Orcas are fascinating members of the whale family. It is a spectacular sight to see an orca breach out of the water and splash back down in a “ginormous” bellyflop.

In this simple two-verse song, young singers have the opportunity to use their expressive singing and present some facts about these amazing ocean dwellers.

The melody spans the interval of a fifth (D4-A4) and uses simple rhythmic elements making it ideal for young singers. A short “re-intro” creates a break between the two short verses, providing the opportunity to re-focus and prepare for the second verse.

Orcas is an excellent repertoire choice for a first recital. It also works well in an ocean or sea animal themed unit in elementary music classrooms.

Download Includes:

  • Vocal score
  • Director/piano score
  • Lyrics
  • Accompaniment – with melody guide
  • Accompaniment – piano
  • Teaching Strategies

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Teacher Tips

Introducing the song

  • Encourage singers to read the lyrics aloud before learning the melody. Discuss the orca facts presented in the lyrics.
  • Sing Orcas with the teacher singing two bars at a time and have the students echo. Sing four bars at a time and have the students echo. Finally teacher and students sing the entire verse together and then have students sing on their own.

Use expressive singing

  • Discuss expressive singing. Find words the singer will emphasize to create an expressive performance. How will the singer emphasize “belly flop” and “kaboom” to create an expressive performance?
  • Add a movement to emphasize the word “bellyflop”. Hold one hand out in front of the body, palm facing up. Move the other hand up and over in a downward arc to land on the open hand on the word “kaboom!”
  • Use contrasting dynamics.

Melodic phrases

  • Have students use their hands to show the upward and downward movement of the melody of Orcas. Listen to the melody as it goes higher and lower in a wave pattern. Maybe the melody is representing the ocean or a swimming orca! This is called tone painting.
  • Sing the melody line using solfege names for the notes. Find the spots in the song where the notes move by steps going up: do-re-mi-fa-so and where the notes move in steps going down: so-fa-mi-re-do.

Rhythm activities

  • Clap the rhythm pattern of the song.
  • Clap the rhythm along with the accompaniment track. Use inner hearing (think the rhythm without saying it as you clap).
  • Create a body percussion performance of “Orcas” by adding a specific motion for each rhythmic element of the song (e.g. clapping, patsching, sliding, and splashing motions)

Composer's Notes


I was contacted by a music teacher who had a young student who was enamored with orcas. She didn’t have any songs to offer him and she reached out to me to see what I might have in my library. I didn’t have any songs written about these sea creatures so I went to work and researched to find out orca facts. I knew the student was a young singer and needed a simple melody. I put together this song and sent it back to the music teacher who was excited to share the new song with her student. A few weeks later, I received a delightful video of Sebastien singing Orcas for his voice lesson. Sometimes inspiration hits “out of the blue” and sometimes an idea can be sparked by someone needing a song based on a specific topic. In the creative process, it can be helpful to have a little nudge and to narrow the myriad of subjects that can be used to write a song.

Fun Orca Facts

Did You Know?...

Orcas are also known as “killer whales”.

Orcas are friendly to humans and do not attack unless they feel threatened. They got their “killer whale” name from the fact that they hunt other larger whales, and even great white sharks.

Orcas can live from 50-80 years.

Orca offspring stay with their mothers for their entire lives.

Orcas live in family groups called pods.

Have fun researching more facts about orcas!

You Are Invited

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Vocal Range

D4 – A4




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