Roots of Rhythm World Drumming Teacher Workshop 2007
Title: Literature and Songs of Native American Tribes from California Cynthia Chambers
July 20, 2007
Grade Category----3 and 4 grades.
Cross Cultural Connections in Geography and the History of California,
Fine Arts: Music and Drama, Science (Native American drum making)
and Language Arts .
Learning about the music of Native American cultures through a Native American story and game songs
of California tribes.
Learning to sight sing a pentatonic song with solfeg (Kodaly), playing the rhythm with TUBS and standard
notation using syllables for rhythms (Orff)
Reading rhythms and performing on instruments as a group to accompany singing, using ostinato native
rhythms by using glocks,.recorders, native drums, shakers and rattles.
Listening to, analyzing and describing music of different cultures with a comparison of the characteristics
of two cultures.
Understanding music through the relationships between history and culture.
Understanding how historical stories relate to cultural history through dramatic performance.
1.2 Read, write, and perform pentatonic patterns, using solfege.
2.3 Play rhythmic and melodic ostinatos on classroom instruments.
2.1 Sing with accuracy in a developmentally appropriate range
3.1 Identify the uses of music in various cultures and time periods
3.2 Sing memorized songs from diverse cultures.
3.3 Play memorized songs from diverse cultures.
3.4 Compare musical styles from two or more cultures.
3.5 Recognize the influence of various cultures on music in California.
3.1 Identify theatrical or storytelling traditions in the cultures of ethnic groups throughout the history of
2.3 Design or create costumes, props, makeup, or masks to communicate a character in formal or
5.1 Dramatize events in California history.
4.1 Develop and apply appropriate criteria or rubrics for evaluating a theatrical experience
2.2 Write descriptions that use concrete sensory details to present and support unified impressions of, or
experiences, people, places, things.
Discuss the major nations of California Indians, including their geographic distribution, economic
activities, legends, and religious beliefs.
Identify geographical features in their local region (e.g., deserts, mountains, valleys, hills, coastal areas,
Describe national identities of Native Americans, their religious beliefs, customs, and various folklore and
1. Book source---They Came Singing, “Songs From California’s History,” published by Calicanto
Associates, Oakland, California. Story “Cloud Maiden Tale”on pages 14-17, game song on
page 18 and bird dance on page 12, Achumawi tribe, Miwok tribe of the Sierras and the Mojave
desert tribe, respectively.
2. Map of California with mountain ranges and rivers marked, showing California tribes’ names and
locations, with pictures of various geological environments.
3. Music Chart showing characteristics of Native American music of California.
4. TUBS paper for notation of rhythms.
5. Marked and unmarked bones for the game song.
6. Drum making supplies (hoops, tape. markers and feathers).
7. Costumes (masks) for “Cloud Maiden Tale,” native jewelry, moccasins, cardboard clouds and
rocks for scenery, and
8. musical instruments (recorders, rain stick, home made drums, rattles and shakers).
1. With different color crayons students color areas of rivers,mountains and deserts on a map of
California, then circle the names of 3 tribes stated above on the map that shows locations of the
Native American tribes in California. Students draw and describe the various locations using
adjectives after looking at the pictures of these areas (scenery).
2. Teach TUBS notation before performing rhythms (tap on desks with finger or wrist), noting
3. Listen to Native America music and then talk about the use of percussion instruments (rattles,
shakers and drums) in Native American tribes and compare these characteristics with another
culture with the Fun Sheet from ROR.
4. Make Native American hand drums with hoops, tape, markers and feathers. Play various native
rhythms from the songs listed above, reading rhythm with TUBS, Orff rhythmic and traditional
5. Sing “Cloud Song” with solfeg notation and clap dotted rhythm using TUBS notation with
traditional notation above.
6. Select players to play recorders, native percussion instruments and teach melody and various
ostinatos to accompany singers on “Cloud Song.”
7. Read the play synopsis, then select the cast of 6 characters and a group of singers to sing the
cloud song for the play.
8. Rehearse various groups (singers, players and characters) separately with scripts and music
while a few students create the cardboard clouds and rocks for the scenery.
9. Block play movements of characters with scripts and practice music.
10. Dress Rehearsal in costume without scripts and with music accompaniment.
11. Perform play for other classes before public performance.
12. Extension: Learn to play game song (bone passing game) and duck dance with movements on
homemade percussion instruments and recorders. Students take turns playing the game or
playing instruments on steady beats, singing or moving to the beat on the duck dance. Then they
compare the characteristics of these Native American songs to each other (similar rhythms,
modes and melodic patterns).
1. Can students find rivers, lakes and mountains and name them on a California map and also the 3
tribes represented in the above songs?
2. Questions and answers about the characteristics of Native American music and the purpose of
drum music in these tribes.
3. Can students sightsing or play meodies with solfeg and other ways of reading rhythm (TUBS, Orff
syllables and traditional notation)?
4. Can students read drama tic parts clearly and with proper intonation?
5. Can students play to a steady beat?
6. Can students compare the characteristics of 2 different cultures and describe the characteristics
of similar cultures?