The Wind Blow East for the Elementary Music Classroom

The Wind Blow East is a fantastic song for practicing syncopation. Additional verses describing “Sunshine” and “China” give some insight into the meaning of this song. According to the HNU Kodaly Center, “The Sunshine and the China were ships; they were lying in Kingston Harbor during a hurricane and were blown out of the water and into the streets of the town.” Beyond this information, there’s little to be found for the history of this song.


There are no less than ten occurrences of syncopation (specifically syn-co-pa) in this song, when you include the repeated refrain. This makes it great for practicing syncopation. One way to do this is through a clapping game. And since this song doesn’t traditionally include one, I decided to make one up! This clapping game is for socially distanced classrooms, so you can use it whether you’re face to face, hybrid, or any other combination.

Like the clapping game for Four White Horses, students will clap to the beat while singing (or chanting) the song. This is a bit of a challenge, but a good way to differentiate syncopated rhythms from the steady beat. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Students should do the motions on the beat, not with the rhythm of the words.
  • The visuals are mirrored to make them easier to follow. For example, during “the wind blow east”, students should pat their left shoulder.
  • The pink highlights in the visual show which hand(s) to pat.
    • No pink highlights indicate that the hands are resting in their lap.
  • When it’s safe to be in the classroom without social distancing, you can easily modify the clapping game to include partners. Simply have students pat the hands of their partners during the clapping sections. Everything else can remain the same.

You can download a free PDF of these visuals HERE.

You can download a free PDF of these visuals HERE.