Activity Plans 4-5: Musical Message
Fours and fives can interpret songs too!
- Grades: PreK–K
Ready-To-Use Teaching Ideas: MUSIC & MOVEMENT
- record, cassette, or CD player
- variety of songs with different moods
- assortment of art materials, such as crayons, markers, paints, collage and recycled materials, construction paper, clay, brushes, glue, and scissors
Objective: Children will use their creativity and imagination as they artistically express their interpretations of a song.
Warm-Up: Play a few songs with very different moods, such as an upbeat march song and a jazzy blues song. Engage children in a discussion about the different moods of the songs. Use simple words such as happy, slow, fast, and sad. Talk with children about what they think the composers were thinking about when they wrote the songs. Choose a few favorites to sing as a group.
1 Gather children in your art area, and point out the many art materials. Turn on some music and invite children to listen carefully for a few minutes. Encourage them to listen to what the music sounds like and how they feel when they hear the song.
2 Engage children in a discussion about the mood of the music, and have them share ideas with the rest of the class. Then ask children to think about what art materials might convey that mood. Ask several questions to spark children's ideas, but avoid giving suggestions or examples that might direct their choices. For example:
- Does the music make you think of any particular color?
- Does it remind you of a place you'd like to paint or draw?
3 Play the music again and let children create, draw, or paint freely. Repeat this activity several times, using very different musical selections.
4 Invite children to join you in a circle. Have children each share their interpretation of a song. Display the creations grouped according to the music they represent. Play the music again while you view the display together.
- Emphasize that there is no right answer, and be sure to accept all interpretations.
- Some children may not be comfortable with the open-ended nature of this activity. In this case, offer some examples for them to use as guidelines.
Spin-Off: Introduce music that tells a story, such as "The Ugly Duckling." Then play instrumental music and invite children to create a story that might go along with the music. Encourage children to communicate the story through dramatic play, language, and art.
This activity originally appeared in the October, 1998 issue of Early Childhood Today.