Samba Reggae

This Brazilian drumming genre can be performed with natural trumpets alone, natural trumpets and voice, or natural trumpets and drums if your school is lucky enough to have Brazilian percussion instruments. You will need two Surdos (high and low), a few tamborims (small hand drum hit with a stick or beater), and a few agogos (two tone bells). You can even add shakers, or vocalized shakers (“shaka,shaka,shaka,etc…”) for some added spice. It is best to teach the rhythms first using the suggested words before having students play them on trumpets or drums. (download and print sheet music below)

  1. Have all students first say the surdo part together in rhythm while you play the part on drums (if you have them).
  2. If possible, add movement by having students step side-to-side with the beat.
  3. Have all students say the agogo part while you play it on a two-tone bell.
  4. Finally have all students say the tambourim part while you play it. Since it is on offbeats it can be very challenging for students to stay on track. Be on the lookout for those who can manage it so you know who to assign the part to.
  5. Once students are able to stay on track saying each part, divide them into three groups and see if they can stay on track while layering the parts, starting with surdo, then agogo, and then tamborim.
  6. Watch some videos and discuss the African origins of Brazilian music with students (see sample videos below).
  7. Repeat the same process (#1-5 above) on the natural trumpet until students can begin with layering and keep on track.
  8. Teach everyone the “Break & Call Out.” You may need to have everyone stomp their feet on beats 3 and 4 to get the 16th notes in the right spot.
  9. Rehearse the “Break and Call Out” with trumpet (and drums).
  10. Practice transitioning from the “Break and Call Out” to the Samba Reggae parts, first with voice, and then on trumpets.
  11. To end the piece, have students practice transitioning from the Reggae parts into the “Break and Call Out,” finishing abruptly. You will need to practice giving them a visual cue one measure before the transition.
  12. Try playing at various speeds to keep things fresh.
  13. Now you have plenty of elements to make up an arrangement that will get everyone moving to the groove!