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We Love Calypso Lesson Plan

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Lesson Plan #: AELP-MUS0210
Submitted by: David Demnitz
Email: ddemnitz@workingfamilies.com
School/University/Affiliation: Greenburgh Eleven UFSD
Date: March 28, 2003

Grade Level: Kindergarten, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8


  • Arts/Music

Duration: 45 minutes

Description: A simple Calypso song with accompaniment playable by elementary general music students.

Goals: New York State Standards for the Arts :

  • Standard 1: Creating, Performing and Participating in the Arts (Perform music written by others. They will understand and use the basic elements of music in their performances and compositions. Students will engage in individual and group musical and music-related tasks).
  • Standard 2: Knowing and Using Arts Materials and Resources (Students will use traditional instruments, electronic instruments, and a variety of nontraditional sound sources to create and perform music. They will use various resources to expand their knowledge of listening experiences, performance opportunities, and/or information about music.)
  • Standard 4: Understanding the Cultural Dimensions and Contributions of the Arts (Develop a performing and listening repertoire of music of various genres, styles, and cultures that represent the peoples of the world and their manifestations in the United States. Students will recognize the cultural features of a variety of musical compositions and performances and understand the functions of music within the culture.)


  • Students will develop an understanding of melody and harmony.
  • Students will be able to distinguish musical styles of different cultures and eras.
  • Students will become familiar with elements of music (analysis of pitch) through keyboard activities.
  • Students will become familiar with ensemble behaviors and performance skills.
  • Materials:

    • musical instruments (electronic keyboards or Orff style instruments, percussion instruments)
    • We Love Calypso: Score and Teaching Guide
    • We Love Calypso: Score and Teaching Guide in .pdf format; requires free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

      Click the icon to obtain the free Reader.


  • Calypso – A style of music associated with Trinidad and the West Indies.
  • Carnival – A period of celebration preceding Lent. It is celebrated throughout the Americas and in Europe, sometimes referred to by different names.
  • Caribbean – Used to refer to Caribbean Sea and the islands in the Caribbean Sea. The Caribbean Sea is off the Southwest coast of the United States.
  • Chords – A combination of three or more musical tones sounded simultaneously.
  • Bass – Deep musical tones, usually played one at a time.
  • Scale – A series of musical tones, arranged in ascending or descending order.
  • Procedure:

    [Please see Materials for musical score.]

    Discuss the musical style with the students. It is associated with Carnival as celebrated in Trinidad in the English speaking Caribbean; its rhythms are of African origin. The music is used to march in parades and to dance to; this style is especially appropriate for marching in clubs, which spend the whole year preparing to perform in Carnival celebrations and parades. Sing the song for the students while playing the accompaniment. Review pitch organization with students. Have them identify middle C, the C above and the G between. They’ll have to find the G to begin the melody and then jump up to the C above.

    Divide the class into two groups. Have them count in time ‘1, 2, 1, 2’. Explain that the song is in 2/4. Have one group clap quarter notes, and have the others group clap the ‘a’ sixteenth note of one and the ‘and’ of two. Compare this rhythm to a simple ‘1 and 2 and 1 and 2 and’ rhythm, of even eighth notes. Switch the groups’ tasks, so each group has an opportunity to play both rhythms. Teach the students to sing the song. It’s so simple, they’ve probably learned it already.

    Assign instruments to students. Have them play the simple two note chords, then the bass, and then the full triads. Get some of them to play percussion instruments in two groups: the quarter note rhythm and the off beats. If you have a drum kit, and someone can play the rhythm on bass and snare, have them do that.

    Have the ensemble play the accompaniment, and stop after four measures. Regroup and try again until they can play through four bars musically and in time. Try to play the music without stopping at the end of each four bar phrase. Now you can add the singing, the dancing, the fooling around. Kids can switch instruments and learn other roles. Teach the melody last; good luck getting them to wait until after the first beat before beginning the melody!

    Assessment: Teacher observation of student participation and ability to play instrumental accompaniment.

    Useful Internet Resource:
    * New York State Standards for the Arts