Teaching the basics of art and music
The benefits of asking family to regularly practice drawing and singing with my children
Probably the easiest lessons taught this year were those taught by others in my family. My brother who illustrates for Netflix Animation resonated with the lessons on scale and point perspective. Likewise, my father-in-law, a former soloist for the Seattle Men’s Chorus, got a kick out of us trying to write a song to express ourselves during the pandemic.
While the goal of my lessons was to supplement distance learning with hands-on-learning, both possessed skills easily taught via weekly Zoom meetings. Recognizing my limits and honestly needing help with home schooling, I asked my brother and father-in-law for help teaching them.
Tuesday art class with Tio Victor
Initially my brother covered how to draw lips, which then morphed into sketching expressive looks. Happy and angry face drawings suddenly cladded our fridge; a tiny Jekyll and Hyde sketch on a pumpkin peered from the window sill.
Lessons then turned faces from flat frontal depictions to three-quarter turn and profile perspectives. Large amorphous forms transformed into hair blown by the wind.
Art then shifted from paper to digital. Virtual elves hid within a fantasy mushroom world within Tilt Brush drawings. Wry smiles of wolves and unicorn character sketches in Procreate suggested future plot twists to a story they imagined.
Art filled our home as they spent more time sketching on paper or the iPad instead of gaming. Learning to use these digital art programs may have even opened future animation careers for them.
Wednesday music class with Grandpa Sid
In a similar manner, their Grandpa Sid taught music. This class took time to fine tune. We tried music theory, history and composition, which all proved difficult. Then we decided to simply sing and everybody loved it.
It took time for them to keep a tune. With weekly practice pitch improved. Harmonies grooved. Eventually, dulcet Star Spangled Banner, Deck the Halls and Amazing Grace notes danced behind them.
Pleasantly surprising was that the weekly interactions strengthened not only their skills, but also their patriarchal bond, as intermixed with the singing came stories of their grandfather’s singing and youth.
The lessons while virtual were highly interactive. My brother and father-in-law looked forward to them; while I looked forward to the afternoon break. Did you also enlist your family to help supplement distance learning? If so, leave a comment below and tell me what you did.