PHL-Clapping-Humphrey-Brothers-Hero (1)

Clapping to Humphrey Brothers’ Beats

GENRE: Traditional Jazz
TOPIC: Body Percussion
DISCIPLINE: Music General


In this lesson, students will listen to songs by the Humphrey Brothers and clap on beats 2 and 4. Students will walk and dance in a second line formation clapping to the beat of a song.



  • Connect with music individually and as a group.
  • Describe the importance of enjoying music together.
  • Use the word legacy in a sentence.
  • Clap on beats 2 and 4.
  • Walk in a second line formation. 



National Core Arts Standards

MU:Cr1.1.Ka With guidance, explore and experience music concepts (such as beat and melodic contour).
MU:Cr1.1.1a With limited guidance, create musical ideas (such as answering a musical question) for a specific purpose.
MU:Cr1.1.2a Improvise rhythmic and melodic patterns and musical ideas for a specific purpose. 


Common Core State Standards

ELA-LITERACY.SL.K.6 Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly.
ELA-LITERACY.SL.1.6 Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation.
ELA-LITERACY.SL.2.6 Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification. 



Teachers should be familiar with the Humphrey brothers or read About the Humphrey Brothers to build background knowledge. 



VIDEO: “Joe Avery Blues” | “Ice-Cream” | “Tin Roof Blues” 



  1. Write “The Humphrey Brothers” on the board, followed by each brother’s name: Willie, Earl, and Percy. Introduce students to the Humphrey brothers and tell students they were part of one of the most influential families in New Orleans music. 


  1. Tell students they are going to participate in a listening session to explore songs performed by the Humphrey brothers. Now write the song titles “Joe Avery Blues,” “Ice-Cream,” and “Tin Roof Blues” on the board. Have students vote on which song they want to hear first, second, and third. 


  1. Play the songs for students in the order they voted. Tell students to just listen, feel, and move to the music freely. Allow for students to connect with the music before discussing the songs.


  1. Have a discussion with the class. Ask students: What did the music feel like? What memories do you have that are connected to music? How does it feel to listen to music together? Why is it important to enjoy music alone, but also together as a community?



  1. Write the word legacy on the board. Tell students the Humphrey brothers musical upbringing in New Orleans shaped their passion for jazz. They continue to influence musicians of all ages. Learning their songs is a great way to honor their legacy. Define legacy for students: A legacy is when something meaningful is passed on to another generation. Ask students: If the Humphrey brothers were musicians, what do you think they passed on? (music, style, songs, teachings, etc.)


  1. Tell students they are going to honor the Humphrey brother’s legacy by learning to clap on beats 2 and 4 to one or more of their songs. 


  1. As a class, select a song (or a few) to clap to. Model for students how to clap the beat of one of the following songs. Allow time for students to learn and clap the beat along with you. 



  1. Have students bring in handkerchiefs and parasols. Rehearse walking and dancing in a second line formation while clapping to the beat of the song. Some students will do the clapping while others hold the parasols and keep the beat by stamping their feet or slapping their knees. 


  1. Pay tribute to the Humphrey brothers by dancing and clapping along to one of the selected songs in a second line formation. Use the hallway or go outside to perform for an audience. 



Used with permission. Portions of this work are based on the National Core Arts Standards Copyright © 2015 National Coalition for Core Arts Standards/All Rights Reserved – Rights Administered by SEADAE.

© Copyright 2010. National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers. All rights reserved.

Roderick Paulin, Curriculum Developer and Music Artist Liaison
Mark Braud, Music Artist Consultant
JoDee Scissors, Editor and Content Producer



Animated GIFs