Djembes, EYFS, KS1, Songwriting

Djembes; composing sea songs

B6F13C87-7198-436E-BC2E-DBE0517E7AF4I absolutely loved this weeks session. I knew by now the sessions needed to get mixed up a bit to keep engagement so I decided to continue on from storytelling  and compose a song.

It was a windy, rainy day so was quite apt as I told them we were going on a boat adventure at sea. Off we marched and sat in the middle of the room. After our warm up song we played a call and echo game.

I put on a djembe backing track and sung  ‘hey, hey’ song (from Sing Up). 

“Hey, hey look at me, I am clapping, clap with me.”

And the children echo back.  You can then add all sorts of body percussion sounds like stomp, tap, scratch, stroke, honk your nose etc. I then sing “Hey, hey look at me, find a drum, just like me.” We then practice our bass and natural tones and other ways to play the drum like scratching, rubbing, tapping.

The drums are set up in two crescent moons facing each other today. I continue this song whilst setting the scene. 

“We are on a sailing boat at sea….what things remind you of the sea”.

I model a few ideas like;

“Hey, hey look at me; I’m a boat, play with me….I’m a mermaid, I’m a whale, I’m a shark etc.”

And I use the drum to make the sound. I then ask the children for their ideas and they come and demonstrate in the middle. We had some brilliant and creative ideas. Crab, ghost shark, whale, fish, sand, treasure chest, gold, mermaids, sailing, waves, dolphins. The sounds and actions they made on the drums were brilliant!

We then make a quick rain storm using our fingers first for the drip drops and build up to pitted patter and then storm Yr 1, they were so good at it that nursery were invited in to listen.

I then explained we were going to use these sounds to compose our own piece of music. We could pick three things from the sea and make a story. For example;

  1. We are on a sailing boat
  2. We meet a mermaid
  3. We arrive at treasure island

But just before we composed in our two groups I played a quick game putting on a sea shanty tune which the children could play along to with any of their ‘sea’ sounds and when I stopped the music I would see who could stop first. The winner would get to pick an instrument for their team to add to their composition. 


The results were brilliant;

Waves crashing, dolphins visit, crabs come and play, surfers surfing, storms, whales eating us, sharks chasing, treasure chests, magical mermaids and magic sandcastles.

LOVED this special music creating session!