Reply To: Elements of Music vs Elements and Principles of Art


Get on Google images; find an art work that has lotsa color, etc. After viewing the art work, tell students to write down what they saw. Take their answers and put ’em on a whiteboard, chalkboard, transparency- anything that lets ’em SEE their responses. Write everyone’s responses- see groupings of ideas. Try non-representational art works-engage their imagination.

Eventually they SHOULD come up with elements, like color, form, shape, repetition of shapes, etc. I do that with my college-level music appreciation classes at the beginning of the semester, in the opening chapters of the text, which deal with elements of music. Bennet Riemer opened my eyes several years ago, when he showed an art work and asked “How is color used in this art work?” and How about shapes- are there repeated shapes? Is there a rhythm shown in the art work?”

Just thught of this: Picasso’s “Nude Descending a Staircase” would be great for rhythm, repetition of shapes, etc.! You will surely think of others.

Following that classroom learning experience, move on to music and let the students make the connections between plastic art and musical art. Trust ’em! They will..

Best Wishes,

Carl Smith