Year 2: Pictures at an Exhibition

Learning Objectives
By the end of this course, students will:

  • Have an intimate knowledge of Pictures at an Exhibition, a musical composition by composer Modest Mussorgsky
  • Create a portfolio of drawings/paintings based on the music
  • Curate an exhibition of these drawings/paintings

Curriculum Goals

  • To teach empathy by encouraging students to feel emotions through music and art, making connections between the music/art, their own feelings and experiences, and those of their classmates.
  • To teach students how to listen and observe (rather than see and hear) by narrowing their focus and pinpointing sounds and concepts to listen or look for.
  • To encourage introspection and personal reflection: listening to music and observing art gives students time and space to process their thoughts and emotions.
  • To encourage articulation and expression of thoughts and feelings through the creation of art and music.
  • To create a new generation of music and art lovers


  • Year 2 of the ACO Music and Art program is meant to be an independent learning resource that can be structured in any way.
  • Mussorgsky composed the music after viewing an art exhibition; there are 10 paintings plus 4 “promenades” which depict the spectator walking from one painting to the next. Each movement/painting has its own dedicated webpage with detailed instructions, recordings and links for you to explore with your students.
  • Students can then recreate, i.e. draw/paint up to all 10 paintings.

Time Commitment
Open-ended. Each page on the website, devoted to a different movement of the Mussorgsky, is full of links, videos, stories, resources, etc.   They are meant to augment students’ understanding of where the music/original painting came from and provide a well-rounded, global perspective.  Let them lead wherever they might take you before coming back, listening to the movement and having the students draw their responses.

Sensitive Subject Matter