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Music and Creative Arts Classrooms: Music is a Vital Component of Expressive Arts Learning Environments

Musical expression permeates the creative arts as an art form in its own right. Schools offer music as a subject, band as an elective and students often study music or an instrument privately. Many students like to sing. They learn singing and perform on stage frequently as a way of rounding their education. Not many can base their future career on singing, but to be able to sing when needed is always a bonus and a pleasure.

Musical expression permeates the fabric of other creative arts classrooms.

  • Visual Arts. Many artists have painted to music and visually captured musical form. Many art teachers choose music and ask the students to paint or draw what comes into their mind as they listen. One way to connect with students and reach into their culture is to rotate which student will bring music to class. The music will be the stimulus of expression for five minutes at the start of each session. It can be good to engage in quick conversation about why they have chosen this particular form. Teachers will find that discussion about form, quality of line and rhythm as well as colour benefit greatly from these exercises.
  • Theatre/Drama. Music will be an important aspect of the theatre classroom even when the play is not a musical. During plays, music will often be alluded to or heard playing in the background of the enactment. Music will set up the era and the tone of the theatrical production. Teachers may often wish to meditate with students to gentle music before a rehearsal or play. This will help them come to an understanding of how to calm their nerves and be at peace in stressful situations.
  • Dabbling in Dance. Dance and music often intertwine although it is possible to dance without music playing. It can be good to have students imagine the sound of music and dance to it. Students can attempt to guess what music is in the mind of the dancer. They may like to see if they can dance along even though they hear nothing. These kinds of exercises are wonderful for stimulating creativity and the imagination.
  • Encouraging Creative Writing. When you teach students to write, it may be useful to ask the students to research the kind of music that would be playing during a particular story or dramatic episode. Gentle music playing can also release creative ideas and help the student write.
  • Enlivening Mime. Teaching the students to mime against a backdrop of intonation can be a wonderful experience. Simple drum beats, birds singing fingers tapping use truly unusual tones to invigorate the mime classroom and you will be amazed at how well the students respond.
  • Lifting Liturgical Expression. Liturgical expression usually incorporates music as the catalyst for spiritual expression. New music for this purpose is released frequently. It pays the astute teacher to be aware of new releases and to keep up to date with new ways to present old material.

These are only a few of the ways that music is relevant to the Creative Arts classroom. It is wise for teachers to be tuned into current musical trends as much as possible and to remain ever-alert for possible ways to include music as an enhancement to creative activity.