Unit 1: Soul with Laiken – Grapevine Collaborative Mural Project

Project Overview:

In this project, students will work together to create a large scale collage mural of a grapevine. The Grapevine Collaborative Mural Project gives students the opportunity to draw connections between the patterns that they can hear in music and the patterns that they can see with their eyes. This project also allows students to become comfortable working on a group project, practicing a balance of self expression and consideration for their peers as well as the shared vision of the group.

Vocabulary from the Musical Word Wall: backbeat, strong, weak


Materials You Will Need:

  • 8 sheets of 18 x 24” poster or bristol board
  • pencils
  • scissors
  • glue sticks
  • brown & green construction paper for the vine
  • assorted green, red, brown and purple tissue paper for grapes and leaves
  • masking tape
  • Musical Explorers CD or online audio



This project can be completed in three 35 minute sessions and a minimal amount of prep time.


Session One

Step 1 (prep): Using masking tape, tape together the 8 sheets of poster or bristol board to create a large background for your mural.

Step 2: With your students, lay the background paper down on the floor of your classroom and ask the students to gather around the paper. Using pencil, work together to create a line drawing of a grapevine covering the whole paper.

Step 3 (prep): Once the students have covered the background paper with interconnected lines, draw a grid on the backside of the paper and cut it into enough rectangular pieces for each student to have his or her own piece. Make sure to number or letter each rectangle before you start cutting; this will make it easier to put the whole thing back together.


Session Two

Step 1: Start this session by giving each student their own section of the Grapevine Mural as well as green construction paper, scissors and glue. Have each student cut out curvy vine-like strips of green paper, and glue them down on top of the pencil drawn grapevine lines on the background paper.

CLASS CONVERSATION: Encourage students to think about how the piece of art that they are creating is part of a large mural that the whole class is working on together. Make sure that each student covers all of the lines on their paper, so that when the mural is re-assembled, all of the lines meet up to create the Grapevine effect. Discuss the artistic and social effecst of everyone working together:
Its important to remember that we are all working on making this Grapevine Mural together! As we each create our individual section of the mural, we want to really make it our own, and cut out our own style of grapevine pieces… but we also want to make sure that each of our pieces will fit back together with those that the rest of the class is making! Make sure that as you are making your grapevine, you only glue the vine pieces down on top of the pencil lines. No matter what we do on our own, we’re part of the bigger picture. We’re part of our class, our school, our neighborhood, our community.


Session Three

This session will begin with a class-wide conversation.

Step 1: CLASS CONVERSATION: Review the concept of strong and weak beats in “I Heard it Through the Grapevine.”

  • As we listen to Laiken sing “I Heard it Through the Grapevine,” we can hear a strong backbeat. A backbeat is when the strong beat is on the 2 and 4. When there is a backbeat in music, there is a pattern made of strong and weak beats.
  • What kind of pattern is a backbeat ? (A – B – A – B)
  • Which beat in this pattern is stronger? The A or the B? (B)
  • When we think about patterns that we can see with our eyes, what are some ways that we could show the difference between the A and the B — or the Strong and the Weak? (i.e. large/small, dark/light colors).

As a class, discuss making an A-B-A-B pattern with the grapes and the leaves. Show the class some examples of pre-cut tissue paper leaves and grapes, and ask your students to decide which better represents the strong beat, the grape or the leaf.

Step 2: Hand out the Grapevine Mural pieces to each student, as well as glue sticks and pre-cut grapes and leaves. (Older students can cut out their own grapes and leaves; younger students may be uncomfortable cutting their own.) Using glue sticks, the students can decorate their section of the Grapevine Mural with the grapes and leaves, in an A-B-A-B pattern.

Once the students have completed their pieces, lay them face down, and tape them all back together using the letters or numbers that you assigned to each section, to ensure that the lines of the grapevine meet. This will complete the Grapevine Collaborative Mural Project!

Grapevine Mural - image 5