Wait, music in art? Please – what better class to cross curricular music into the art classroom.
You see, my 7th graders are learning the elements of art and principles of design – something they tend to catch onto quickly but there are always a couple terms that students struggle with. We begin by studying form and value – the two most challenging for students – you can learn more about this lesson here. Once we grasp the concept of form and value, we concentrate on pattern and rhythm. Some might argue this isn’t hard to understand but my 7th graders would beg to differ.
You can’t just say “something is repeated” when talking about patterns – you have to dig into it and discuss how patterns are used and how they can very – a square repeated is a pattern – but wow, is it a simple pattern. How can we go a step further?
This is where rhythm comes in. A rhythm is, well, pretty much a pattern but there is more creativity to it – more diversity. You have multiple shapes or multiple size, maybe the same shape and different sizes – basically it’s a lot like the term “rhythm” that we hear in music class.
You’ve got a beat – or a pattern, a note repeated, like you see. To make a rhythm, while one could say this is a simple rhythm, you change it up a notch to give it more variety. This allows the listener to really recognize the pattern within your music – they can hear it and remember where it came from, rather than have the same boring note, over and over.
An example of adding rhythm (and variety) to that pattern, is to keep the checkerboard uniform in shape but change the colors around. Or have stripes, but move them closer and farther apart. You still have a pattern, but now it’s yours – and one can recognize that easily. I have also seen definitions for rhythm that encompass variety and pattern within it – which is perfectly fine; just adapt the concept. They all stem from the same idea – creating a uniform and unique design that one can recognize due to the patterns and rhythms present.
I love working through this exercise with my students because we get to make music – we pound on the tables and come up with our own rhythms and beats to work with. And because all of my students are in music, they can relate it easily.