Based in San Francisco, is an early childhood education blog by Tiva Lee Samaru. HER posts explore; through videos and other resources - original early childhood education curricula and ideas for enrichment classes, as well as, tips and tricks for classroom management and general childcare.

Instruments of Trinidad & Tobago

Instruments of Trinidad & Tobago

Caribbean music is great in that, there are so many different types of instruments, some of which are not well known and some of which aren't even "real" instruments.


But for the sake of music, anything that produces some sort of melodic sound can be deemed an instrument.

Growing up in the Caribbean, Tiva was always surrounded by different types of unorthodox instruments. As a teenager, during her secondary school life, beating rhythms on desktops was a normal way of making music. Friends would gather around the desktop player and they would all break into song. They would make music using anything and at any time they could get a chance to do so.

During Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago and even during the rest of the year, this too is a normal occurrence. People turn all sort of things into instruments, even a coconut shell if they have to. 

Because of this phenomenon, we chose to focus on some of these instruments that can be heard during the Carnival season. From steel pan to drums and everything in between, we had a lot to choose from. Using the instruments from our recent Rhythm Section arts & crafts project, we made up a little song about them for our story time class.

The following activity is a descriptive song that teaches children about some of the different types of musical instruments that are played either regularly or during Carnival time in the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. The focus of this activity is to expose them to this information through song and visual aids.

How did it go?

Story time activities go by a lot easier because sometimes children just like to sit and observe. In essence, learn by watching. With this activity, that demeanor was the right one to have. It was nice that our students remained engaged throughout, mainly because of the visual aids. They did the work on their own. Yes the song was catchy and yes some of our students chimed in by singing along with us, but, at the same time they were just happy to look at the aids and were very eager at times to ask questions about them. It is good to have this different type of class dynamic. Students don't always have to be physically engaged. They don't have to be up and about dancing and jumping around. They can learn in this way too. 

If you'd like your students to be more physically involved, then feel free to give them a chance to play around with the instruments. You can also teach them the song and related hand motions so they can join in with you. 

Take a look!

Looking for a nice informative and easy going story time activity? Then watch our video. You will see the instruments we so highly spoke of and you will be able to learn the song as well as have a general idea of the flow of the activity. Also, check out our arts & crafts video (see link above) to see how we made the instruments!

Get To Playin',

Tiva & Randa

Carnival sounds

Carnival sounds

Carnival parade

Carnival parade