Arts Integration Program

Woodburn School for the Fine Arts and the FSO collaborate for the 6th year!

       Woodburn students creating art based on Wassily Kandinsky's artwork and Beethoven's symphonic music.

       Woodburn students creating art based on Wassily Kandinsky's artwork and Beethoven's symphonic music.

Arts Integration for the 2017-2018 Concert Season

Currently the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra is closely collaborating with Woodburn School for the Fine & Communicative Arts on an arts integration project where students are working with the music of Bach and Phillip Glass. As part of this project, students will be creating artwork that explores the connections between minimalist music and minimalist art. Students will be displaying their creations as part of an art show at this concert on April 21st, 2018!

Synesthesia: Seeing the Sound

In the 2016-2017 concert season, the FSO partnered with Woodburn School for the Fine & Communicative Arts, a Fairfax County elementary school, on a project that integrated music with visual artwork and social studies. This project culminated in an event where students participated in an art show at the George Mason University Center for the Arts, the same night that the FSO performed Beethoven’s first and ninth symphonies. Hundreds of Woodburn Elementary students and family members attended this show and the FSO’s concert performance. In the lobby where the students' artwork was displayed, a video was also on display, which combined their artwork with Beethoven's music, serving as a visual map of Beethoven’s first symphony.

The Woodburn art and music teachers introduced materials related to Beethoven’s 1st Symphony. In library, students conducted research related to the life of Beethoven and also to what was happening in the United States at the same time period. Woodburn’s fourth grade teachers built upon this foundation, teaching related social studies materials in their classrooms.

“Colour is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul.”
— Wassily Kandinsky

Next, students listened to Beethoven’s 1st Symphony in music class. Students recorded notes describing the tempo, mood, instrumentation, repetition, and expressive qualities found in their assigned portion of the music. Students were inspired by Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky whose abstract paintings explored the connection between sounds, colors, and shapes. Kandinsky is thought to have attempted to create a synesthetic effect in his paintings, representing a known condition in which some people process auditory sounds as visual shapes and colors.

Click through the artwork Woodburn students created to accompany Beethoven's 1st Symphony.

Woodburn Elementary students then embarked on a similar journey as the animators of the 1940 Disney film Fantasia may have experienced, when they worked together to transform auditory sounds into visual images. Students created their artwork using a process called Monotype Printmaking. While each student was responsible for creating artwork for their own individual section of the music, students were all inspired by each other’s creations. When all of the students work was sequenced and timed to the music in the form of a video, they had in effect created their own “Fantasia” of Beethoven’s 1st symphony.

In addition to this achievement, fourth grade students created an entire wire sculpture orchestra for display at this event.