Listening Activity #8 - Refugees Are People Too

February 21, 2018

I'm sure most of us are aware of the current political situation in Syria. Living in in the West, we are constantly told about the loss of life in Syria and in the Middle East, almost on a daily basis. 21 dead due to an airstrike. A blast kills dozens. Car bombs. Then we hear about the immigration problem in mainstream media. People are fleeing the devastation in their country, coming to Europe, taking jobs, stealing and committing other crimes. When children are not given a wider perspective, prejudices can form from an early age, resulting in distrust, fear or racist attitudes as they grow older. By listening to the music of the people who's homes, families and ways of life are being destroyed, we can help children to see these musicians as people trying to live in difficult circumstances, not just as refugees or immigrants.
Sometimes learning about music does not need to involve an analysis of the music. The contexts, feelings and inspiration behind the music are just as important (sometimes even more important) as the time signature, key or structure. It is after watching videos like this that you realise the transcendent power of music to bring forward emotions, tell stories and help us to focus on the importance of life, family and happiness.



  • How would you feel if you had to leave your country, family and friends behind?

  • How do you think these musicians are feeling?

  • What is a refugee?

  • What instrument is Abu playing?

  • Can you hear the structure of the tune?

  • Can you find Syria on a map?

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illustrations by Charity Russell

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