Scottish Folk Music

Listen to examples of Scottish folk songs, learn to sing Skye Boat Song and accompany with tuned percussion instruments.

Learning Objectives

  • Continue to sing a broad range of unison songs with the range of an octave (P5)
  • Perform in 2 or more parts from simple notation (P5)
  • Play and perform melodies following stave notation using a small range of notes (P5)
  • Read and perform pitch notation within a defined range (octave) (C5)
  • Identify chordal accompaniment and melody understanding static and moving parts when listening (U5)

Learning Outcome

All pupils will: be able to describe the music and identify some of the instruments they can hear, sing a simple melody

Most pupils will: use the correct musical vocabulary to describe the music they have heard, sing a simple melody accurately and play a simple accompaniment

Some pupils will have progressed further and will: use extended musical vocabulary to describe personal preference, will have an awareness of how to sing their part effectively and will play an accompaniment on tuned percussion.

Lesson Activities

Listen to the two examples of Skye Boat Song (Ella Roberts and Edinburgh Military Tattoo) using the links below. Discuss the two versions and how they fit with the folk style of music that we have been learning about in the previous two lessons.  

Learn the song Skye Boat Song. The first time that the children listen to the song ask them to trace the shape of the melody with their hands so that they recognise the rise and fall in pitch. Listen again to the chorus and ask the children to sing along (display the lyrics if necessary) Explain to the children that the two lines of the chorus are the same melody.

This song is divided into groups of 3 beats. Listen again to the chorus counting 1,2,3,1,2,3 etc.

Children can play a drone accompaniment to the chorus on tuned percussion instruments such as glockenspiels, xylophones, chime bars. The pattern of notes is as below, each note lasting 3 beats.


G G A D G G G G x2

Begin by playing the accompaniment with the backing track and then with the children singing.

Skye Boat Song - Performance Track

Extension Activities

Children can create an untuned accompaniment for Skye Boat Song which fits with the melody and drone accompaniment.


Can children sing the simple melody? Are they able to play the tuned accompaniment in time to the vocal line? 

Document quick view