Chinese New Year 2017 Begins Year of the Rooster


Chinese New Year is also known as Asian New Year, Lunar New Year, and the Asian Spring Festival. January 28, 2017 begins the year of the Rooster in the Lunar Calendar. Families celebrate by hanging special banners, eating special foods, lighting firecrackers, and giving money away in special red envelopes.

Aimee’s most recent O For Tuna blog post provides links to kid-friendly information on Chinese New Year as well as extension activities for this lesson.

New Year Song

If you need assistance to pronounce the Mandarin for Happy New Year, Xin Nian Kuai Le, Aimee provides this helpful video.


  • Teach melody with text.
  • Add “sweep” movement every two beats; pretend to hold broom, sweep side to side, transfer to bass and metallophone instruments, add snaps, transfer to glockenspiels, claps for TB (Temple Blocks).
  • Perform introduction with basses and soprano recorder solo or small ensemble playing melody.
  • Add “B” section with unpitched percussion.
  • Develop suggestions for performance.

Teacher Tip:

This is a great piece to break out the gongs and metals.  The noisier the better; firecrackers are lit at Chinese New Year to scare away the monster, Nian! Also consider using ribbon streamers and having some students use scarves to create a New Year Lion/Dragon dance.

Chinese New Year


Aimee’s books, Hands to Hands, Hand Clapping Songs and Games from Around the World, and Hands to Hands, Too: Hand Clapping Songs and Games from the USA and Canada can be viewed at or at

About Aimee Curtis Pfitzner

Aimee Curtis Pfitzner

Aimee Curtis Pfitzner has taught music for 27 years, 23 in her current position as Lower School Music Director at an independent school in Concord, North Carolina. She presents workshops at Orff Chapters around the US and Canada as well as National AOSA conferences. Aimee holds bachelor and master degrees in music education and Master's Level Orff Schulwerk certification. She is an editor with Beatin' Path Publications where she has four books available and is the author of


Teaching With Orff

We are so pleased that you enjoyed Aimee’s lesson. Happy New Year! – Your friends at Teaching With Orff


Hey Aimee! This looks great and I will definitely use it. Do you have any guidance as to the pronunciation or a recording of the words to hear? I would like to be as accurate as possible.

Aimee Pfitzner

Thanks for sharing, Kelsey. The tempo was a bit bright that day. 🙂
The B Section was also a bit different and has evolved to include words that reflect elements of Chinese New Year.

Fran Marino

I have the same request as Jessica. Pronunciation and recording for a guide would be very helpful. Thanks so much!


“Sweep” every two beats; this transfers to BM/BX and SM/AM. It is a shared level bordun; first half note will be played by BM/BX and second half note will be played by SM/AM. It is effective in teaching/reviewing/reinforcing the half note feel of these instrument parts.

Susan Kennedy

In the first measure, consider replacing “Xin Nian Kuai Le” with “Gong Xi Gong Xi.” It’s typical when greeting others during the new year time to say as one phrase, “Gong Xi, Gong Xi, Xin Nian Kuai Le!” “Gong Xi” means “Congratulations,” as in best wishes for the new year.


Do you mean the costume in the picture on the post? This is a stock photo. The costumes are often purchased by Asian Martial Arts businesses as their students often perform the lion/dragon dance at New Years Events. I have a dragon I made at my school, follow the post link for more information.

Susan L Kennedy

In the photo, those are lion costumes. Dragons have a long line of people in the tail and have a dragon head, lions only have two people.


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