African Musical Instruments Lesson Plan

Instructor: Tammy Galloway

Tammy teaches business courses at the post-secondary and secondary level and has a master's of business administration in finance.

Teachers, this lesson plan introduces students to African musical instruments and allows them to create an instrumental song. Students will also read the lesson, participate in discussions, and take a quiz.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • discuss the purpose of music in Africa
  • identify the characteristics of five musical instruments originated from Africa
  • describe the sound of these instruments


60 minutes; extension (30 minutes)

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.1

Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.2

Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; trace the text's explanation or depiction of a complex process, phenomenon, or concept; provide an accurate summary of the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.4

Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9-10 texts and topics.



  • Begin this lesson by asking students to identify and discuss their favorite instrument.
  • Then explain that this lesson explores African musical instruments.
  • Distribute a copy of the African Musical Instruments: Types & Facts lesson, select a volunteer to read 'African Music' out loud, then start the following discussion:
    • Identify specific purposes Africans utilized music besides entertainment.
    • Name materials used to construct African musical instruments.
  • Now, choose another student to read 'Percussion Instruments', then pose these discussion questions:
    • Describe a shekere.
    • What is a djembe?
    • Identify the characteristics of a balafon.
  • Next, select another student to read the remainder of the lesson, then ask the following:
    • How would you describe a kora?
    • What is a kalimba and how is it played?
    • Why do you believe only males can play certain instruments?
    • Which one of these instruments would you like to play? Why?
  • Next, distribute the lesson quiz and require students to complete in pairs.

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