This lesson originated in Arts and Activities magazine, but the month and the year is lost to me. I clipped it and saved it for the perfect 3-week window for my fifth graders. This lesson would appeal to any upper elementary grade but it does require some patience, so the older the kids, the more sophisticated the project.
12″ x 18″ white drawing paper
Black oil pastels for each student
Oil pastels in a variety of colors to share
photocopies of sheet music (I asked the music specialist for some, but you could also download sheet music from the Internet)
Large brushes for Mod Podge
Step One: Drawing the instrument
I found some photographs of musical instruments on the Internet but also “swiped” my son’s black warlock electric guitar and his acoustics guitar for visual aids.
We took a few minutes to talk about musical instruments and how identifiable each one is. Most instruments are recognized by their shape: trombone, drums, guitar, so I encouraged the students to chose an instrument with a great shape.
Since I had guitars on display, guess which instrument they chose? Yup. Guitars. So, let this be a lesson to you: if you want variety either bring in lots of samples or provide a handout that shows different instruments.
Using a black oil pastel, draw one instrument in a variety of sizes and place in different parts of the white paper. Talk about composition and the benefits of drawing a one large scale instrument then picking a part of the same instrument (i.e. neck of the guitar) and drawing that off to the side. I’m not explaining this very well, but the point is to take one instrument, break it down into sections and vary the size.
Step Two: Coloring
Once the drawings are done, begin coloring the instruments using oil pastel. Once the students begin coloring, a few will complain that the black oil pastel lines are messing up their colors. To solve this problem, trace over the black oil pastel with the color they wish to use. This locks in the black and prevents it from smearing. It’s not a perfect solution, but in the end, all lines will be traced in black anyways.
Use non-traditional colors. The brighter and more vibrant the better.
Step Three: Adding the Sheet Music
Once the background is colored in (takes along time to color this big sheet in well), tear a piece of sheet music into sections. Place the sections on the background, taking care not to cover the instruments.
Use Mod Podge to apply the sheet music. If you have a lot of mod podge, keep spreading it over the entire picture. It really gives the collage a cool sheen and hardens nicely. If you don’t have mod podge, just apply the sheet music with a glue stick.
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