Aymara and Machu Picchu

Designed by: Im Kyung Lee
University of Washington

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Peruvian Aymara Ensemble (Session 1)/Kena (traditional Andean flute) Concerto performed and composed by Peruvian musicians (Session 2) with the cultural and historical introduction.

Suggested Grade Levels: 6-8, 9-12
Country: Peru
Region: South America
Culture Group: Aymara
Genre: Instrumental
Instruments: Siku (panpipes), Percussion, Kena, Orchestra
Language: Aymara
Co-Curricular Areas: Social Studies
National Standards: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9
Prerequisites: Students understand musical terms pulse, beat, meter, stress, and accents.
Students can differentiate the sound of a hand drum and a base drum.
Students can recognize the difference between music that has changing meters and music that maintains a consistent meter throughout.
Students have some knowledge of orchestra and concerto.


  • Identify the instruments played in the listening excerpt.
  • Find Andes, Peru on a world map.
  • See the picture of the Andean panpipes, siku.
  • Identify the meter changes in the song and clap to each of the beat patterns.
  • Play drums as in the transcription of the song with proper stress on specific beats.
  • Listen to an indigenous Peruvian orchestra.
  • Learn the definitions of orchestra, concerto, and cadenza.
  • Be introduced to two Peruvian musicians.
  • Learn about Machu Picchu.
  • Listen to “Machu Picchu Concerto for Kena and Orchestra”.
  • Discuss the aspects of the piece.


  • “Los Jilacatas” (Aymara dance) by Aymara Ensemble No.202
  • Map of Peru
  • Snare drums, Bass drums (or two different drums that make higher and lower sound)
  • Meter pattern cards: 4/4, 3/4, 2/8, 6/4
  • Picture of Andean panpipes, siku
  • Orchestra excerpt “Saqra O Urku Saqra” (SFW 40466, Festivals of Cuzco, 1995) No. 106
  • Picture of Kena (Andean flute)
  • Hand drums, Rattle
  • “Machu Picchu Concerto for Kena and Orchestra” recording (freely available online)

Lesson Segments:

  1. “Los Jilacatas” (National Standards 1, 2, 5, 6, 9)
  2. “Machu Picchu Concerto for Kena and Orchestra" (National Standards 2, 3, 5, 7, 9)

Lesson Segment 1: “Los Jilacatas”

Click to view recording details

“Los Jilacatas (Aymara Dance)”
from Music of Peru (1950) | FW04415


  1. Attentive Listening: Students will listen to “Los Jilacatas” on the recording (30 seconds).
    1. What kinds of instruments do you hear? (Panpipes, Snare drum, Bass drum)
    2. Which instrument plays the melody? (Panpipes)
    3. Which instrument keeps the pulse? (Drum)
    4. Which region of the world might this music come from? (Andes, Peru)
  2. Integrating World Music: Students will learn the location of the Andes, Peru on the world map, and be able to tell the continent, surrounding oceans, neighboring countries, the capital city, and the location in regard to the students’ home country.

Click to enlarge

  1. Integrating World Music: Students will learn the name of the ensemble that played “Los Jilacatas” (Aymara ensemble) and see the picture of the panpipes (siku).

Click to enlarge

  1. Aymara culture: A native ethnic group that has lived in the Andes regions of Bolivia, Chile, and Peru for over 2000 years. It was established by the Inca Empire, and colonized by Spain in the 15th century that lasted until the 19th century. The dominant languages spoken by this group are Spanish and Aymara. Although influenced by European music, Aymara music has been preserved as a unique indigenous tradition.
  2. Attentive Listening: “Los Jilacatas”.
    1. Does this song sound like it has only one meter or changing meters? (Changing)
  3. Engaged Listening (30 seconds):
    1. The instructor arranges the enlarged meter pattern cards in the order of 4/4, 3/4, 4/4, 2/8, 3/4, 4/4, 6/4, 4/4, 6/4, and 4/4 (the order of meters on the recording) in front of the students.
    2. According to the teacher’s modeling, the students will clap to the first beats in the changing meters on the recording. After repeating this several times, they will be encouraged to hum the melody while clapping.
  4. Attentive Listening:
    1. Are the panpipes and drums in the recording played at equal volume or are certain beats played more loudly than others? (Some beats sound louder than the others).
  5. Transcription: Students will find accents marked on some notes in the transcription.
    1. Enactive Listening: Students will play hand drums and bass drums to “Los Jilacatas” as in the transcription. The instructor will demonstrate how to stress the accented beats with the drums for the students to play accordingly.
  6. Closing:
    1. Where is the song “Los Jilacatas” from, and what is the name of the ensemble that plays it? (Andes, Peru/ Aymara ensemble)
    2. What is the name of the instrument that plays the melody? (Panpipes, Siku)


  • The teacher informally assesses students’ answers to the questions, their performance of the transcription, and the accuracy of their clapping to the meter cards.

Lesson Segment #2. “Machu Picchu Concerto for Kena and Orchestra"

Click to view recording details

“Saqra o Urku Saqra”
from Traditional Music of Peru, Vol. 1: Festivals of Cusco (1995) | SFW40466


  1. Attentive Listening: Students will listen to the Peruvian orchestra, “Saqra O Urku Saqra” on the recording (30 seconds).
    1. What kinds of instruments do you hear? (Accordion, Drum, Andean harp, Huiro-scratching percussion instrument, Kena-Andean pan flute)
    2. What kind of genre would you call it? (Orchestra)
    3. Students will see the picture of kena.

Click to enlarge

  1. Integrating World Music: The students will discuss the definition of Western orchestra.
  2. Orchestra: A group of musicians with string, woodwind, brass, and percussion sections.
  3. Attentive Listening: Students will listen to the recording again.
    1. Can we categorize each of the Andean instruments in the recording into the sections of the Western orchestra? (Accordian-N/A, Andean harp-string, Kena-woodwind, Drum, Huiro- percussion)How can we compare this to the Western orchestra? (Instrumentation, Size)
  4. Engaged Listening: Students will play hand drums and rattles to the downbeats of the recording.
  5. Integrating World Music: The teacher will introduce Machu Picchu.
  6. Machu Picchu: A historical site found in 1911 by Yale archaeologist, Hiram Bingham. Machu Picchu was built by the people of Inca Empire 2000 years ago on the mountain ridge in Andes. It was structured with sculptured gray granite and surrounded by agricultural terraces.
  7. Attentive Listening: Students will listen to an excerpt of “Machu Picchu Concerto for Kena and Orchestra”.
    1. 1st movement:
      1. What kinds of instruments do you hear other than the Kena? (Strings, Woodwinds, Brasses, Percussions-hard to hear)
  8. Integrating World Music: Students will discuss the definitions of concerto and cadenza.
    1. Concerto: A musical work for an orchestra and one or more solo instruments.
    2. Cadenza: An improvised or written-out ornamental passage performed by the soloist of a concerto.
  9. Attentive Listening: Students will listen to 2 excerpts of “Machu Picchu Concerto for Kena and Orchestra.”
    1. 1st Movement, Cadenza:
      1. What aspects make this a cadenza? (The kena solo with free, improvisatory rhythm and tempo)
      2. Does this remind you of any kind of animal? (Mountain bird)
      3. What make the kena solo sound like a bird? (High pitches and the static vibration in the beginning part)
    2. 2nd Movement:
      1. How do the tempo and melody sound? (Slow, Lyrical)
      2. How can you connect the mood of this movement to Machu Picchu? (Meditating the Inca Empire)
  10. Integrating World Music: Students will discuss the Peruvian uniqueness structured in Western classical frame of concerto that they find in the recording.
  11. Closing:
    1. In the orchestra and concerto you listened to today, what aspects of the Peruvian traditional music did you find? (Solo instrument, South American rhythms/ harmony, Folksong-like melodies)
    2. The concerto also has elements of Western classical music, what are those? (Classical orchestral frame, Instrumentation)
    3. In which region of Peru is Machu Picchu located? (Cuzco, Andes)


  • The teachers evaluate the students’ learning and understanding of musical terms, orchestra, concerto, and cadenza as well as attentive listening of the excerpts by their discussions and answers.
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