirling puddles of color! J enjoyed mixing his colors right on the canvas smooshing it with his hands and experiencing the tactile properties of the paint.
Last week, our artists explored clay, and those students who made creations were invited to add paint. Children enjoyed bringing their rocket ships, nests, birds, eggs, fruit, bowls, forests, or satellites to life with touches of color!
In Let’s Create Music Together, at the beginning of class we invited the children to play freely on a grouping of Orff instruments – xylophones, metallophones, and glockenspiels. As this was the last class of the 8-week session, many of the older students (3-5 year olds) are well accustomed to this routine, and it shows in the eagerness and agility in which they play the instruments! I was very impressed with the improvements made by all students! Some kept time with a simple “bordun” pattern (a steady rhythm of quarter notes) using the large “pumpkin” mallet.
Our “shaker art” activity was a hit! We provided the beans, paint, paper, and paint cans, and the students provided the energy! First, they were invited to scoop some beans into a glass bowl, and pick a paint color: red, yellow, or blue. We squirted some paint onto the beans, and the kids mixed them up and then scooped them into the paint can lined with paper. After sealing the lid, and putting on some music, we all got up and danced! Shake, shake, shake, UP HIGH, down low, to the side… Then, when we opened the cans we could see where the painted beans had been! Adding a second primary color to the mix had an interesting result “It’s turning green! It’s turning purple!” the students observed while mixing in their second, and sometimes third colors. Because each child chose the amounts of beans and paint colors, this led to some very interesting results. Each work of art was so different! Some even decided to frame their art!
Another provocation was designed to be part sensory exploration of light, and partly an investigation of the artwork of Kandinsky. We projected still images of Kandinsky’s art onto a white wall, and invited children to make shadows with their hands, bodies, and various tools such as whisks, magnifying glasses, colored see-thru boxes, silk scarves, and more! We also watched “The Kandinsky Effect” a short video by Manu Meyre Peinture depicting an animated version of Kandinsky’s Composition VIII (1923). Many of the older children delighted in becoming part of the artwork!... dancing in the shadows, or seeing the artwork projected on their arms, shirts, and friends! Some of our younger students were not as impressed with the shadow play, but more interested in the tactile stimulation of playing with colourful pom poms up close in our sensory bin. This blending of visual, auditory, and tactile learning approaches helps to solidify the concepts presented.
At the end of music class we all gathered around the xylophones for one final jam session! Our song “Little Seed” was a hit with the kids last week, so we played it again, but this time instead of a teacher-guided Dalcroze Eurhythmics activity as we did last week, this time I played guitar and the kids played Orff instruments. It is amazing to watch the growth of our little musicians after eight short weeks of class. Now that they are comfortable with the space, and accustomed to the instruments, their musical journey is really just beginning, and sounding great already! And after eight weeks of observing, some worked up the courage to strum the guitar at the end of class! What a great session!
Enjoy the slideshow below for a closer look into our week!