Using Music as a Strategy for Survival – Learning from Theresienstadt

Holly Lambert, Music/Special Education, Lincoln Heights Academy

Final Unit (PDF)  Implementing Common Core Standards (PDF)


Music is a global language, one that we all can use to communicate feelings,
emotions, thoughts, and ideas. We can use this common language of music to convey
these things, regardless of our race, ethnicity, culture, or background. We also all face
struggles in life, go through hardships, and yearn for the hope of a better tomorrow. This
unit has been designed with this in mind. Music can be the bridge to help us cross over to
that better tomorrow. Examples of this idea can be seen in the stories of Jewish prisoners
at the Theresienstadt Ghetto. Through this unit, students will have the opportunity to
examine how music was used as a tool for survival by people like Alice Herz-Sommer.
In the end, students will be able to walk away with their own creation, a musical
composition, which they can use on their toughest of days, to simply survive.