Art Lessons: Abstract Painting to Music


WP_20160318_003One way to ensure that you don’t end up with a wall of identical paintings is to introduce children to abstract art.  We used the book The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art as a starting point.  The book tells the story of Kandinsky’s ability to ‘see music’ and ‘hear paintings’.

I explained that abstract art is not about creating a particular thing but is about expressing how you feel.

Each child had a pallet of acrylic paints, 2 different sized paintbrushes, a canvas, a pot of water and paper towel to wash and dry  the brushes.  I showed them how to clean their brushes by washing it in the water and drying it with the paper towel.


The children began when I played the music – I chose a quiet piece to add focus, Dvorak’s Largo from Symphony no. 9.

Some children were engrossed in colour mixing, while others enjoyed layering colours one on top of the other.  Some concentrated on texture and others focused on shape and colour.


The strong focus on process lead to an interesting discussion with the teacher after class.  We lamented the lack of time children in Kindergarten and beyond, to experiment with paint and the impact this has on their motor development. I always feel my lessons should be in at least 2 parts, one for discovery and process and the another to create a product. I wish there was time for the children to practice skills and develop.  My eldest daughter attends a school where the whole curriculum is taught through the medium of visual and performing arts – are there any creative elementary teachers out there doing the same?



3 thoughts on “Art Lessons: Abstract Painting to Music”

  1. Yes! This is exactly what I do in my classroom. I play classical music with a record player (that is so cool for children), use real artist tools and real artist paints, and let them explore. The Noisy Paintbox is one of my favorite books. My last blog post talks about exactly this. Last year a student loved Kandinsky’s art after we read The Noisy Paintbox. The same student this year recognized Kandinsky’s art (wow), and now has fallen in love with Monet. Music and art together, along with reading, can inspire children far beyond what we expect or imagine. Thanks for a great post!


  2. Thank you for the lovely comment. How lovely to use a record player. We’ve been considering buying one. We visited an old fashioned record shop recently and my children really didn’t get it. I’d love for them to see how I used to listen to music.


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