Perhaps more than any other art form, music can be misguidedly perceived as best left to the experts. Three cameos from Becoming with Art show how music can resonate through the curriculum in rich, multimodal, relational and accessible ways.
In the first cameo, Year 8 student Red Tilly understands that musical notation can both constrain and liberate. His score appears empty, but his performance notes hold ample possibilities:
“Get your teacher to hold up this piece of paper whilst you go “cray cray” in the form of saxophone playing and interpretive dance!”(p.17)
Imagine the potential of this kind of composing in early learning, for both musical expression and for relationship-building!
In our next cameo, preschooler Rupert comes to teacher Luke with a fully-formed idea for a song. Luke invites Rupert to make musical decisions. Which lyrics will we include? How should the music sound?
“During the playing of the minor music … I observed an immediate response from Rupert. He smiled and tensed his shoulders, bringing his hands to his mouth.
Rupert: ‘Oh, that was a bit scary!’” (p.46)
Rupert and Luke share their song, which opens up new horizons for Rupert’s classmates.
“Luke: ‘Rupert wrote that song with me about something that he likes, monsters . . . ‘
Abby: ‘Well I can write a song too.’” (p.47)
In the last cameo, music is a tonal colour and energy-shifter. Educator Heidi has her paints out in the sun and music playing, attracting the interest of 2 year olds artists Evie and Wylie. They begin with white paint and a blues soundtrack. When a bright red paint is added to the palette, Heidi decides the music needs to change.
“[I] put on the song ‘Funky Tonight’ by John Butler Trio, another upbeat song … Wylie broke out into dance, tapping his feet and running in a circle and Evie immediately picked up the brush and tapped the red paint onto the canvas.” (p. 114)
Throughout the morning the playlist and the colour palette shift together. Heidi is carefully attuned to the children’s art-making, and to their embodied and artistic responses to the soundtrack. As Heidi says:
“We are a small group of humans enjoying the artistic process together in the moment.” (p.113)
Cameo 1 – “Cray Cray” – Red Tilly
Cameo 2 – “Children Composing Music with Adults” – Rupert with Luke Azzopardi
Cameo 3 – “Sharing the Magic” – Heidi Upward
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