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

Aimee Curtis Pfitzner

Aimee Curtis Pfitzner has been the Lower School Music Director at Cannon School in Concord, NC for 23 years and has taught music for 27 years. She holds a Masters of Music degree from UNC-Greensboro and completed Level I Orff-Schulwerk Training at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, Levels II and III at UNLV, and Master's Level at the University of Memphis. Aimee is a frequent presenter at music workshops and conferences in the US and Canada. Her books, Hands to Hands, Hands to Hands Too, Painted Music, Sing a Song, Play a Game, and Playful Possibilities are available from Beatin’ Path Publications. She is passionate about music making, gardening, adoption, and anything and everything creative; painting, zendoodling, digital scrapbooking, making jewelry, writing music, crafting, and sewing. When not teaching or writing music, singing, or creating, she can be found musically musing on her blog,

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  1. Sandra Hendrickson on January 11, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    This looks fantastic! Thank you!

    • Teaching With Orff on January 13, 2017 at 10:50 am

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

  2. Jessica on January 11, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    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.

    • Kelsey on January 13, 2017 at 6:58 am

      Here is a video from the workshop I did with her- with some pronunciation

      • Teaching With Orff on January 13, 2017 at 10:54 am

        Thank you for sharing Kelsey! – Your friends at Teaching With Orff

        • Aimee Pfitzner on January 13, 2017 at 1:00 pm

          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.

    • Teaching With Orff on January 13, 2017 at 10:45 am

      Great question Jessica! Aimee was kind enough to make a video to assist with pronunciation.
      This link has also been added to the article above. – Your friends at Teaching With Orff

  3. Fran Marino on January 12, 2017 at 8:44 am

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

    • Teaching With Orff on January 13, 2017 at 10:52 am

      Hi Fran! Aimee created this pronunciation video for us, which has also been added to the article above. Happy New Year! – Your friends at Teaching With Orff

  4. Rebecca on January 18, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    Do you mean “sweep” every 4 beats to teach BM/BX parts?

    • Aimee on January 20, 2017 at 8:16 am

      “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.

  5. Susan Kennedy on February 16, 2017 at 12:35 am

    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.

  6. Page on January 8, 2020 at 10:41 am

    Aimee, where were you able to find the dragon costume? I love this arrangement!

    • Aimee on January 8, 2020 at 11:38 am

      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 on February 5, 2020 at 12:39 am

      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.

      • Aimee on February 6, 2020 at 11:18 am

        Yes, thanks for the clarification.

  7. philip on January 29, 2024 at 8:50 am

    Is there any information on the original song that this is based on?

  8. Naomi on February 8, 2024 at 1:50 pm

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