Introduction: Draw a Song

In this activity, music will be used as the inspiration behind a piece of mixed medium art.

This lesson was derived from

As a warm up, select 6 pieces of music to listen to and draw whatever comes to mind. After each song, take some time to dissect the drawings and the impact of the music. A variety of music works best.

I choose the following 6 songs to play (which worked very well)

- High Energy Jazz piece
- Beyoncé, "Single Ladies"
- Beethoven piece
- Smashing Satellites, "Hounds"
- Bob Marley, "Three Little Birds"
- New Age piece

After the warm up, I showed examples of the project from the artist at and previous student examples.

The following steps explain the rationale and process behind the finished piece featured here. It is a representation of Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk" (specifically the line: "I'm too hot, make a dragon want to retire, man."

Step 1: Select a Song and Focus

Start off by selecting a song that you would like to turn into a visual representation. The final product could be a representation of the whole song or just one line of the song. Some students include only a title while others include some of all the lyrics. Alternatively, you may select a piece of music that does not have any lyrics. The importance is the inspiration of the music to your art.

Once you have selected your song, come up with a visual focus for your art. You may consider using a silhouette which takes away the pressure of having to draw something free hand.

I selected the lyric, "too hot, make a dragon want to retire man" from Bruno Mars' Up Town Funk, so naturally I found a silhouette of a dragon.

Step 2: Rough Draft

Coming up with a rough draft will be an important part of this process. As you plan, think about the Elements and Principles of Design as well as Colour Theory. Not only will it help you to organize your ideas, it will also help you determine what medium(s) you will use to create the good copy.

Some mediums that will work well for this project:

- Watercolour Paint
- Acrylic Paint
- Markers
- Pencil Crayon
- Crayon
- Chalk or Oil Pastels
- Cut and Paste (paper art)

Step 3: Add Detail

You always want to be thinking about how you can make your art work more detailed, interesting, and unique. I did this by smudging green and black chalk pastel around the edges of the dragon. I also painted on some gold glitter glue to the edges of the dragon's wings. The detailed dragon is much more interesting to look at.

Step 4: Think About the Background Detail

Similarly to the detail added to the main image, think about ways to make your background look more interesting. I added yellow, orange and red pastel to the edges of plain construction paper which makes it look a little less boring.

Step 5: Put It All Together and Admire

Glue together all the pieces of your project, sit back, and admire!

(I decided to make the wing stick out from the rest of the image by gluing an accordion strip of paper behind the wing. This was a last minute decision that adds dimension to the project and makes it more interesting to look at.)