Using TikTok: Bonga Cha Cha Cha

In my last post, I discussed how to incorporate TikTok’s Chopping Dance into your classroom. Today, I’ll be going over a different trend, which includes music with syncopation. The Bongo Cha Cha Cha trend features the song (of the same name) written in 1959 by Ernst Bader, Ralf Arnie, Werner Müller and Giuseppe Perotti, and famously sung by Caterina Valente. Valente is an accomplished musician, dancer, and actor. She speaks six languages and sings in eleven. Bongo Cha Cha Cha, was thrust back into the spotlight when it was used for the soundtrack in Spiderman: Far from Home. Two years later, the song became viral on TikTok.

The Bongo Cha Cha Cha trend features videos in which users explain how they’ve disappointed their parents. What I love about this trend, is that people are embracing what makes them wonderfully human, even if it isn’t valued or appreciated by their parents. While you may not feature the actual videos in class, I think it’s important to know about the trend before presenting the music that’s featured in them.


Below is part of the notation for the chorus of Bongo Cha Cha Cha. This part of the song happens after a short instrumental introduction, and is the section in which the “disappointment” is first revealed in the TikTok video. You can listen to the full song HERE.


Have students work in groups to recreate the beat and rhythms using rhythm instruments. They can also add in additional rhythms, “spice”, as part of their own arrangement. Here are some guidelines you can use as a starting point. If you like the guidelines as is, you can download the free worksheet below to use in your classroom.

  • You should have at least three parts in your arrangement: beat, rhythm, & “spice”
    • The “spice” will be the rhythms you add to the arrangement that are not in the original recording
  • Write down the notation of your ”spice” in the space provided
  • When you perform your arrangement, there needs to be at least one person playing each part
    • You do not need to play the same part each time, you just need to ensure that each part is represented


If your students need an additional challenge, you can block out the rhythm section, and ask them to decode it before starting on their arrangement. You can differentiate by choosing specific sections for students to decode. If they’re familiar with the song, they will find the “Bongo la, Bongo Cha Cha Cha” section the easiest to decode.