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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Integrating Music & Art

It began with a single teach the art of Romare Bearden to my fourth graders.  As I researched Romare's life, a major theme began to emerge, his love of jazz music and how it influenced his art.  I realized I could not teach about his art without teaching about the music and the exciting time in our history known as the Harlem Renaissance.  But, anyone that knows really me knows that I am not musical.  I love music, and I love to sing, and I appreciate almost all genres of music.  But, I am NOT musical.  So, I decided to ask the music teacher if she could teach our students about Jazz, to set the stage for the art.  She agreed, enthusiastically, and our integrated lessons began to form.  Then I thought, there are SO many wonderful books on the subject of jazz musicians and African American artists form that period in history, that maybe the librarian wouldn't mind reading the students books on the subject.  She decided to read books to the lower grades, and let the upper grades do research and write about a favorite artist or musician.  The computer teachers had the upper grades do Power Points on jazz, choosing their favorite jazz instrument, musician and artist, writing about the Harlem Renaissance,  and setting it all to music.
The lessons in art were as follows:
Kindergarten; Jazz Cat Collages
1st grade: Mardis Gras masks and necklaces
2nd grade: Jazz Instrument relief prints
3rd grade: Jazz Instrument Paper collage
4th grade: Romare Bearden Inspired mixed media collage
5th grade: Paper Mache Jazz instruments
There is so much I could say on the subject, and looking back on my blog sometimes I feel as if I write too much about a subject.  So I will end with a few student comments about the integrated curriculum, and ask you to message me if you would like additional information about any of the lessons or how we went about doing this in our school.
"I learned more about the saxophone by making one that I would have by reading words".
"Now when I spend the weekend with my grandma and we listen to jazz on the radio, I can tell her what kind of jazz it is and I know some of the artists.  That makes her smile really big".
"I learned about jazz and art better because I had it in all my classes".
When we asked the kids if they got tired about hearing about the same subject in all their classes, they all said "No way!  It was fun!  We wish we didn't have to stop!"


  1. These are great! I taught my 5th graders about Bearden last fall when they made jazz collages.

  2. Thanks Katie!
    FYI~ great resources for teaching about Romare Bearden- his foundation website:
    and this NGA pdf about his life and art:
    (click on download pdf)

  3. Fantastic! I especially love the Cool Cat! I will be 'borrowing' this one :) I would love for you to visit me at Dream Painters

  4. I went over this website and I believe you have a lot of wonderful information, saved to my bookmarks Jason Aldean Tickets