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Tuesday, April 4, 2023

El Coquí: Puerto Rican Frog Song

I am always looking for more Spanish language songs to use in my elementary music lessons, because I have a large population of Spanish speakers in my school community, so I was thrilled to come across this song from Puerto Rico in my search for songs about frogs! Frogs are a fun theme to use in the spring time, especially with early childhood and lower elementary ages, and this song is perfect for that age group!

About the Song
The title of the song, "El Coquí", is the name of a specific type of frog that is very common in Puerto Rico. It's a tiny tree frog and is named after the sound it makes. It is even a common cultural symbol with references dating back to the 13th century and up to the present (learn more in this article and this one). Here is a notated version of the song, and this video shows the frog at the beginning and includes the song with the lyrics on the screen, as well as a rough English translation version:

Lesson Ideas
I specifically found this song because I was looking for a song for 2nd grade in triple meter- I plan to have students listen me sing the song, learn to sing the last lines that just say "choquí", and identify the meter, then do a simple hand clapping pattern with a partner to reinforce the triple meter feel. Another way I like to have students identify and experience triple meter is through locomotor movement, having students do something like a waltz step around the room (taking a big step on beat 1 and just stepping in place on beats 2 and 3). 

This is also a great song to add some instruments to, to further reinforce and practice performing in triple meter! I am planning to have a couple of students play the frog guiro on beat 1 and other students play rhythm sticks on beats 2 and 3. If I was doing this with older students, I would add pitched instruments, with boomwhackers and bass xylophone playing a simple bass line on do and sol- my 6th graders are learning ukulele and could easily play this one on 2 chords.

Of course there are also tons of other frog songs that would be great to learn in conjunction with this one. I am planning to teach this one in triple meter, and the Japanese song "Kaeru No Gassho" (commonly called "Kaeru No Uta" by Westerners), which is also about the sound of frogs and is in duple meter, to compare and contrast the two songs and tie together with the theme (I've been using this song for years with my younger students- more on that in a future post!). For Kindergarten/ early childhood, "Five Little Speckled Frogs" is another fun one.

This is one of those songs that, when I came across it, I couldn't believe I hadn't heard it before! I am so excited to use it with my students and I hope you enjoy using it as well. 


  1. I discovered this song a few years ago in the book "De Colores" from José-Luis Orozco. I LOVE that video you found!! It would be perfect for this lesson :)

    1. Ah, I have that book too and have used several songs from it- I must have skipped over this song when I was looking through it!