Grade: Elementary
Subject: Art/Design

Essential Question

What shapes did Pablo Picasso use to create his piece Guitar, Sheet Music, and Glass and how can similar shapes be used to create other instruments?


In the early 1900s, young artists in Paris yearned to move beyond the realistic portrayals of objects and landscapes that shaped much of the history of painting. To break from the past, they reduced objects to fragmented geometric shapes and angles, and experimented with new ways of presenting images from multiple perspectives within a single painting. While past artists showcased perspective and dimension in their works, younger artists like Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque created flat scenes that merge the subject and surface as one. They also experimented with forgoing paint altogether, pasting everyday items like newspapers and sheet music to the canvas. The results of their cumulative efforts was later termed Cubism.

Picasso’s 1912 piece Guitar, Sheet Music, and Glass exemplifies many of the techniques associated with Cubism. It uses traditional geometric shapes such as squares, rectangles, and circles, while also incorporating imperfect shapes like semi circles and rounded oblong figures. Picasso also uses various materials such as a newspaper, a piece of sheet music, wall paper, and a drawing of a wine glass in the piece. Together, the shapes and mediums create the depiction of a guitar, an object that appears in much of Picasso’s work.

In this lesson, students identify basic shapes and types of lines, and analyze how Pablo Picasso’s might use such shapes and lines in Guitar, Sheet Music, and Glass. Drawing upon Guitar, Sheet Music, and Glass as an inspiration, students than cut out and paste shapes to create their own cubist collage of a musical instrument.

Materials Required for this lesson:

  • Various types of paper (construction, patterned, cardstock, newspapers, magazines, tissue paper, etc.)
  • Glue
  • Scissors

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  1. Know (knowledge):
    • How to identify a shape based upon its characteristics
    • How to identify curved and straight lines
    • The defining characteristics of Cubism
    • Pablo Picasso’s Guitar, Sheet Music, and Glass (1912)
  2. Mastery Objective:
    • Students will be able to create their own Cubist collage of a musical instrument by analyzing the shapes used in Pablo Picasso’s work Guitar, Sheet Music, and Glass.


Motivational Activity:

  1. Tell students that in this lesson, they will be learning about shapes. Show Image 1, Types of Shapes. Ask students:
    • Have you ever seen these shapes before? Which one? Where have you seen it?
    • How are these shapes different?
  2. Point to each shape, and ask:
    • How many sides does this shape have? Can you count them?
    • Are all the lines in the shape the same length, or are some lines longer than others?
    • Do all the lines look the same? Are they straight, meaning they possess no curve or are they curved, meaning they are rounded?


  1. Show Image 2, Guitar, Sheet Music, and Glass (1912) Ask students:
    • What sort of shapes do you recognize in this work of art?
    • Where do you see curved lines? Where do you see straight lines?
    • What objects do you see?
    • What does this work of art show?
  2. Show Image 3, Picasso’s Guitar Compared. Ask students:
    • How is Picasso’s depiction of a guitar similar to a real guitar?
    • How does Picasso’s depiction of the guitar differ from a real guitar?
    • This guitar is an example of Cubism, an art style developed by Picasso and fellow artist Georges Braque. Based on what you see, what might be the idea of Cubism? (Through discussion, the class should reach the conclusion that Cubism involves reducing objects into simple, overlapping shapes.)
  3. Tell students that they will be creating their own instrument collage, similar to Picasso’s Guitar, Sheet Music, and Glass. Display Image 4, Common Instruments. Ask students to each pick an instrument in Image 4 to create a collage of. Then, ask students to identify the shapes within the instrument they’ve chosen, and draw and cut out these shapes from paper (if helpful, teachers can display or print out Image 1, Types of Shapes as a reference for students). Have students arrange the shapes they’ve cut out to construct the instrument they selected, then glue them to the main surface.

Summary Activity:

  1. Have each student present their sculpture, and have the class try to guess what instrument the sculpture is representing. Then, have the presenter discuss what shapes they used to create their sculpture.
  2. Share your student’s creations by sending images to

Extension Activities:

  1. As a class, discuss other ways music is depicted in art. Some sample works could include:
    • Fernando Botero. Dancing in Colombia (1980)
    • Romare Bearden. The Piano Lesson (1983)
    • Augusta Savage. The Harp (1937)
    • Jan Steen. The Family Court (1666)
    • Remedios Varo. Energia Cosmica (1954)
    • Archibald Motley Jr. Nightlife (1943)


Common Core State Standards

Math Standards

K.G.A.1: Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes, and describe the relative positions of these objects using terms such as above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to.

K.G.A.2: Correctly name shapes regardless of their orientations or overall size.

K.G.B.4: Analyze and compare two- and three-dimensional shapes, in different sizes and orientations, using informal language to describe their similarities, differences, parts (e.g., number of sides and vertices/”corners”) and other attributes (e.g., having sides of equal length).

K.G.B.5: Model shapes in the world by building shapes from components (e.g., sticks and clay balls) and drawing shapes.

1.G.A.1: Distinguish between defining attributes (e.g., triangles are closed and three-sided) versus non-defining attributes (e.g., color, orientation, overall size); build and draw shapes to possess defining attributes.

2.G.A.1: Recognize and draw shapes having specified attributes, such as a given number of angles or a given number of equal faces.1 Identify triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons, and cubes.

4.G.A.1: Draw points, lines, line segments, rays, angles (right, acute, obtuse), and perpendicular and parallel lines. Identify these in two-dimensional figures.

4.G.A.2: Classify two-dimensional figures based on the presence or absence of parallel or perpendicular lines, or the presence or absence of angles of a specified size. Recognize right triangles as a category, and identify right triangles.

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas 7: Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Language

Language 1: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use 6: Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.

Career Technical Education Standards (California Model) – Arts, Media and Entertainment Pathway Standards

Design, Visual and Media Arts (A)

  • A1.0 Demonstrate ability to reorganize and integrate visual art elements across digital media and design applications.
    A1.1 View and respond to a variety of industry-related artistic products integrating industry appropriate vocabulary.
    A1.2 Identify and use the principles of design to discuss, analyze, and create projects and products across multiple industry applications.
    A1.3 Describe the use of the elements of art to express mood in digital or traditional art work found in the commercial environment.
    A1.4 Select industry-specific works and analyze the intent of the work and the appropriate use of media.
    A1.5 Research and analyze the work of an artist or designer and how the artist’s distinctive style contributes to their industry production.
    A1.6 Compare and analyze art work done using electronic media with those done with materials traditionally used in the visual arts.
    A1.7 Analyze and discuss complex ideas, such as distortion, color theory, arbitrary color, scale, expressive content, and real versus virtual in works of art.
    A1.9 Analyze the material used by a given artist and describe how its use influences the meaning of the work. ia, and Entertainment |
    A2.0 Apply artistic skills and processes to solve a variety of industry-relevant problems in a variety of traditional and electronic media.
    A2.1 Demonstrate skill in the manipulation of digital imagery (either still or video) in an industry-relevant application.
    A2.2 Demonstrate personal style and advanced proficiency in communicating an idea, theme, or emotion in an industry-relevant artistic product.
    A2.3 Apply refined observation and drawing skills to solve an industry-relevant problem.
    A2.4 Use visual metaphors in creating an artistic product.
    A2.8 Plan and create artistic products that reflect complex ideas, such as distortion, color theory, arbitrary color, scale, expressive content, and real versus virtual.
    A2.9 Create a multimedia work of art that demonstrates knowledge of media and technology skills.
    A3.0 Analyze and assess the impact of history and culture on the development of professional arts and media products.
    A3.1 Identify and describe the role and influence of new technologies on contemporary arts industry.
    A3.2 Describe how the issues of time, place, and cultural influence and are reflected in a variety of artistic products.
    A3.3 Identify contemporary styles and discuss the diverse social, economic, and political developments reflected in art work in an industry setting.
    A3.4 Identify art in international industry and discuss ways in which the work reflects cultural perspective.
    A3.5 Analyze similarities and differences of purpose in art created in culturally diverse industry applications.
    A4.0 Analyze, assess, and identify effectiveness of artistic products based on elements of art, the principles of design, and professional industry standards.
    A4.2 Deconstruct how beliefs, cultural traditions, and current social, economic, and political contexts influence commercial media (traditional and electronic).
    A4.3 Analyze the aesthetic value of a specific commercial work of art and defend that analysis from an industry perspective.
    A4.4 Analyze the relationship between the artist, artistic product and audience in both an existing and self-generated project.
    A4.5 Analyze and articulate how society influences the interpretation and effectiveness of an artistic product.
    A5.0 Identify essential industry competencies, explore commercial applications and develop a career specific personal plan.
    A5.2 Explore the role of art and design across various industry sectors and content areas.
    A5.3 Deconstruct works of art, identifying psychological content found in the symbols and images and their relationship to industry and society.
    A5.4 Predict how changes in technology might change the role and function of the visual arts in the workplace.
    A5.7 Synthesize traditional art work and new technologies to design an artistic product to be used by a specific industry.

Performing Arts (B)

  • B2.0 Read, listen to, deconstruct, and analyze peer and professional music using the elements and terminology of music.
    B2.2 Describe how the elements of music are used.
    B2.5 Analyze and describe significant musical events perceived and remembered in a given industry generated example.
    B2.6 Analyze and describe the use of musical elements in a given professional work that makes it unique, interesting, and expressive.
    B2.7 Demonstrate the different uses of form, both past and present, in a varied repertoire of music in commercial settings from diverse genres, styles, and professional applications.
    B8.0 Deconstruct the aesthetic values that drive professional performance and the artistic elements necessary for industry production.
    B8.1 Critique discipline-specific professional works using the language and terminology specific to the discipline.
    B8.2 Use selected criteria to compare, contrast, and assess various professional performance forms.
    B8.4 Use complex evaluation criteria and terminology to compare and contrast a variety of genres of professional performance products.

Production and Managerial Arts (C)

  • C6.0 Understand the key elements of developing and promoting a production from creation to distribution.
    C6.4 Create a promotional example using electronic media.

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