Dots, Dashes & Diminuendos
This post was written by our Music Education Hub Partner, Coda Music
This project represented one term’s work at Winchelsea School, with two classes working alongside Sam Mason of Coda. Sam Mason is a composer and workshop leader & Winchelsea school is a special school catering for children with special educational needs and disabilities.
This project is a First Access project delivered as part of Coda’s work with the Bournemouth and Poole Music Hub, Soundstorm investigating the relationship between visual art, sound and music.
The project “Dots, Dashes and Diminuendos” was based around Music and Art and how they combine, collaborate and fuse together.
The project used abstract symbols and shapes to build an understanding of notation in music and explored pitch, rhythm and timbre to create new music. It also looked at improvisation using visual cues.
The students studied the artist Mondrian and investigated line, colour and pointillist painting techniques. They chose some specific paintings and created pieces of music to represent these.
“The children really enjoyed the project and I feel it has developed their confidence and their ability to think more carefully about music and sound and how it can be perceived.” Alison Newland, Head of Music, Winchelsea
The students began by exploring how sound might look, by drawing some of the sounds made by instruments. For example, loud noises were large shapes whilst quiet sounds were small.
They also explored how colors made them feel and what they might sound like. For example, red sounded dangerous and scary, whilst blues and greens were calming and relaxing.
Using abstract pictures, Sam and the children composed pieces of music, which represented the art. One piece of music was composed around an abstract picture, which is a block of blue colour. Music composed around Pointillist paintings (pictures made up of hundreds of spots or points) created pieces where the music sounded ‘spotty’.
In order to link the subjects of Music and Art together at the final performance, the students played the music they had created, whilst simultaneously creating a live piece of artwork.
Using paint pens, the students used cues like fast, slow, hot and cold to connect with the music. By listening to the music, the students translated this to colour and shape (spots or straight lines) on a Mondrian-style painting.
The children produced a piece of original artwork and held it up at the end of the performance to show the final result of combining and collaborating art and music.
“The most important thing is that they enjoy it. And they have”
Miss Courtney, teacher Winchelsea