I recently invited you to share some of your posts from your archives. It is a way of giving your earlier or favourite posts a chance to be read by a different audience. Mine. Details of how you can participate is at the end of the post.
Jennie Fitzkee has been a pre-school teacher for over thirty years, I have reblogged several of her posts because they demonstrate how a dedicated and passionate teacher can ignite imagination and a passion for books and music in the very young.
In this last post in Jennie’s current series, ( I am sure that there will be more from her in the future), she describes the wonder for both children and teachers to be found in the magic of music especially when combined with creating art.
Art, Music and Technology by Jennie Fitzkee
We’re learning about France in the classroom and also studying the art of the old masters, like Monet, Picasso and van Gogh. Describing styles of art to young children with pictures and techniques is always exciting; using real watercolor paints from tubes squeezed onto a palette, painting at an easel, demonstrating brush strokes, and finding geometric shapes in abstract art. As they begin to actually use real tools and techniques, they feel proud. We encourage children to come back to their piece of art, over and over again. After all, a masterpiece is not created in a day. Music is also art, and when the two come together, magic and creativity seem to explode. That’s exactly what happened this week.
We used the book Can You Hear It? from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which matches a famous work of art with a classical piece of music. Fabulous book! The first pages, before the art and music, show different instruments. The children were so interested that we had to slow down and really go through each instrument. Of course! How simple, and how perfect to begin the process of listening to music. I was so eager to get to the ‘real part’, the pictures of art and the accompanying music, that I nearly overlooked the most important and fundamental part; the musical instruments. if you don’t know the instruments and the sounds they produce, how can you listen to music, especially when it can identify with art? For example, the violins in “Flight of the Bumblebee” matched with the art piece Chrysanthemums can’t be fully understood or appreciated if a child has not heard or seen a violin.
The cello captivated the children. It looked big and interesting in the book. Technology to the rescue. My co-teacher had her iPad at school, and she found a cello solo for the children to watch and listen. It was “Bach Cello Suite No.1 in G”, played by Mischa Maisky.
The sounds that flowed from his cello had thirteen preschool children listening to and loving every single note. Everyone was breathless, including teachers. The only words that were spoken were, “I love this music”, “Olivia isn’t here, she would love this”, and “That was awesome.” The only movements were children trying to copy playing the cello. The next day we continued with the book, and again used the iPad, this time with a classical guitar solo. We played “Cannon in D” by Johann Pachelbel. As you can imagine, children were equally captivated. The only words spoken were by one child, “This sounds like bedtime music”.
We then combined listening to music and creating our own art. So far, the results are astounding. Really! When young children are given the tools and encouragement, they have so much to give. In this case, the tools were books, music and technology. The results are the artwork that is shaping up to be well beyond the developmental skills of preschool children. That’s just wonderful.
About Jennie Fitzkee
I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It’s the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That’s what I write about.
I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease’s bestselling book, “The Read-Aloud Handbook” because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
Connect to Jennie
My thanks to Jennie for sharing this lovely post with us today and for those she contributed over the last four weeks. In the meantime I hope you will head over to her blog and catch up on her current posts.
If you would like to give some of your posts from the past a little TLC then dust them off and send four links to me at email@example.com. If this is your first time on Smorgasbord then please include your links to social media. If you like the experience then we can always look at sharing more.
This is for posts of general interest rather then book promotion, although your work will feature. If you would like to promote your work here then please contact me at the email address above.
Look forward to hearing from you. Thanks Sally.