Pathway: Music And Art

Pathway for Years 1 & 2

Drawing, Making, Sketchbooks

Key Concepts:

  • That artists sometimes use sound to inspire their work. 

  • That artists sometimes work in partnership with musicians. 

  • That we can use both aural and visual senses to make art.

  • That we can draw from our imagination, using lots of different kinds of abstract marks to express our feelings, whether they are quiet and focussed, or loud and expressive.

  • That we can be inventive and make objects in 3 dimensions which make sounds, and which we want to interact with as humans. 

In this pathway children are introduced to the idea that artists often work in partnership and are often inspired by other art forms – in this case music and the visual arts. 

Children explore how other artists have used sound to inspire their artwork, and then go on to experiment with how they can use their mark making skills to both be influenced by, and to capture, the expression in music. 

Children then explore making skills to collage or make inventive instruments, creating a class “orchestra”.

Paper, Drawing Materials, Paint, Construction Materials

Artists: Kandinsky, Various “Projection Mapping” artists

If you use this resource in your setting, please tag us on social media: #InspiredBy @accessart (facebook, twitter) (instagram) and share the url. Thank you!

Adding some colour to a mythical instrument
Some people invented a new instrument by joining lots of things together
Using scrap card and a jam jar lid to create castanets
ages 5-8

Teaching Notes

Curriculum Links

Geography: Adapt the music you listen and draw to, according to geographical region or continent to help develop sense of place.

Science: The 5 senses, the human body, materials.

Music: Rhymes and chants, musical instruments, combining sounds.

PSHE: Explore the music made from instruments from other countries, Collaboration, Peer Discussion.

I Can…

  • I have seen how some artists are inspired by other artforms such as music. I can share my response to their work, and listen to others.

  • I can listen to sounds, and use my mark making skills to make marks in response.

  • I can draw from observation whilst listening to a piece of music, and let the music inspire my drawing.

  • I can use my imagination and work on a larger scale to make drawings of imaginative instruments, or I can use my hands to invent musical instruments made from construction materials.

  • I can share my work with the class.

  • I can reflect upon what I have made and share my work with the class. I can listen to their responses to my work, and talk about my response to their work. 

  • I can take photos of my artwork.


This pathway takes 6 weeks, with an hour per week. Shorten or lengthen the suggested pathway according to time and experience. Follow the stages in green for a shorter pathway or less complex journey.


Soft B pencils, coloured pencils or pastels, handwriting pens.

Project 1: Paint an Imaginary Orchestra – Large (A1 or A2) cartridge paper or thin card, coloured paper, foil or metallic paper, marker pens, scissors, tape, paint, brushes.

Project 2: Making Musical Instruments – cardboard, wood, buttons, lids, shells, string, ribbons and other construction materials.


Pathway: Music and Art

  • Aim of Pathway

    The aim of this pathway is to introduce pupils to some of the links between art and music. Pupils use rhythm and sound to inspire artwork. 

  • Week 1: Slow Drawing

    Drawing to a Metronome

    Crinkled paper

    Settle students with some “Drawing to the Slow Rhythm of a Metronome“. Invite children to make careful, slow drawings with a sharp graphite pencil. Work in sketchbooks and introduce to children the idea that making drawings can be a quiet, slow, thoughtful activity. 

  • Introduce an Artist

    Wassily Kandinsky

    "File:Vasily Kandinsky, Improvisation No. 30 (Cannons), 1913, 1931.511, Art Institute of Chicago.jpg" by Wassily Kandinsky is marked with CC0 1.0.

    Explore the work of Kandinsky who was a pioneer in abstraction. Use the “Talking Points: Wassily Kandinsky” resource to find out what synaesthesia is, and how it helped him to paint music. Encourage children to have their sketchbooks open to make some “Making Visual Notes“.

  • Week 2: Work in Sketchbooks

    Mark Making and Sound

    Mark Making & Sound

    Enable learners to develop their mark-making skills with these 3 “Mark Making and Sound” exercises.

    This activity explores how we can use sound as a stimulus to develop the kinds of marks we can make.

    Children will find out how abstract mark making can capture the spirit of a piece of music.

    Children will then take what they have learnt about rhythm and mark making into observational drawing.

  • Introduce an Artist

    Tomoko Kawao

    Tomoko Kawao the “Talking Points: Tomoko Kawao” resource to discover an artist who makes large scale work using one unbroken movement of a brush.

    Use the questions at the bottom of the resource to help guide your class conversation. 

  • Week 3: Sketchbooks

    Show Me What You See

    OrchestraWorking in sketchbooks, use the “Show Me What You See” technique to help pupils visually explore orchestras and musical instruments. Take inspiration from “Drawing Source Material: Orchestras and Instruments“.

    During the exercise, draw the children’s attention to the visual elements of the artwork, including talking about shape, colour and composition. As well as using line in sketchbooks to describe shapes, also use colour (pastel, crayon, pens etc).

    By the end of the session sketchbooks should be full of pupil’s interpretations of different elements (shapes, lines etc) from the video.

  • Take a Break & Inspire

    Exploring Projection Mapping

    2018 Light Odyseey Vimeo ScreenshotIf you feel your pupils would benefit from being inspired by more art made by artists, introduce them to Projection Mapping and music with this video by Light Odyssey in our “Talking Points: What is Projection Mapping“. 

    Use the questions at the bottom of the resource to help guide your class conversation.

  • Play

    Paint Music with Google Arts & Culture

    Finish the session with this fun interactive activity

  • Week 4 & 5: Find your Focus

    Explore Making or Drawing Instruments

    For the next two weeks work on one of the projects below. 

  • Option 1

    Paint an Imaginary Orchestra

    Some people collaborated to make their instrument

    Start the session with Backwards Forwards” drawings before moving on to creating aCheerful Orchestra“.

    This workshop brings together mythical beasts and musical notes, however it can be adapted to link with curriculum topics such as animals or food.

    Encourage children to draw large and fast so that they can explore a range of materials to create the details. 

    This resource is split into 3 different parts. Depending on time you can pick and choose which activities you’d like your class to do.

    The first part of this resource explores inventing instruments. This is followed by responding to music with narrative. The final part of the activity entails children creating a self portrait of themselves playing an instrument.

    By the end of the session children will have formed an extraordinary noisy orchestra.

  • Or...

  • Option 2

    Making Musical Instruments

    A ribbed percussion instrument with beater made from card

    If you think your children would benefit, warm up using the “Making Prompt Cards” and follow on by creating music instruments below.

    Explore recycled materials to “Make Musical Instruments” and explore sound making. 

    This activity not only explores the process of making but also how to produce different sounds and rhythms with the invented musical instruments.

    Encourage children to make decisions about  material, form, design and colour, experimenting using simple tools to create unusual, surprising sounds.

  • Week 6: Reflect and Discuss

    Present, Talk, Share and Celebrate

    Some people invented a new instrument by joining lots of things together

    End the pathway by taking time to appreciate the developmental stages and the final outcomes in a clear space.

    Depending upon the project option chosen, display the work appropriately including having open sketchbooks. Use the “Crit in the Classroom” resource to help you. 

    Encourage children to reflect upon all stages of the journey, and reference the artists studied. 

    If available, children can use tablets or cameras to take photographs of the work. 

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