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The common coquí is a species of frog that’s unique to Puerto Rico. It’s also the subject of today’s song. The song talks about the sounds of the coquí and how that familiar sound brings comfort and peace. If you’d like to explore more Latin-American folk songs, be sure to check out the works of José-Luis Orozco.

NOTATION

MOVEMENT

As always, I suggest introducing this song with movement. If you have a frog puppet, now’s the time to bring it out! You can sing the song while keeping a beat with the puppet or you can play the recording below.

Ask your students to sway to the beat as they listen. In this case, the dotted half gets the beat at 60 beats per minute (or whatever the tempo is in the recording you choose). When you play the recording the second time through, welcome students to join in singing the refrain as they keep the beat on their bodies.

MAKING CONNECTIONS WITH TIMBRE

Though the coquí is specific to Puerto Rico, many students can relate to the sounds of creatures that remind them of home. Cicadas and crickets are some examples. If your students live in a bigger city, it may be the sounds of vehicles and bustling sidewalks that are most familiar to them. Ask your students what sounds make them think of where they live.

Once you have a list of sounds, encourage a discussion about timbre. Here are some sample questions you can offer:

  • What makes the sound unique?
  • How would you describe the sound of a cricket to someone who’d never heard one before?
  • Is the sound scratchy or smooth?
  • Is the sound piercing or mellow?

RHYTHM INSTRUMENTS

Steady beat practice is the perfect opportunity to play rhythm instruments. Have students sway to the beat of the verse and before, then play the steady beat on their instruments as they sing the refrain. If you’re a traveling teacher, have students use found objects as their instruments. They can tap a pencil against their desk’s metal legs or pat the bottom of their plastic chair like a drum. If given the chance, students come up with varying and unique sounds created by objects around them.

Once you’ve finished playing and singing, bring up the topic of timbre again. This time, ask students about the timbre of their rhythm instruments or found objects. Again, offer questions for discussion:

  • What makes the instrument sound unique?
  • How would you describe the sound of rhythm sticks to someone who’d never heard them before?
  • Is the sound sharp or dull?
  • Is the sound harsh or mellow?