by Lauren Marcum
At this month’s Evenings for Educators, I will be presenting a lesson merging both art and music that my partner teacher and I refer to as “Picasso Guitars.” This lesson is guaranteed to make your 2nd graders feel like rockstars!
We start by looking at Picasso’s The Old Guitarist, and answering discussion questions such as: What emotions are represented? What type of music do you think he is playing? Why the color blue? How would this image be different if Picasso were to use shades of yellow? (I was very excited to hear students that remembered looking at this image with their previous art teacher from 1st grade!) Before making our guitars, we looked at two images from the Cincinnati Art Museum’s collection. Students were to talk with their table groups to compare and contrast the two and discuss: What type of sound will these make? Where might these guitars be from? What do you think they’re made of?
Students then used light blue construction paper to create the body of their guitars. I demonstrated how the bodies can be symmetrical or organic in shape. We attached pre-cut 3in. blue strips for the neck, added frets, and cut a circle out of sheet music to create the sound hole. We discussed collage, using scraps, and layering shapes using construction paper…then the kids were set free! This was my favorite part of the project because you could really see the imagination and care that students had when designing the rest of their guitars. Once students were finished with their abstract collage work, we used silver foil tape to add strings as a final touch. One student even requested straws so that she could wind up her strings and “tune” her guitar! (Hello STEAM!)
While this project encouraged students to be creative with collage and construction paper, I liked that it also secretly tested their cutting, gluing, and construction skills. These guitars were so solidly built, that no scrap was left behind during our end of class jam sessions! (No seriously, they asked me to play rock music so they could play their guitars and act like a band HAHA) Enjoy!