Music and Poetry at
Bridge Elementary (2013)

The Question

How do music and poetry complement each other? What characters, settings, plots, and forms exist within both music and poetry that can express feelings and thoughts? How do we write and perform poetry that displays our own emotions and experiences, and how do we use music to enhance that?

The Objectives

Students will know about the structure of poems and music (line structure, intro, rising action, climax, falling action, and conclusion)

Students will understand and demonstrate how to most effectively communicate their meaning when reading their poem

Students will fit music into a piece of text by using the many concepts of music

Students will understand that music, just like words, can create moods and evoke emotions

The Process

In another year of partnership with Bridge Elementary School, students were challenged to link music and language through the musical activities that inspired the writing and analysis of poetry. Interactive lessons on topics such as such as the five senses, characters, rhythm, and timbre, teachers and members of Fifth House Ensemble explored a number of aspects central to learning about music and poetry. Students also used musical elements such as ostinato, forms, and phrasing to inspire their own writing. Active listening and regular writing assignments helped students develop better listening, group work, and connection-making skills.

The Impact

“The most valuable thing I learned was that you don’t have to be like everybody else. That you can come up with something on your own, and it will be just as good as anybody else’s because its what you like, its what you did, and its your own work. It doesn’t have to be like everybody else’s because everyone has different ways of being creative.” -Katera, student, Bridge Elementary

The Final Project

This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.