Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fun wtih Music: Classical Music and Creative Art Project

Welcome to the Fun with Music series that I am doing in collaboration with play expert, Angelique Felix at

Read the first week's Fun with Music post that introduces the series plus highlights a lot of music ideas for you and your family.

Read the second week's Fun with Music post that was all about Singing and Song Writing with Your Children.

Today's theme is Playing with Classical Music and Art.

This activity will get you and your child to really listen to the music.

Step 1:  Listen to Stars and Stripes Forever by John Phillip Sousa.  John Phillip Sousa is known for his American patriotic music.  Stars and Stripes Forever is known as a parade march.  When you listen do not tell your children anything about the song and do not let them see a picture representing the song.  Just listen!  We listened to this version of Stars and Stripes Forever on YouTube.

Step 2:  Ask your child what pictures come to mind while listening to this song.  Do you think of a story?  Do you see different colors?  Is it a happy song?  Is it dark and gloomy?

When I asked my daughter what she thought of the Stars and Stripes Forever, she said "parade" so I bet she recognized it from somewhere.  But then I asked her what colors it made her think of and she did not say red, white and blue.  She said red and yellow!

Step 3:  Get out the art supplies.  The supplies can be simple paper and crayons or you can get elaborate with watercolors or paints.  Then while you play the song again ask your child to draw the story and emotions of the song. 

daughter did a wonderful picture of a parade. She drew about 11 men who looked like they were a part of a marching band except they didn’t have any instruments. Their hats were red and yellow like she said but she did add blue pants. So it is almost a patriotic picture with red and blue with a splash of yellow on their hats!

Painting with watercolors while listening to Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor

Take two!  We did this project again using a completely different song:  Bach, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.

Bach wrote this piece for the church but we often associate it with something dark and scary.  But don't tell your children that!  While you listen ask them what they think when listening to this piece. 
 Is it happy or sad?

What colors does it make them think of?

Is there a story going on in the minds?

For this song, we got out the watercolors to make our pictures.  This time my girls thought the song made them think of a dark forest.  So they drew trees, a bear and a waterfall.

Composers write music to convey feelings and emotions.  Take the time to really listen to music and you will find the ups and downs in the music and the story the composer is trying to tell you.

Children learn best when they are having fun!  Teach them to listen carefully to music by having them draw or paint a picture while listening to a piece of classical music.

Visit the other Fun with Music articles!


  1. It is such a good idea to have children explore art and music together, making connections is so important! They will start telling you colors and images they feel from music when you aren't expecting it because they will start thinking along with music. They won't be passive listeners and will be more engaged learners, although your children dance and sing along now. The best part is they are being exposed to classical music! This is a nice way for children to start remembering important music. You are helping others to know how to expose their children to classical music. Carolyn

    1. Thank you Carolyn. I like doing the art with the music because it makes the children stop and really listen to the music in order to figure out the story. I like the way you said it -they are making connections.

      We do listen to a lot of classical around here. My little one was humming Habanera from "Carmen" by Bizet last night as she went to bed!
      Thanks for reading,

  2. This is great! We listen to a lot of classical music, but what a fun way to explore it, with art. We will definitely be giving this a try. Thanks for a great idea!

    1. Karen,
      Drawing a picture about the music is a great way for the children to explain what they are hearing. I hope you have fun trying it!
      Thanks for reading!

  3. Wow, what a cool activity. I love that you just play the music and let them express what they hear without any background knowledge. Your daughter's parade drawing is awesome. It reminds me of Donald Crews book, "Parade".

    1. Jackie,
      Thanks for reading. I'm glad you like this idea. I haven't read the book, Parade. I'll have to check it out.

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