West African songs and chantsWest African Songs and Chants from Folk Ways at the Smithsonian is actually a short scheme of work on African music for children. There are a few bits to listen to and some to try out. All of the music referred to is provided on that page so even just listening to the snippets and maybe trying some of the rhythms would introduce children to African music. This set of recordings is from Ghana.

With these segments, teachers are offered opportunities to use children’s music from Ghana, West Africa, to gain experience with basic polyrhythmic ensembles. Singing, chanting, dancing and playing instruments are included throughout the unit.” (West African Songs and Chants)

The driver’s union video is a great example of what children could actually try to do 😊 – they are using largely makeshift instruments. Through the videos clips, various different instruments are focussed upon, as is the way they are being played. It should be great fun to try something similar, possibly noisy too! This video was recorded for educational purposes and all the African people are dressed, making it is easy to watch in the classroom without upsetting any children of families who may find partial nudity upsetting.


With recorders, voices, homemade drums and shakers of every description, bells, hooters etc children should be able to make up their own African composition!

West African songs and chants
These Smithsonian Folk Ways lessons, West African Songs and Chants, are a good beginning. Even if you trying making music, there is plenty there for children to start listening and appreciating the African sounds.