Torch - Spring 2017

Education in Action

An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Arts When Music and Art Collide By Susan Pink

I n the Junior School, learning is often an interdisciplinary effort, which means that student understanding of topics is deepened through the deliberate integration of different discipline areas. An example of interdisciplinary learning is the collaboration of Junior School Art teacher Rosa Mastri and Junior/Middle School Music teacher Rachel Read, who have been working together on various projects that tie together visual art and music in the classroom. One project in particular, which Mastri and Read have named When Art and Music Collide , is aimed at supporting students’ understanding of the elements of the arts and demonstrates how integrated learning can blur the disciplinary boundaries to support deeper learning of theoretical concepts. The aim of When Art and Music Collide is to create art inspired by music. Each student is tasked with visually representing their interpretation of texture, timbre, expressive controls and form in a piece of music of their choice. “We hope that our students will be inspired and energized when discussing fundamental concepts and analyzing music,” Read says. “The aims of this project are to

allow the girls to become comfortable with using correct musical terminology, while gaining an understanding of the elements of music and the elements and principles of design.” “The question that we hoped the students would process was: ‘When creating works of art, in what ways do the arts share common elements in the composition of the pieces (a song, an artwork, a dance, a written prose, a theatrical performance, etc.) to communicate ideas in creative ways?’” explains Mastri. “We set them on their journey to explore this question between the intersection of music and visual art.” This teaching duo has delivered When Art and Music Collide to students in various classes (Grades 4 to 6) during the past three years. “Our enthusiasm for this project is fuelled by the increased confidence and incredible pride we witness in our students while they work and as they express their knowledge once completed,” Mastri explains. “We appreciate the value of collaboration and exchange, using observation, continuous dialogue and reflective practices to inspire our students.”

When Art and Music Collide student projects.


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