The Latin Rhythms of “Despacito”

When you hear the first few beats of "Despacito," the unrivaled Latin pop hit of 2017, you can't keep your feet from moving! A music analysis lesson plan examines the intoxicating hit by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee and introduces the four musical genres—reggaeton, salsa, cumbia, and música jíbera that come together to make up the rhythm and instrumentation of the song.

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CCSS: Designed
Instructional Ideas

  • Have the song playing as class members walk in, and have them journal their immediate reactions to the song
  • Use the extension activity, regarding the artists' choice to release the song in their native language, as a final writing prompt or class discussion
Classroom Considerations

  • Interview link opens to the official video; start at 2:27, end at 7:50
  • Lyrics to the song may be a bit raunchy for younger learners, though they probably already know the song
  • Links on PDF do not work, but all are attached
  • Consider loading the videos ahead of time to avoid Internet issues and unwanted advertising
Pros

  • Engaging, educational, and relevant to learners' lives
  • Takes a thorough and thoughtful approach at music theory and analysis
Cons

  • None