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Exploring Rhythms and Performing as an Ensemble

Samba - Scheme of Work and Lesson Pathways

Samba - Scheme of Work and Lesson Pathways

Includes Scheme of Work Overview, Unit Learning Objectives, Learning Outcomes and Lesson Pathways.

Samba - DOITNOW (Starters) and Plenary Activities

Samba - “DOITNOW” Presentation

Cutting down on printables, file storage and media files, the “new look” Musical Contexts “DOITNOW” Samba lesson openers Presentation contains  a wealth (only two samples shown here), of effective “DOITNOW’s” when delivering the Samba unit in just one place - all audio and video files are embedded and there’s accompanying Teacher’s Notes in the “slide comments” section. 

Samba - Plenary Review Activities

A series of lesson reviews where pupils review their learning and understanding.

Samba - 5 Minutes Silent Reading

For teachers who prefer to begin their lessons with quiet, focused openers.  All contain “Questions to Think About” which can also be used as Cover or Homework tasks.

1. Introducing Samba

2. Samba and Samba Schools

3. Instruments of Samba

4. The Structure of Samba

Samba - “Samba de Janeiro” Performing Resources

Samba - General Resources

Samba - Cover and Homework Resources

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This unit introduces the polyrhythmic style of Latin-American Samba and revises and revisits may key concepts concerning rhythm, beat and pulse from pupil’s learning including features such as polyrhythms, cyclic rhythms, syncopation, ostinato and call and response.

The experience of performing together as a class or larger group ensemble aims to give pupils the exhilaration and physical impact of ensemble percussion music. 

The unit is based around a flexible class Samba piece - an arrangement of Bellini’s “Samba de Janiero” where original melodic parts have been adapted and Samba percussion rhythms added to form various sub-sections: Intro, Groove, Breaks, Mid-Sections and Coda which are learned over a series of lessons and “added to” as the unit progresses.  The Form and Structure of this arrangement of “Samba de Janeiro” follows the traditional layout of a piece of Samba including sections which feature call and response, syncopation and the opportunity for rhythmic improvisation within an overall structure. 

During the unit, pupils learn about the timbres and sonorities of instruments within a Samba band, how Samba has influenced popular music and through music theory and dictation explore the effect that syncopation has on music.

Samba - Music Theory and Rhythm Dictation

Samba Theory - Syncopation

2-page worksheet on identifying syncopated vs. non-syncopated Samba rhythms, completing the missing barlines in syncopated Samba rhythms and adding pulse/beat counts below syncopated Samba rhythms.  Contains answers.

Samba Rhythm Dictation

Rhythm Grid and Single line rhythm dictation using Samba rhythms performed on instruments of Samba featuring syncopation in 4/4 time.   Answers provided.  All of the accompanying audio extracts are provided on the audio file. 

Key Words, Concepts and Musical Knowledge

Call and Response, Cyclic Rhythm, Improvisation, Ostinato, Percussion, Polyrhythm, Polyrhythmic Texture, Pulse, Rhythm, Syncopation, Sambista, Intro, Groove, Break, Mid-Section, Coda, Instruments of Samba: Surdo, Repinique, Tamborim, Chocolo, Reco-Reco, Apito, Agogo Bella, Caixa de Guerro.

Music Theory


Links to GCSE Music

Rhythms of the World









Samba Score 1

“Samba de Janeiro”

Percussion Parts

Samba MIDI 1

“Samba de Janeiro”


Samba MIDI 2

“Samba de Janeiro”


Samba MIDI 3

“Samba de Janeiro”


Samba MIDI 4

“Samba de Janeiro”


Samba Score 2 “Samba de Janeiro”

Melodic Parts


“Samba de Janeiro”

Melodic Parts over Percussion Groove


“Samba de Janeiro”

Melodic Parts





Group 1-4 Samba Instrument Posters

Useful for class display to group pupils into “Samba Instrument Groups”

Instruments of Samba Presentation

Instruments of Samba Card Sort

Instruments of Samba Worksheet


Instruments of Samba Audio - Reinsamba Samba Batacuda


Rhythmically Speaking:
Samba Ensemble

Video showing Mark Taylor, director of Rhythmically Speaking, combining Primary School pupils into a Samba ensemble.

Samba for Kids




Samba Crossword


Samba Word Search

Samba Mask Design




Samba Presentation 1 - “Samba de Janeiro”

Samba de Janeiro Scores 1 & 2 with .wav  embedded files for class display

“Samba de Janeiro” - Bellini


Planning a Performance of “Samba de Janeiro” planning sheet