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Teaching Thru Gamelan

Created by Vera Flaig and Jesse Johnston

The art and music of the Javanese gamelan can be used to teach arts and music, language arts and drama, social studies, science, and movement at all grade levels. The lesson plans provided through CSEAS are geared toward grades K-5. The goal of these lesson plans and corresponding materials is to support teachers in incorporating Southeast Asian arts and music into their classes. These lessons provide a diverse perspective to students by providing an opportunity to explore the music, drama, and culture of Central Java.

Field trips to visit the gamelan can be arranged through the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments. Please email for details and availability.

Lesson plans and materials available to download or request:

History of Central Javanese Gamelan: A short overview of Javanese court history that shaped Javanese gamelan music. (pdf)

Human Gamelan: Explores the concepts of frequency (speed of a vibration commonly known as pitch) and duration (length of vibration) through movement and sound.

  • Lesson Plan (pdf)
  • Notation for “Bubaran Kembang Pacar” (pdf)
  • Sound recording of Kembang Pacar

Glass Gamelan
: Constructing a Gamelan – a prerequisite/co-requisite to “Learning to Play Ricik Ricik” (pdf)

Learning to Play “Ricik Ricik” – a piece that only has two musical phrases, and each of these repeats. This piece can be played in either the slendro or pelog tuning systems.

  • Lesson Plans (pdf)
  • Score of Ricik Ricik in Staff Notation (pdf)

Wayang (shadow puppet play): a theatrical performance with puppets or human dancers. When the term is used to refer to kinds of puppet theatre, sometimes the puppet itself is referred to as “wayang.”

  • Lesson Plans (pdf)
  • Shadow Puppet templates (pdf)
  • Script of “Lyrical Tension: The Mahabharata” (pdf)

Gamelan Outreach Music Slides: These slides introduce the basic concepts, instruments, and structures that characterize Javanese gamelan music. These accompany the three introductory lessons that use the song “Ricik Ricik” as well as the Glass Gamelan lesson. (pdf)

Gamelan Outreach Puppetry Slides: These slides introduce the social and musical concepts behind Javanese shadow puppetry. This accompanies the Wayang Lessons. (pdf)