Music – Scope and sequence lesson plans

African drumming: 45-minute lesson plans
Wanguri Primary music program – Year 6 unit of work


African history and facts about the djembe 
Unit of 6 weeks. 6 x 60 minute lessons and 1 x double lesson – excursion

Time /Activity

Making a djembe


Week 1: Lesson 1


4 x 15 minutes

Station-based orientation lesson

Clock or timer

Whole group

Each station is approximately 15 minutes in length and students rotate 1 through to 3. Discuss the stations process.
View TeacherTube example of djembe playing.

Relevant TeacherTube video

Station 1
15 mins

Using school laptops, students conduct a webcrawl (i.e. origins of djembe, interesting djembe facts, djembe design construction etc.). Document on electronic proforma.

Webquest proformas for each student (you can create your own)

Station 2
15 mins

Students construct their own djembes using cups, duct tape, silver markers, large rubber bands, heavy duty balloons, etc.

Construction materials and table space

Station 3
15 mins

View TeacherTube clip again or teacher-led demonstration of different techniques and seated vs standing positions.
Teacher-led revision of djembe techniques. For example, bass, tone, slap, muted technique, pressure and pitch, scratching. Students can invent their own techniques (i.e. with brushes/marbles).

Student practice of djembe techniques


WebQuest proforma (student samples)
Constructed djembes
Class observation/quiz for facts

3 x items from the stations

Week 2: Lesson 2


60 minute lesson

Whole-class djembe ensemble


15 mins

View a YouTube clip displaying traditional African drumming.
Teacher revises techniques – bass, tone, slap, muted, pressure and pitch, scratching, etc.

YouTube clip

Whole-class rehearsal
20–30 mins

Revisit rhythms taught in previous terms – Shiko, Polyrhythms, or Yankadi. Introduce the Universal rhythm.


Divide into 2 class groups

Sitting in a drum circle, 2 students share 1 drum.
Group 1 – teacher plays a bar of the chosen rhythm, then Group 1 copies. Repeat until rhythm is clear and coordination is mastered.
Stop and swap, Group 2 has their turn. Teacher plays a bar of the chosen rhythm, then Group 2 copies. Repeat until rhythm is clear and coordination is mastered.



Group 1 – attempt playing 4 bars of the chosen rhythm tutti. Stop and swap. Group 2 has their turn.



Repeat for a number of rhythms, including the Universal rhythm. Allow for any students wishing to play solos. Attempt a rolling 'Stop and Swap' (where students change drums while the class continues drumming).



Class observation/Teacher checklist
Giving and receiving feedback

Teacher checklist

Week 3: Lesson 3



Small group compositions


5 mins

Using the rhythms explored in the whole class djembe lesson in Week 2, introduce students to a variety of ways to notate these rhythms on the whiteboard.


Rhythmic notation activity
15 mins

In groups of 2–3, students use the notation system shared on the whiteboard or a system developed on their own to notate one of the discussed rhythms in their music workbooks.
Teacher moves around the room discussing the notation system groups have used.


Small group djembe rehearsal
10 mins

Using class djembes or their own constructed djembes, students rehearse the rhythm their group has notated.


Performance spotlight
15 mins

Those groups who wish to perform can do so.



Class observation/Teacher checklist
Student workbooks – notation samples

Student workbooks

Week 4: Lesson 4



Guest musician



Dr. Leif Sundstrup, Conductor of the Darwin Symphony Orchestra (DSO), presents notation, compositional tools (Sibelius), and modelling positive and constructive feedback


5 mins

Sample notation system
A sample of percussion notation used in orchestra is presented.

Sample notation

15 mins

Example of compositional application (Sibelius)



Presenting original composition (DSO) performance – James Bond theme.
Demonstrates adding and deleting notes, mute, solo, and change of rhythmic timing of notes by drag and drop technique.


Discuss feedback
10 mins

Present conductor strategies for positive and constructive feedback. Student activity – students responding to directions and feedback.


Whole group performance
10 mins

Students perform Ibo (Polyrhythm) for guest and receive feedback, as well as respond to their own performance.



Class observation/Teacher checklist
Student discussion and questions for guest
Giving and receiving feedback – teacher observation

Teacher checklist

Week 5: Lesson 5A Excursion



ICT excursion


5A Excursion

Excursion to Teaching and Learning with ICT – Bring Your Own Class Program


120 mins

See Lesson Plan (2 hours) BYOC 6 Broome excursion
Students explore ICT applications to make and respond to music (2 bar ostinatos).

BYOC handout


Class observation/Teacher checklist
Student workbooks (notation samples)
Checklists: Audacity and Sampler
Student workbooks – notations
Recorded ostinatos (formative assessment)

Teacher checklist
Audacity and Sampler checklists

Lesson 5B Class based



Notating ostinatos and recording final sample


5 mins

In-class extension of ICT excursion, presented by Bill Wade of Teaching and Learning with ICT – Department of Education and Child services (DECS).


25 mins

Students notate a final ostinato composition.

BYOC handout

Recording stations x 4
25 mins

Four recording stations are set up using laptop computers and the same recording application (Audacity) from Field Excursion.
Demonstrate using a click track and cutting/editing (teacher-led).
Final sample of the ostinato is recorded either individually or ensemble.

Audacity application

5 mins

Class observation/Teacher checklist
Student workbooks (notation samples)
Checklists: Audacity (completed)
Recorded ostinatos (summative assessment)

Teacher checklist
Student workbooks

Week 6: Lesson 6


Sharing individual compositions

Final performance and presentation of composed ostinatos


5 mins

Reinforce guidelines for feedback, and assure that feeling nervous about performing is OK.


Final performances
30 mins

Individual or ensemble presentation of compositions (making).
Practise positive and constructive feedback (responding).


Student reflections
10 mins

Students complete reflection rubric noting positive feedback/constructive criticism and how it felt to receive feedback (responding).

Reflection rubric


Collect final student work samples (notebooks and recordings)
Collect reflection rubrics
Teacher observation and checklist

Work samples
Reflection rubrics

This project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.