Rhythm & Blues

By McClure, Connie | School Arts, October 1995 | Go to article overview

Rhythm & Blues


McClure, Connie, School Arts


There's a proverb that statcs, "Lonely people build walls instead of bridges." Being a visual arts teacher can be a lonely vocation, and an effort must be made to build bridges across disciplines wherever understanding and cooperation can be fostered. With this in mind, I prepared an approach to teaching that encouraged my elementary students to see relationships between art and the world outside the artroom.

Since I live and teach in a small rural Indiana county that is well known for its covered bridges, the theme of the integrated approach is called "Building Bridges with Art." The goal of this ongoing interdisciplinary approach is to broaden students' concepts and knowledge about directions art may take to develop cooperation and understanding. Our journey begins in the classroom, extends into the corridors outside other classrooms and continues into the community to build bridges of understanding.

Integrating Art with Music

The goal of our initial pioneering unit is to integrate art with music so students learn that art and music have many commonalities. The concept of repeated rhythms is common in both art and music, and teachers in both subjects can plan together to help students learn and apply this concept.

In music, a recurring melodic fragment is called an ostinato. In the music room, students work in teams to compose their own ostinatos and then perform their original music for other groups.

In art, a recurring visual element is called a pattern. in the art room, students depict repeated patterns in visual creations and then display them for others to see.

Creating Rhythmic Patterns

Our objective for our first project was to depict repeated rhythms in a visual creation and perform these repeated rhythms with sound. …

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