World Music For Preschool Music Lessons and Concerts

  • A Music Box Teacher has asked about World Music for a Concert Theme for Preschoolers. I think this is also a great topic for preschool music lessons too. Though this discussion is in the Music Box Forum at, I thought I would also post in the Music Box Blog to hopefully have as many as possible contribute to this topic. Let me first name a few from, and a few of my favorite resources.

    With preschool, it might be nice to have a few instrumental pieces and use an unpitched instrument or simple movement. Doingseveralsongs in different languages might be a challenge for them (and you if they are not especially fun and interesting to the kids!) so I would suggest choosing an instrumental song or two as well. Its great to watch them copy or echo or learn a movement or playing part to go with an instrumental piece.  Here’s a few instrumental ideas:

    From Music Rhapsody’s Our Favorite Shenanigans CD:

    Los Machetes – This is great with our short rhythm sticks.  (too difficult and dangerous with long ones!) Click Our Favorite Shenanigans for directions for Preschool and Elementary ideas.There are some other great pieces on this CD with the ideas on this download. Some are very successful for preschoolers.  Many countries claim the Bird or Chicken Dance. Perhaps you’d like to include the audience in on this one! 

    From the Music Rhapsody’s Brilliant Beginnings CD:

    Jackson’s Morning Brush (Irish) can be an echo song using hand drums. The teacher gives very simple 4 beat ways to play the hand drum such as hitting with a flat hand, hitting with one finger, swishing the fingers back and forth, hitting with an elbow, hitting on the knee, etc.    After the teacher plays 4 beats, the children play 4 beats the exact same way.Don’t forget to ask the children for their ideas on how to play or even consider having some children be the leader!

    Powama (Native American) is great with shakers such as maracas or shaker eggs. Follow the teacher or leader to shake high, low, side to side, move in a circular direction, shake with both hands, transfer shaker from hand to hand, etc.

    Many of the good materials available for world music are much more appropriate for Elementary Students.However, there are a few I have used from World Music Press that have been successful.

    From Patricia Shehan Campbell, Let Your Voice Be Heard contains Kye Kye Kule. This song from Africa is great for echo movement though I usually don’t do this younger than the 4 year olds. In her other collection, Roots & Branches,  Bonjour Mes Amis is a wonderful little song to learn basic French phrases. However, you can say “hello my friends” in lots of different languages and do the verses that way instead of all French phrases. Other songs in this beautiful collection can be simplified. The great thing about these collections is they include the CD and great information about the pieces as well as teaching tips.

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