Call & Response Music Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Carrin Hahn

Carrin taught 3rd grade for ten years, worked as a learning specialist with K-5 students, and has a Master's degree in Elementary Education.

In this lesson, the students will learn about call and response music. They will find out where in the world this music is used, and they will experience it in action. The students will have a chance to create their own call and response songs.

Learning Objectives

Upon completing this lesson, the students will be able to

  • Explain what call and response music is
  • Distinguish between echo and call and response
  • Compose their own call and response song


45-60 minutes

Curriculum Standards

Please note that each state has different standards for music. Please consult your state's standards to ensure proper alignment.


Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.

Vocabulary and Phrases

  • Call and Response
  • Echo


  • Paper copies for Call and Response Music Lesson for Kids
  • Paper copies for the quiz
  • World map or globe
  • Examples of call and response music (found on recordings or online)
  • Musical instruments such as drums, tambourines, and/or maracas
  • Pencils and paper

Lesson Preparation

  • Before this lesson, find some examples of call and response music on recordings or on the computer. Choose one or two with musical instruments that are easy enough for the students to learn quickly.

Lesson Instructions

  • If you use clapping or a saying to get the students' attention, do that first. If you don't do this type of thing, teach them to respond with the mascot name after you call out the school name.
  • Do a few more. You can use the saying, 'When I say xxxx, you say zzzz. Xxxx, zzzz. Xxxx, zzzz.'
  • Explain to the students that these are examples of call and response, and they will learn more about how it is used in other parts of the world.
  • Pass out the paper copies of the lesson Call and Response Music Lesson for Kids.
  • Read over the lesson with the students. Pause to point out on the globe or map the places mentioned in the article.
  • Ask the following questions at the end of the reading:
    • What can you use for call and response music?
    • What is the difference between an echo and call and response? Does the first or second speaker/instrument make the difference?
    • In some African countries, call and response music is used for what kinds of meetings?
    • Why was call and response music useful for slaves in America?
    • In India, how do musicians bring their music together?
    • In some Native American cultures, how is call and response used in their traditional music?
  • After the reading and discussion, pass out the quiz.
  • Check the answers together as a class.

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