This is a motivating project that incorporates music and history as students construct guitar sculptures.
Message from the Author
This lesson originated from the Museum of Fine Art in Boston’s exhibit of “Dangerous Curves Art of the Guitar” I went and loved it, as well as observed many children at the exhibit that were having a great time. I was looking for a motivating project that would incorporate music and history and decided to have my students construct a guitar. They all loved the project and I could not get them to stop thinking up new designs. We also sent one student’s work to the Boston Globe Scholastic Art Awards and won our first award there with this project. You have to try it, it is a great motivating project.
-Alison Lorion-Art Teacher, Dr. Franklin Perkins School.
- Learn to sculpt/construct with newspaper.
- Identify different shapes.
- Understand the importance of recycling in the community.
- Recognize, understand, and learn the different parts, names, and functions of the parts of the guitar.
- Learn about the evolution of the guitar and where it originated.
- Compare and contrast the differences between old and new style guitars.
- Explain, illustrate, describe, and apply ideas.
- Choose shapes, colors, and patterns to design guitar.
- Plan preliminary sketches on paper before beginning sculpture.
- Construct and sculpt with chosen materials.
- Self-evaluate and give an opinion about own and peer’s artwork.
- National Standards for Visual Arts Education 5th-8th: 1.a, 1.b, 1.d, 2.a, 3.a, 3.b, 4.a, 4.c, 5.a, 5.c, 6.a, 6.b
- National Standards for Music Education 5th-8th: 6.b, 8.a, 8.b, 9.a
- Massachusetts Visual Arts Curriculum Frameworks Pre-K-12: 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8, 2.7, 3.4, 4.4, 4.5, 5.5, 8.4
- Parts of the guitar
What You Need:
- Masking tape
- Paper mache – glue, flour, and water
- Wooden spoon & bowl to mix
- Containers for paper mache’ for students
- Sink and paper towel for clean up
- Wrapping paper rolls, empty tissue boxes
- Thin wire, fishing line, or string/yarn
- Water cups
- Pencil and paper for sketches before beginning constructing
- Storage & drying space for projects in process
- Envirotex-lite gloss coating-gloves and a ventilated area (after school not a step for students.
- (Optional) plywood scraps & dowels for mounting on a base
What You Do:
- Collect and set up all materials and supplies before class along with samples and examples.
- Discuss musical instruments with students showing them pictures and discussing different parts of instruments.
- Discuss guitars in particular and have students point out the different parts of the guitar.
- Have students compare and contrast different guitars from different times.
- Have students imagine that they are a designer and are hired to build a new age guitar for the millennium.
- Have them think about shape, color, design, etc. Have students create many preliminary sketches before beginning their sculpture.
- Have students begin constructing when they have completed their drawings.
- Demonstrate how to fold, crunch, crumble, and twist the newspaper tightly. Remind students not to use a huge amount of tape because the paper mache will have a hard time drying and sticking to the tape. Ask if there are any questions.
- Circulate to assist students needing help.
- Have students begin adding paper mache’ when the guitar has been completely formed with newspaper and cardboard.
- Have students completely cover constructed guitar with mache’ by dipping small ripped newspaper pieces in the mache’ letting extra drip off into the container first and then laying flat and smooth on to project. Cover with at least 2 coats letting it dry before painting.
- Students may draw on design for painting.
- Begin painting guitar let each coat dry in between or for putting colors next to each other.
- When finished painting, add push pins for the guitar strings.
- Coat with Envirotex-lite after school in a well ventilated area.
- Add strings on guitar when coating is dry.
- Display and discuss the process compare to preliminary sketches interview students as if you are the person buying their design idea.
- Have students self-evaluate and give constructive criticism to others.
- Were students able to draw preliminary sketches before beginning their sculpture?
- Were students able to create an original design using the learned knowledge of guitars and their imagination?
- Were students successful with following multi-step directions?
- Were students able to choose shapes, patterns and colors to design their guitar?
- Were students able to recall and recognize the different parts of the guitar?
- Were students able to understand the connections between the different disciplines?
- Were students able to evaluate their sculpture and other student’s sculptures?
- Were students able to value the importance to recycle in the community?
- Bacon, Tony. Electric Guitars, The Illustrated Encyclopedia. Thunder Bay Press, 2000.
- Freeman, Miller. Classic Guitars of the 50’s. 1996.
- Museum of Fine Art, Boston, Dangerous Curves, Art of the Guitar. Exhibit Materials 2000.
- Doney, Meryl. Musical Instruments. Franklin Watts, New York, 1995.
- Drew, Helen. My First Music Book. Dorling Kindersley. London, 1993.