Graphic scores can be a great way to introduce young learners to the ways visual art and music are connected. Making sounds visible in this way helped students from Seven Mills Primary School to feel as though they knew more about the order in which they were expected to play. It also opened their eyes to a whole world of different sounds, such as ‘funny sounds, high sounds [and] low sounds’.
Starting with making abstract art inspired by a piece of classical music, the class went on to draw representations of certain aspects of the piece, such as ‘casting a spell’, ‘footsteps’, ‘witches feet’ and ‘clap’. Musical terms such as ‘tempo’, ‘pitch’, ‘dynamics’, ‘loud’ and ‘quiet’ were added as annotations to these drawings. After discussing these terms, the main motifs of the music were picked out and interpreted using body percussion and singing.
These individual elements were then combined to create a group graphic score. Strips and scraps of coloured paper were used as a roadmap through the score, adding another layer to the final performance. Students then chose the instruments they thought best fitted their graphic interpretation. How to organise the different elements of the score was also decided upon by students, who then started practicing with their chosen instruments. Dynamics and texture were introduced as conversation points in order to get students thinking about the transition from loud to quiet and fast to slow while preparing for a final recorded performance.
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