The Musical Remedy for Stress

Amy Stonehouse, English Language Learners, North Mecklenburg High School

Curriculum Unit (PDF)


Refugee students bring a unique set of conditions to the classroom. In addition to the normal adolescent stressors like dealing with peer pressure and forming their identities, refugees are also dealing with the fear of deportation, family separation, and precarious economic circumstances.
For teachers who teach refugees for teachers who teach refugees, in this unit, students will explore the ways in which music can be used as a coping strategy for the unique stressors they experience. In addition to using music as a stress relief, music is also a helpful way to help students develop their
English speaking skills. Through a variety of musical exercises (e.g., playlist creation, lyric analysis, and cultural analysis of music from different countries) students will learn how to identify their emotional state, identify their triggers, and self-soothe in health ways. In addition, students will
use music to cultivate confidence and self-compassion. We will focus on different types of music and how some may be more helpful than others when dealing with stress, while also exploring the music found in different cultures and how they have served the people of those cultures. We will also discuss how refugees that come to the United States. We will listen to and evaluate the lyrics from 2 different songs and analyze how the language may be different from the tone of the music. Students will have the opportunity to create a playlist for specific scenarios, such as “test day” and “pump it up”. They will also have the opportunity to share the music of their 1 own native country with their classmates. In addition, students will learn how to dissect the lyrics from songs to interpret their meaning and possible effect on their mental health. By the end of this unit, students will have been exposed to a number of different genres of music and will have created playlists to help them cope with their stress. 2 Students will have also had the opportunity to interact with the language found within a song as they dissect a song and determine its meaning.