National Anthems of the World

Music Lesson Plan
Students will become familiar with the music and lyrics of national anthems from around the world. They will be able to make generalizations about anthems and will apply this new understanding to create a class/school anthem.

Lesson Plan graphic

  • Lyrics to your national anthem (copies for each group)
  • Lyrics to other countries' national anthems (copies for each group) - these can be found on the internet or in books. Here are 2 good books:
    • National Anthems from Around the World : The Official National Anthems, Flags, and Anthem Histories from 56 Countries by Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation (Editor), Hal Leonard
    • National Anthems of the World (9th Edition) by W. L. Reed(Editor), M. J. Bristow (Editor). Hardcover (September 1997)
  • Music - variety of national anthems; these can often be found in public libraries or second-hand stores
  • butcher paper (1 sheet per group)

  1. Start the lesson by playing your national anthem. Ask students what they are listening to, how it makes them feel, and why.
  2. Use cluster brainstorming to organize their responses. The word "national anthem" should be in the center with everything branching out from that.
  3. Split students into groups of 3 or 4.
  4. Play several national anthems of other countries. Students should be able to get a feel for the patriotism of the songs, even without understanding the words. You may want to provide lyrics to these anthems for reference when they are listening.
  5. Give copies of lyrics from a variety of national anthems to each group. You may want to give each group a different set of lyrics. Have each group make their own cluster brainstorming, based on generalizations they can make about anthems. Provide butcher paper.
  6. Give students enough time with this activity to really get a good concept of what is a national anthem.
  7. Have each group work together to write an anthem for your school or class. They should put this to music as well. They can use a familiar tune or create their own.

Have groups share their anthems with the class. Discuss each song and its effectiveness as an anthem. Students should be able to decide if the song fits the concept of an anthem and if it would properly represent their class or school. You may want your class to vote.

Notice which students easily understand the concept of an anthem. This can be seen by their participation in the initial brainstorming as well as by their involvement in the creation of the class anthem. Notice which groups wrote anthems that matched or didn't match the necessary "cirteria." You can tell quite a bit about their general understanding from the results of a class poll.