Lesson 1: Here come the Egyptians (free lesson)

Children sing Egyptian themed vocal warm-ups and learn the song, 'Gift of the Nile'.

Before the lesson


  • Teacher video: Here come the Egyptians
Teacher video: Here come the Egyptians

Have ready


  • Activity: Egyptian vocal warm-ups (See Classroom resources) – one copy for the teacher
  • Activity: Gift of the Nile lyrics (See Classroom resources) – one per pupil

Download classroom resources

Activity: Egyptian vocal warm-ups
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Activity: The Gift of the Nile lyrics
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Learning objectives

  • To sing with accuracy fluency, control, and expression

National curriculum

Pupils should be taught to:

  • Play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices (and playing instruments) with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression

Success criteria

  • I can sing in time with other people and a backing track
  • I can follow or remember the lyrics
  • I can follow the tune

Cross-curricular links

  • Nothing relevant to this lesson

Attention grabber

Find out what your class already know about the Egyptians and then watch the link: ‘BBC History- Introducing Ancient Egypt’.

Use the key questions to discuss what the children have learned.

Explain that our new topic will take inspiration from the Egyptians and that the children will to learn to sing and play a song about the Egyptians, and compose and improvise their own music, writing this down using hieroglyphs and music notation.

Key questions

  • What do you know about the Egyptians?
  • Why was the Nile important? (Provided transport, and all water and food (when the Nile flooded, it made the land fertile and allowed crops to grow.)
  • Who were the Pharaohs? (Kings, who were also considered gods.)
  • What did the Egyptians build? (Pyramids, temples, monuments (sphinx), etc.)

Main event

Vocal warm-up (10 minutes)

Explain to the children that, as we are going to be singing, we need to warm up our bodies and voices. Use the Activity: Egyptian vocal warm-ups as described in the Teacher video: Here come the Egyptians.

Listening (5 minutes)

Hand out the Activity: Gift of the Nile lyrics and display the Presentation: Gift of the Nile performance and backing tracks.

Presentation: Gift of the Nile performance and backing tracks

Show on your interactive whiteboard.

Slide 2 of the Presentation: Gift of the Nile performance and backing tracks displays two audio links:

  • One for the performance track of ‘Gift of the Nile’.
  • One for the backing track of ‘Gift of the Nile’.

Play the audio file for the performance track and encourage the children to follow the words on the Activity: Gift of the Nile lyrics.

Ask the pupils for their first impressions of the song. Can the children use music vocabulary to describe the song? For example, the two vocal parts in the verses are each based on their own motif (a small group of notes used as a sound idea).

Learning the song (15 minutes)

Learn the song, ‘Gift of the Nile’, line by line through the call and response techniques demonstrated in the Teacher video: Here come the Egyptians. The children should learn the unison section of the song first and join in with the performance track whenever this is repeated.

Once the children are happy with this part, they can learn the verse, which is in two overlapping parts. Wait until pupils are confident with the tune and lyrics before splitting the class into two groups to sing the song as a whole, this time with using the backing track (also on slide 2 of the Presentation: Gift of the Nile performance and backing tracks).


Pupils needing extra support: Group these children together for the simplest part in the vocal warm-up activity. Pair with a more confident talk partner for the listening activity.

Pupils working at greater depth: Group these children together on the more challenging part in the vocal warm-up activity. Encourage them to describe the music using musical vocabulary.

Wrapping up

Perform the song and video the performance. Play back the recorded performance on the whiteboard and ask the children to suggest what they could do better next time.

Focus your questioning on the following important aspects of a good musical performance:

  • Whether everyone was in time and in tune.
  • Whether you could hear all the words.
  • Whether everyone looked like they were enjoying themselves.

Assessing pupils' progression and understanding

Pupils with secure understanding indicated by: Singing in time and in tune with other people and the backing track, remembering the lyrics.

Pupils working at greater depth indicated by: Using musical vocabulary to describe both the music of the song and the features of the performance that need improving.


  • Features

  • Notation

  • Repeating

  • Unison

Created by:
Elizabeth Stafford,  
Music specialist
After a brief spell as an opera singer, Liz embarked on a 20-year career in music education, teaching at early years, primary and secondary. After Liz had her daughter, she started her own business Music Education Solutions® Limited, helping teachers…
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