Music-Inspired Art Activity

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Updated on Jun 27, 2013

Combine art and music appreciation by creating music-inspired art! In this activity, your child will create abstract art with a rhythmic flair that swirls, bounces, and moves around the paper. Play your child’s favorite songs or introduce him to new ones as he paints the day away!

This activity will encourage your child to explore and experiment with the art process of painting, learn about line and shape, and develop an understanding of rhythm and tempo. Try varying the types and genres of music selected. This will help your child explore his own emotions as well as listen to the music of other cultures.

What You Need:

  • Music from a variety of genres
  • Paper
  • Tempera paints
  • Paint brushes in different sizes
  • Smock
  • Washable surface

What You Do:

  1. Play the music for your child. Ask him to describe how the music makes him feel. Happy? Sad? Energetic? Next, ask him what colors he thinks of when he hears the music. A happy fast song may correspond to bright colors such as yellow, while a slower song may be linked to blues and grays.
  2. Give your child a large, blank piece of paper and a variety of paint colors. Play the music again and encourage him to begin painting to the sounds. If he is having trouble getting started, try a demonstration painting yourself. Move the brush to the music making long sweeps, dots, or splatters.
  3. Set the painting aside to dry.
  4. Give your child another piece of paper, and introduce another song. This time, change the type of music played. If the first song was fast paced and upbeat, try a slower one this time around.
  5. Repeat the process as many times as desired.

For a different effect, try layering different musical paintings onto one piece of paper. Afterwards, ask your child to find what parts of his painting go with what song.

Erica Loop has a MS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education. She has many years of teaching experience working in early childhood education, and as an arts educator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.

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