African Drumming

In our last workbook for this half term, we have a variety of learning experiences for our Year 5 children.  The main aim to to play a variety of different African rhythms (like the “Fanga”), create our own and perform different one bar ostinati repeatedly and simultaneously in four large groups, reducing to six small groups by the end of the unit.  So basically this is a unit on rhythm and performing and composing together.

We sing a variety of African songs (“Si si si” and “A keelie”) and a pseudo-African song (Amani Utupe) which is inspired from real African songs.  We also listen and watch the Ugandan acholi bwala dance and David Fanshawe’s “African Sanctus” and talk about how he recorded it in the 1970’s.  We do Orff activities using “Funga Alafia” and “Banuwa” and learn about simple three-part harmonies and transfer these from song into harmonies on tuned percussion instruments.  In our department we are lucky enough to have enough djembes for one each and we also have some dhuns and some talking drums.

I’ve found that many students have a very poor idea of Africa so we spend some time thinking about the continent and some of the countries within it.  I’ve got a Ugandan drum that was given to me as a present and I show some photos of when my wife and baby went to a Ugandan wedding (sadly I had already signed up for summer school so couldn’t go).  The composition task is a simpler version of the one in Musical Contexts.  This is an excellent resource site and highly recommended, especially if you teach KS2, 3 and 4.

The children love African Drumming.  I hope you find the links helpful and feel free to download an print the workbook below.

Year 5 African Drumming Workbook