Monday, September 22, 2014

Impressionism Unit Kick-off Listening Assignment!

Hi, students and parents!

Most of the studio will be starting our year-long unit on impressionist music with a listening activity this week. Impressionism in art and music is one of my favorite styles, and I hope you will all love discovering the music and musicians we'll be covering this year!

Student Reading Assignment:

Impressionism is a style of art that got its start in the 1860's and 1870's in Paris, France. Before this time, artists usually painted indoors and most did not create outdoor scenes or pictures of people doing things they might do every day. Artists like Claude Monet shook up the art world by painting unusual subjects outside. His art used thick brush strokes and he mixed his colors right on the canvas. Many people thought his art looked "unfinished," and this style of art was banned from galleries in Paris.

When you look at an impressionist painting, you might notice the bold strokes of paint. You will probably also notice that these pictures aren't realistic like photographs. They leave with an "impression" of the subject without revealing the whole story. You as the viewer are free to fill in the extra details in your mind.

Famous impressionist painters include Monet, Manet, Cezanne, Mary Cassatt, Degas, Pissaro, and Renoir.

Take a moment to peek at some of their art here.

Impressionism in music embodies many of the same qualities as impressionist art. Impressionist composers paint with tone colors and leave the listener with an idea about their subject. You as a listener are free to fill in the rest of the picture in your own imagination. Some of the composers we will be studying this year include Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Albeniz, Granados, Satie, and Scriabin.

Our first listening assignment will be "The Girl with the Flaxen Hair" by Claude Debussy, written in 1910. Listen to this piece several times and draw your "impression." What do you think the blonde-haired girl in the piece is doing? Be ready to share one thing about the music you observed.

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