Vietnamese Music Lesson Plan

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

This lesson introduces students to Vietnamese music and instruments. Students will listen to recordings of Vietnamese music and instruments and will then work in groups to create presentations comparing Vietnamese music to a popular musical genre.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Identify and describe the different types of Vietnamese music
  • Identify and describe various instruments used to create Vietnamese music
  • Compare and contrast Vietnamese music to popular musical genres


2+ hours (additional time for extension activity)

Curriculum Standards


Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.


Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.


  • Audio/video recordings of Vietnamese music and people playing the dan tranh, dan bau, and the t'rung
  • Computers (optional for group presentations)
  • Copies of lesson and/or lesson quiz (optional)
  • Instruments to create Vietnamese-like songs (optional for extension activity)


  • Play an example audio/video recording of a Vietnamese song. Ask the students to discuss where they think the song originated and what instruments were used to create it.
  • Tell the students that they will be learning about Vietnamese music.
  • Review the lesson Vietnamese Music: Instruments & Types with students online or by using paper copies of the lesson.
  • Discuss the following the students:
    • Why is Vietnamese music so diverse?
    • Describe how Vietnamese music is modal. How is it different than music in the United States?
    • How is Vietnamese music improvised?
    • Describe nha nhac music. When is it played?
    • What is ca tru?
    • Describe theater music in Vietnam.
    • What is the dan tranh? How is it played?
    • What is dan bau? How is it played?
    • Describe the wind instruments used to play Vietnamese music.
    • What is the t'rung? How is it played?
  • Play additional audio/video examples of Vietnamese music (preferably examples of nha nhac, ca tru, and theater music) and examples of each instrument from the lesson being played. Encourage the students to listen to the music and think about how it may sound similar to or different from some of the music they hear on the radio.

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