Drawing to Music

colourful drawing

Have an Art Jam

Jamming is making something creative together in the moment. Here’s another way of having a creative jamming session together.  Making art to music. 

Setting Up 

Place one large piece of paper on a table (wallpaper lining paper is a great cheap option for this – choose a thicker grade).  Allow plenty of space for each participant to have freedom of movement but not too far away from each other, as they need to interact with each other. Have the music device all ready and the volume set at an appropriate level. 

Choosing Media 

Whatever media you choose, make sure there’s plenty available – present the land of plenty so as to not restrict usage – and have it in easy reach of each individual. Soft pastels are great to play with as you can make so many different strong, and soft, marks.  Marks are important here because this activity is about responding to the music with how you’re feeling through the media. This is not about creating an image of a cat, for example. However if someone draws a cat they shouldn’t be discouraged, rather diverted to what other people are doing on the paper. It takes courage to try something different and some people will start engaging at different times and in different ways. Do include some charcoal too as some people are attracted to drawing without lots of colour. 

It’s Messy 

Charcoal and pastels will wash out of clothes but playing with them is messy. So, it’s best to encourage people to not wear their best clothes so that they can relax and enjoy the messy and immensely freeing activity of making a piece of art. Having a supply of tissue paper is handy for rubbing the charcoal and pastel, on the paper, to give another level of engaging. Some people prefer to rub their fingers on the paper to blur their marks – this seems to feed into the fun and hands are easily cleaned afterwards. People really respond to each other’s contributions on the paper – one mark can cause another with some beautiful results. Proper jamming together! 

Demonstrate 

When everyone is settled around the table it’s time to explain what you’re all going to be doing in the session and to give a small demonstration. Explain that everyone is going to make one large piece of art together. Using a separate piece of paper show how many different ways there are of making marks with the chosen media. Make soft and hard marks, big sweeping strokes and small dots. Just go for it and see how many different types of marks you can make. With a piece of charcoal or a pastel on it’s side you can make really impressive thick and textured strokes. People are sometimes pleasantly surprised as they have only used the tip of a pen or paint brush. 

The Music 

Three pieces of instrumental music lasting at least five minutes each is usually enough for a session but it is handy to have another piece at the ready in case people want to continue. Different tempos, mood and movement in the music evokes different emotions and people will respond differently with their mark making because of the music. It is a good idea to have four different types of music ready. Not necessarily different styles as we find classical music works really well and there is plenty to choose from. For example, use a medium jaunty (major) one to start, a slow sad (minor) one second, a fast and busy one third (major or minor). The fourth could be a slow warming down piece of music or a celebratory up tempo piece (preferably major). After each track, stop the music and take time to reflect between each piece of music. Draw people’s attention to the great piece of art they have just made. Go round the table and praise and encourage individuals and the whole group. Then put a new sheet of paper down on the table. Make it clear that the next piece of music and artwork is about to commence. 

This is a great shared activity that people can enjoy and feel proud of.  It can also be very satisfying for everyone to see the three or four finished pieces laid together at the end or in images presented to them on a tablet. Why not have an art to music jamming session. Do let us know how it went. Happy Jamming!   

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