Calming Music

Scripture: 1 Samuel 15-16

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will review how David’s humility made him a good candidate to be king and how he humbly played his harp for an angry Saul.
  • Students will learn how stress and anger adversely affect the body mentally and physically.
  • Students will learn how to use music to calm down.  

Guiding Question: How can I use music to calm down when I am stressed or angry?

Materials: examples of songs, music player, paper, pencils

Procedure: Review the story of David being chosen to replace Saul focusing on how David humbly served him by playing the harp even after being anointed. Review how Saul’s anger subsided when David played for him. Explain that physical health is important, but mental health is just as crucial to take care of. Our mind is a part of our body and is very affected by our emotions.

When we become angry and stressed things change in our body. This is called fight-or-flight mode. Have students discuss how their body feels when they angry/stressed. Then have them discuss how their body feels when they are peaceful. Make a 2 column chart.
Angry/ stressed:
1. Heart races
2. Feel hotter/ sweat
3. Adrenaline rush/ more energy
4. Muscle tension
5. Dilated pupils
1. Slower heart rate
2. Realized muscles
3. Eye pupils are smaller
4. Think more clearly
5. Breathe slower

Discuss how different songs make you feel differently based on the tempo and tone.
Have a prepared mix of songs that are prevalent in your culture.

Examples of calming songs: Debussy’s Claire de Lune, Amazing Grace, In Christ Alone, Cornerstone by Hillsong, Handel’s Water Music, Pachelbel’s Canon in D
Examples of stressful songs: Flight of the Bumble Bee, Beethoven 5th Symphony, Night on a Bald Mountain

If you do not have a way of playing the songs, sing calming songs as a group and discuss how they affect the feeling.

Additional Questions:

  • What situations make you angry and how can you use music in these situations?
  • What are your favorite songs? What emotions do they make you feel?
  • Listen to an example of a harp. How do you think the feelings of that instrument compare to other ones?

Supplemental Activities:

  • Have students make a calming playlist of songs to listen to and sing when they feel upset. They can make a CD, or if resources are not available, simply write the list. Singing helps you take deeper breaths and focus your mind on something different than what is stressing you.
  • Have students make a feelings journal. They write about the times when they get stressed or angry during the week. Have them also list the things that make them happiest during the week. Is there a pattern relating the types of things that make them upset? How does being aware of this make it easier to deal with?
  • Advanced students can research why music calms the mind according to scientific studies.

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