A teaching strategy for use with the Sheet Music from Canada's Past and Virtual Gramophone websites
This learning opportunity explores music from Canada's past and invites the students to use sound recordings from Library and Archives Canada's Virtual Gramophone site, and view sheet music cover art in Sheet Music from Canada's Past. Students will learn about and use all stages of the design process (specifications, research, experimentation, roughs, prototypes, revision, presentation and reflection) to create, in the role of commercial artist, CD cover art for an early twentieth-century Canadian song. They will select the materials, artistic media, style and techniques that they judge best reflect the song's theme and artists, as well as its historical and technological context.
Visual Arts; Ages 12-14
Fine Arts Outcomes (Visual Arts):
In completing this project, students will:
Students will follow the design process in order to create CD cover art for an early twentieth-century Canadian song.
American Library of Congress sheet music resources:
African-American Sheet Music, 1850-1920
America Singing: Nineteenth-Century Song Sheets
Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920
Music for the Nation
Students will need to be familiar with the elements and principles of design (line, colour, shape, space, texture, form)
Have students view and comment on a various samples of record album and CD cover artwork. Students could bring CD covers of their favourite artists to class as a starting point for discussion. Resources can include hard-copy texts such as The Album Cover Album, as well as any internet site related to album and CD cover artwork. To see examples of art styles for older music, visit the Sheet Music from Canada's Past site, as well as any of the other sources suggested in Web Links.
The following suggested questions are designed to promote discussion during the various stages of this large-group art response activity:
Questions to Promote Critical Viewing of Record Album and CD Cover Art
1. Initial Response
3. Information Acquisition
Students are asked to assume the role of commercial artists who will work in small teams (2-3 members) to design the CD cover artwork for a particular song. Introduce the students to the design process (see below) that they must use in order to achieve their product.
The Design Process
A clear statement describing the expected outcome of the design process
Searching for, and obtaining the essential information needed for a successful design
Bringing innovation to previously existing designs. Students will rework an existing sample of CD cover artwork by substituting, exaggerating, combining, altering or reversing one or several of its elements of design (colour, line, shape, space, texture, form). Students should solicit feedback from other groups of their peers.
Initial representations: sketches, models (the "first draft" of ideas). Students will produce as many sketches as possible.
Refinements brought to the selected rough(s), based on critical response to drafts.
Consultation/feedback from outside the classroom.
Communicating to an extended community. Students collaborate with other artists (classmates) to prepare a formal exhibit of various cover artwork designs.
Evaluating both process and product.
Notes on Enriching this Activity