The University of St. Thomas


Bosshart-Sagmoe, Renee

Bosshart-Sagmoe, Renee

Do You See That Color or Hear That Color? Improving Comprehension of Artistic Concepts by Relating Visual Art and Music
Renee H. Bosshart-Sagmoe

This project is based on the following premises:

  1. It is known that all students do not learn in the same way. There are three learning modalities: visual, auditory, and tactile-kinesthetic. Usually learners prefer one modality over the others.
  2. Higher-level thinking skills are promoted by teaching subject matter through an interdisciplinary approach.

Given these findings, it follows that visual and tactile-kinesthetic learners, and those students who find music unstimulating or irrelevant, are lacking meaningful experiences in music class. In this project, music concepts are correlated with visual art elements and movements in order to engage all three learning modalities to better promote transfer of thought and connections between these disciplines.

This method provides students with multiple learning opportunities rather than limiting activities to isolated aural music experiences. After researching studies by leading spokespersons in the fields of learning and artistic development, such as Howard Gardener (1982), Elliot Eisner (1987), D.N. Perkins (1991), Laura Chapman (1978), and Linda Verlee Williams (1983), I believe such a multi-sensory, interdisciplinary arts approach is valid and appropriate in elementary music education.

In this project, three elements of visual art are related to similar concepts in music. Visual line is related to melodic line, visual color is related to timbre, and visual texture is related to musical texture. Many activities relating these artistic concepts are provided in fifteen lessons for use in the elementary school music classroom. In each lesson, experiences engaging all three learning modalities are included as a means of reaching a wider majority of students’ varying learning needs. Also, students are exposed to quality works of both music and visual art. I believe this multi-sensory, multi-media approach can be valuable in improving comprehension of artistic elements and techniques, thus providing more meaningful arts experiences and enhanced appreciation for the arts.

Capstone Advisor
Candace Gordon