Music and the arts

Music and the other art forms share so much in so many ways. At a specialised level it can make sense to think of them as separate disciplines but in special education the separate art forms usually have the effect of reinforcing each other.


Film music surrounds us and has become a huge part of everyday life. Composing has some ideas for how to write your own. Look out for film music all over the place.

  • New film releases. The music spreads like wild fire.
  • Film classics. The Bond music and the Pink Panther have a lot to be said for them. They have survived so long because they are so good.
  • TV themes. At any level, your pupils will have formed emotional connections with the television programmes that they like through the theme tunes.
  • Adverts. Very strong associations are formed. Make your own adverts and select or compose music to go with them.
  • Incidental music. Films very often tell their story with the music slightly ahead of the action on the screen. The music builds the anticipation. Listen to films – can you picture them?
  • Silent movies. A great playground full of good ideas. Make your own music for short Buster Keaton movies and you will all be having a very good time.

To watch an extract of a film with music created on one of our Soundtracks projects please click here.


Many poems, simple and complicated alike, have formed the inspiration for great instrumental music. When you are thinking about making a piece inspired by a poem look out both for patterns and for mood.

Poems are also ready-made song lyrics. The points to look out for are:

  • Don’t try to set too much text.
  • Songs can repeat words more freely than poems can.
  • Use what the poem gives you, especially in terms of rhythm.

Painting and sculpture

Painting and sculptures give everything to a piece of music except for one element: time. Visually exciting works of art will give you all the information you need to generate musical ideas but little about structuring these ideas together to make a piece of music.

Composing will give you a lot of ideas for how to structure your music. Take the inspiration from the art and put it into a strong structure and you have the basis of some extremely good work.


To all intents and purposes, dance and music are the same thing. Sound and movement have a strong natural affinity and the way that ideas are layered together and structured over time has everything in common. Pretty much any guide to making music can be translated to a guide for making dance and vice versa.

You might want to start off with some ‘conducting’ to begin integrating music and dance work. Extend the excursive to incorporate the whole body and you have begun to dance.

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