3. Organising a musical performance

Making music is a form of communication: instruments and voices ‘talk’, communicating feelings, thoughts and ideas. Music reflects and creates culture, and it is always dynamic – changing and developing. In Africa, music is important in creating social cohesion (unity) and can be important in the classroom.

In this part, you will build on the previous activities to organise a whole-class performance. The way you set up the activity can contribute to pupils’ cooperative and listening skills.

Case Study 3: The value of group music making

Saa’s passion is making music in a group. The feeling she gets playing the Udu drum, or singing in the choir is a special one of togetherness. She wants to share this feeling with her pupils; to experience what it’s like to make music together when everyone is listening sensitively to each other.

Saa travels from Abuja to Owerri and visits a small primary school away from the city to visit the arts and culture teacher. As she arrives, she comes across a festival. Groups of young boys try out their flutes and drums in preparation. In the dusty playground, Saa listens and watches as a group of 50 children move and make music together – each one contributing, each one watching and listening as they tell the story of the dance.

Inspired by the flautists and the dance, she decides that her own pupils back in Abuja need to experience what it’s like to ‘become one’ through music. After talking to the teachers and learning more about the cultural significance of the music and dance, she returns home to plan a lesson where her pupils make music together.

Resource 6: Musical pipes shows how musical instruments can be made for your pupils to play.

Key Activity: Music making

Before the first lesson, read Resources 3 and 4.

  • Ask your pupils if any of them play an instrument. If they do, ask them to bring them to school.
  • The next day, ask the pupils who have brought instruments to show them and play them to the class.
  • Ask your pupils if they know any songs or praise poems. If they do, ask them tell you the words. You write these on the board.
  • Ask the pupil to sing the poem/song and then ask the class to join in as you sing it again.
  • Repeat until the class are comfortable singing.
  • Now, ask those who play instruments to join in as well.

Practise the whole song until everyone is happy and then perform it to another class or at an Open Day.

2. Working in groups to write a praise poem

Resource 1: Exploring sound