Music through Art

Docent Guide new guide 9.5.13 

Route #1
25 min for Sounding, Pencils, Gamelon and Harpsichord
25  min for Drawing and Peter Chamberlain
10 Minutes all together in the lower level

Route #2
25  min for Drawing and Peter Chamberlain
25 min for Sounding, Pencils, Gamelon and Harpsichord
10 Minutes all together in the lower level

Tour Training - Betsy Robb - Now Hear This  Part 1, Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6
Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10, Part 11Part 12

Steve Miller Ideas

Docent Feedback

I found it was a good idea to let students know up front that they will be going to ALL the galleries to help curb distractions.  They hear the music from the other galleries and want to peek around and downstairs.  That helped to focus their attention. Sue F
Everything worked well in each of the galleries.They loved the orchestra in the Chamberlain room and wanted to keep playing!  It is a fun tour. Sue F

One must have energy and it is advisable one is not hungover.  It is an energetic and noisy tour but so much fun.  Anonymous docent 

Sounding Gallery 
All sit around the Sound Sculpture and talk about Elements - as suggested.  Good for them to see and then allowing them to play it - one at a time - they love it.  

Have students look at Sounding Sculpture and ask them what shapes and forms they see.  Focus their attention on the two different rods that make up the sculpture. One is taller, topped with thicker bronze rods, while the other is shorter and more closely spaced.

Have the children close their eyes and have then “play” the longer rods, then the shorter rods. Ask the students which set of rods made which noise.  Ask them why.

You can talk about how Bertoia was interested in how his pieces sounded just as much (or even more than) how his pieces looked. He tuned his sculptures by adjusting the height, shape and, number of rods to make specific sounds.

Conclude that different shapes and forms can make and represent different sounds, and segue into the video gallery by asking the students to think about all of the different sounds they hear, and how they might represent a shape or form.  You can also introduce the idea of organizing different sounds to make music. Aaron P

Pencil and Shapes Video Gallery 
No brainer - fun rotation.  Fun facts like how many pictures did it take to do this = 5000 and how long?  300 hours = 12.5 days.  Then I segue into the making of the harpsichord.  Is it art? Is an instrument a piece of art?  The amount of time someone puts into creating  = does a piece of that person become that art?  Again emphasizing the length of time it takes to create something great.

Harpsichord Gallery

I put the laminated harpsichord music on the harpsichord - out to show. Carol R

Go through early on and adjust the sounds accordingly.  Know where the sound adjustments are.  We turned the sound down in the Noise Machine and turned it up when all the kids were situated.  The knob is in the half wall at the far left side of the entrance to the Noise Machine.  Makes for easier presentation of the harpsichord without the "NM" playing.  Then it is also a cool surprise when it is turned on. Carol R

Once they have sat down in the Noise Machine - I demo - walking across the screen upscale and downscale and then let them all stand up and do whatever for about 20 seconds and ask how that sounded?  Could it be made to sound better?  One at time those who wish could make their own sounds.  Then we all did it in unison.  Following the conductor (me) we did the wave (thank you Dineen) and coordinated movements.   Carol R

Talk to the students about the harpsichord and play some notes and scales.  Play fast, and slow. Play low notes and high notes. Aaron P

Ask the students if they can mimc the sounds coming from the harpsichord. Aaron P

Gamalon Gallery - comparing the puppets in the movie and on display and talk about the feelings which led into Gallery five and abstracts and how those are 'feeling' art inspired by music.  Every time I asked them if it was art, they all said yes and told me how the shapes and color made you feel,  (such open-mindedness is awesome) Carol R

Print Gallery 
OBSERVE! Before you begin drawing....pleas let them look at the prints. Tell them the artists all listened to music to create these works. Ask them what the music might have sounded like. THEN they can try it out. Betsy

All the color pencils are now out of their containers as it was getting too cumbersome to hand out.  Best to just hand 3 different colors randomly to the students with the paper.  If they have time to choose that takes too long. Carol R

Have the students listen to the music with their eyes closed each time a new piece begins. After they "see" the art, they can begin drawing. If they draw right away, there is too much scribbling. We can shorten the music clips when Steve Miller returns from Alaska. Betsy

Getting them to relax and draw to the music was sometimes difficult.  Kandinsky has said that one needs to empty your mind of all thoughts and just work with your feelings.  Aaron suggested we first draw in the air to the music and then commit to paper.  Amazing how some could really let go and enjoy it and some had to work with something concrete in their drawing.  Stress it is ok to draw "outside the lines".  But by the time Flight of the Bumblebee and Sesame Street came on they are all having fun. Carol R

For the tour, in the print gallery, we need to be sure the kids are getting the point of this gallery.

The artists on view each LISTENED to music and created the prints in response to the music they heard. Each print is a response to a specific work of music.

Pick a work of art. Have them look at it carefully. Have them describe what they see.

Talk about the colors and the emotional impact colors have. (Saturated colors vs soft colors) (Red vs blue) Colors have meaning!
Why did the artist use these colors? How would it have looked different with other colors? Would it have the same feeling?

Talk about the shapes and lines they see.
Why did the artist use these shapes/lines? How would it have looked different with other shapes/lines or if they were larger or smaller? Would it have the same impact? What emotional impact do lines have? (horizontal is calming like the horizon, zig zag lines feel hectic, etc)

Talk about texture. Texture adds interest to the shapes and colors. Texture can be in response to sounds too! Smooth vs rough. Plain vs. patterns.

Next tell them they will listen to some music and then respond by making art. Each of the 6 songs are 1 minute. Ask them to listen for the first 30 seconds and visualize the sounds as colors, shapes, textures and lines. They can practice by drawing in the air. Then pick up the pencil and draw. Ask them to be sure and include lines, shapes, colors and textures. You will need to say - draw!

You COULD  ask them to divide the paper into 6 sections, so that each section is separate and should look very different from the other sections.

Finally, have them share their works by lining them up on the floor and sharing what looks like which song.

Have fun, but be sure they get the point. Artists create art in response to music. Music can be the inspiration for art!

Chamberlain  Gallery

Best to let each group of instruments play individually before the entire group tries to play. Assign the colors or shapes to each group - the take too long to pick. Betsy

We have made art to music - let's see if we can make music from a piece of art.  Hilarious and fun - but the most important person? - the conductor.  If time allows I would have a volunteer conduct.  Note:  best to have them in groups of 2 or 3 and pick like instruments.  If they did it one at a time - chaos. Carol R

All musical instruments were placed outside the bags along the wall - in an orderly manner.  Again time saving with the appropriate pieces all together.  (However - visitors during this time were playing them too) :-)  Carol R

OBSERVE! Talk about the different shapes. Do they get large or small as you look across the print?  Does the frequency increase or decrease? AFocus on a single shape and ask the students to “play” it according to its size and shape. Point out other shapes and have them play it. Once they can are able to play different sounds according to different shapes, ask them to play the print.  First focus on the yellow shapes as they are the easiest to discern. If the students get it, move on to more complex shapes and different arrangements. Aaron P

Lower Gallery 

Before going downstairs to 7 - I did let them know what they were seeing.  I explain that we will see 3 videos and we have the 'actors' of those videos on display.  2 dots - Math to Music, an Under sea video, and a video that may seem a little scary (need a better word - maybe just say weird).  But when one sees someone looking different - it is not the outside appearance that is important but what they are like on the inside.  (I view this film Weird Fishes as characters - all looking a little weird - that are helping each other reach their goal.)  Some teachers who had seen it before requested that their kids not see it - but the last tour today - all the kids were booing and cheering with the video.  Aaron suggested that maybe with the other videos the kids move/dance with the music.  I think that is a great idea as I find myself dancing through this entire exhibition anyway. Carol R 
(Caution if you have a large group - the routing has all the kids there at one time, so only gentle dancing please!) Betsy