Hand drum

Lesson Plan: Hit 2 3 4

This drumming and moving lesson plan from Chris Judah-Lauder is sure to energize your intermediate grade musicians! All you need are hand drums and some space.

Grade Level: 5th-8th

Materials Needed

  • One 8”, 10”, 12” or 14” hand drum per student
  • Use available hand drums to make four groups using like-sized drums.


The learner will:

  • Experience four-part canon
  • Improvise over a four-beat phrase
  • Perform creative movement


  • Students begin in self-space.

Teaching Process

  • Teach the text to the A Section by imitation.
  • Teach the movement with text using body percussion.
  • Say and play the A Section as a two-part canon and then a four-part canon.
  • Arrange students into four groups according to drum size. 
    8” = Group One
    10” = Group Two
    12” = Group Three
    14” = Group Four 
  • Teach the movement as follows:
    • Measure one:
      • Beat one, hit hand drum at waist level, facing front.
      • Beats two-four, move drum from waist level to overhead. 
    • Measure two:
      • With hand drum held high overhead, play rhythm and turn 180° to the right (backs to the audience).
    • Measure three:
      • Play rhythm and lower hand drum back down to normal playing position in front of waist.
    • Measure four:
      • Beat one, twist to the right.
      • Beat two, twist to the front.
      • Beat three, twist to the left.
      • Beat four, freeze in place. 
  • Repeat measures one through four. In measure two, after the 180 ° turn, students will once again be facing full front.
  • Teach the text of the B Section by imitation. 
  • Inform students they will have four counts to improvise with hand drums. 
  • Select a solo or small group to improvise on measures six and eight.
  • Play A Section as a four-part round, starting each new part every four counts. 
  • Play B Section in unison. Designate soloists or small groups to improvise in the B Section. 


  • Play entire song in unison. (Be sure to designate improvisational players.) 
  • Play the A Section in four-part canon 
  • Play the B Section in unison. 
  • Play the A Section in four-part canon

Extension Possibility

  • For an extra challenge, play song as a four-part round, starting each new part every two counts.

Click here to download a pdf of Chris’s lesson along with the Hit 2 3 4 score

Excerpt from to drum. Copyright © 2004 by Chris Judah-Lauder and Beatin’ Path Publications LLC. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Chris Judah-Lauder

Chris Judah-Lauder taught elementary and middle school music for 40 years. She is a consultant and regular presenter at state, national conferences, Canada, China, and South Korea. She is a Past President of the American Orff-Schulwerk Association and was the AOSA National Conference Chair for the 2009 and 2017 AOSA Conferences and chaired the AOSA Mentorship Committee. She also directed the 2023 FEMA All-State Orff Ensemble. Chris teaches AOSA approved Teacher Education Levels Courses and Masterclasses in Orff Schulwerk at various universities across the United States, and has sixteen publications including Drum with a Passion, Canya Conga, To Drum, Games, Groups & Gems, In the Modes, and Hand Drums on the Move.

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  1. Janet Romano on March 20, 2024 at 5:42 am

    I have always enjoyed Chris Judah-Lauder’s presentations at Orff conferences and her written material. Thank you for making this lesson available. I will share with my college students. Thank you, Chris, for your years of service to our profession, your knowledge, and your beautiful spirit!

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