African Music Activities

Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

African music delights with unique sounds, instruments and movements. However, many people have never even heard African music. These activities are designed to share the beauty of African music as you teach students about its elements and nuances.

African Music Activities

African music features strong beats, chants, and even clicks and yodels. Students will be thrilled to hear the sounds of African music and may even desire to create their own versions of these entertaining melodies. These simple and fun activities will give them the chance to do just that.

African Rainstick Activity

African rainsticks serve the purpose of calling for rain. However, they create a unique melody as well and this activity introduces students to this enticing sound.


  • Audio clips of African rainstick sounds and/or video clips of the use of African rainsticks
  • Empty paper towel rolls
  • Dried beans and rice
  • Aluminum foil
  • Rubber bands
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paint brushes


  • Begin by playing the audio or video of African rainsticks for the class.
  • Now pass out the paper towel rolls, one per student, as you explain that the students will be creating their own African rainsticks.
  • Have the students cover one end of the paper towel roll with aluminum foil, securing it with a rubber band.
  • Now tell the class to fill the paper towel roll with one handful of dried beans and one handful of dried rice.
  • Next they should cover the open end of the paper towel roll with aluminum foil, securing it with a rubber band.
  • Invite the students to paint their African rainsticks with the acrylic paints to reflect native African style.
  • Allow the rainsticks to dry.
  • Finally, give the class time to create their own version of African music with their rainsticks.

African Drum Activity

Drums are at the center of most African melodies. This activity gives students a chance to bang it out on their very own African drum.


  • Assorted selections of African music prominently featuring drums
  • Empty whipped topping plastic tubs or large margarine tubs
  • Heavy weight plastic wrap or thin vinyl fabric
  • Large rubber bands
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paintbrushes

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