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Level: Middle School
Grades: 6-8 | Age: 11-14yrs | Written by: Alison J. Lorion
[Alison is an Art Teacher at Dr. Franklin Perkins School in Lancaster, Massachusetts]

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.


Students will:



What You Need:
What You Do:
  1. Collect and set up all materials and supplies before class along with samples and examples.
  2. Discuss musical instruments with students showing them pictures and discussing different parts of instruments.
  3. Discuss guitars in particular and have students point out the different parts of the guitar.
  4. Have students compare and contrast different guitars from different times.
  5. Have students imagine that they are a designer and are hired to build a new age guitar for the millennium.
  6. Have them think about shape, color, design, etc. Have students create many preliminary sketches before beginning their sculpture.
  7. Have students begin constructing when they have completed their drawings.
  8. 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.
  9. Circulate to assist students needing help.
  10. Have students begin adding paper mache' when the guitar has been completely formed with newspaper and cardboard.
  11. 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.
  12. Students may draw on design for painting.
  13. Begin painting guitar let each coat dry in between or for putting colors next to each other.
  14. When finished painting, add push pins for the guitar strings.
  15. Coat with Envirotex-lite after school in a well ventilated area.
  16. Add strings on guitar when coating is dry.
  17. Display and discuss the process compare to preliminary sketches interview students as if you are the person buying their design idea.
  18. Have students self-evaluate and give constructive criticism to others.


Recommended Books/Products:

Homemade Instruments
by:Dallas Cline


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