Spirituals are so great! They are often upbeat and their repetitive lyrics and (usually) pentatonic melodies make them easy to learn and useful as teaching tools for lots of things:

  • Recorders (there are lots of B-A-G patterns).
  • Melody lessons with pentatonic scale
  • Many of them lend themselves to using a bordun on xylophones (see Orff)
  • Steady beat – it’s easy to find the strong beats in most of these songs – so that lends itself to moving and playing to the beat
  • Rhythm – some of them work well to introduce half notes or whole notes
  • Adding sign language
  • By the way, whenever you see eighth notes notated in the spirituals, feel free to swing them.
  • Read more about the benefit of Spirituals here.


See also