How to use this site    About Us    Submissions    Feedback    Donate    Links - School Assemblies for every season for everyone

Decorative image - Primary

Email Twitter Facebook


Pause for Thought: Is Music Powerful?

Music affects our feeling and emotions

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider that music is powerful and influences our feelings and moods.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need to display the words ‘Power’ and ‘Music’.
  • Have available the following YouTube videos and the means to show them during the assembly:

    - ‘Frozen - Sing Along Edition’, available at: (3.54 minutes long, but you can start from 2.06 minutes if necessary)
    - ‘Remembrance Sunday 2018, London: Edward Elgar – Nimrod’, available at: (3.43 minutes long, but play extract from 0.22 minutes)

  • Have available the audio of ‘Special - Hear BBC Philharmonic’s “Four Notes - Paul’s Tune” by Paul Harvey who lives with dementia’ and the means to play it during the assembly. The full audio is 14.28 minutes long, but if you only wish to play the music itself, play from 3.19 to 5.54 minutes. It is available at:


  1. Show the word ‘Power’.

    Ask the children what they think of when they hear the word ‘Power’.

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Encourage the children to think about a wide range of answers. These might include the power of machines, natural forces, the ruler of a country, renewable power and so on.

  2. Show the word ‘Music’.

    Ask the children whether this is a word that they would associate with power.

    Ask the children, ‘Do you think that music is powerful?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

  3. Point out that music is powerful! It has the power to change our feelings and moods. Music can make us feel joyful, sad, angry or frightened.

  4. Explain that we are going to listen to an extract from two pieces of music. You would like the children to think about how the music makes them feel.

    Play an extract from the YouTube video ‘Frozen - Sing Along Edition’ (play at least from 2.06 minutes).

    Play an extract from the YouTube video ‘Remembrance Sunday 2018, London: Edward Elgar – Nimrod’ (start at 0.22 minutes).

    Ask the children how each piece of music made them feel.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  5. Explain that the first extract is from the film Frozen. Ask the children how it made them feel. No doubt some will have joined in with the song!

    Explain that the second extract is taken from a piece of classical music called ‘Nimrod’ by Elgar. This piece of music is sometimes used at funerals and many people will associate it with a feeling of sadness.

  6. Explain that the enjoyment of music is something that stays with us through to our old age. Music has the power to help us remember things. It has been found that older people who have illnesses that involve memory loss, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, will perk up when they hear a piece of music from their youth.

    Music seems to have the power to trigger memories, and even the words of a song can be remembered. In addition, it has been found that we may keep our skills of music-making even when other skills and memory are lost.

    A good example of this is Paul Harvey, an 80-year-old man who lives with dementia. He is also a retired music teacher. In September 2020, his son, Nick, chose four musical notes and said, ‘Dad, what can you play with the notes F, A, D and B?’

    Nick posted a video of the piece that his dad composed and it had lots of hits because people admired Paul’s talent and his music so much. A short while later, a composer asked if he could turn it into a piece for the orchestra he played in. This led to Paul playing the piano with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra accompanying him, and his piece being broadcast on BBC Radio and television. Let’s listen to it now.

    Play the audio of ‘Special - Hear BBC Philharmonic’s “Four Notes - Paul’s Tune” by Paul Harvey who lives with dementia’. The full audio is 14.28 minutes long, but if you only wish to play the music itself, play from 3.19 to 5.54 minutes.

Time for reflection

Music has amazing power, including the power to change our emotions, making us feel happy or sad. It also has the power to soothe us. In the Bible, in 1 Samuel 16.14-23, there is a story about a king and a shepherd boy. King Saul sometimes used to get very agitated, angry and depressed. David was a shepherd boy who played the harp and composed beautiful music about God and his creation. When King Saul used to become agitated, David would play the harp to Saul to help him to feel calmer.

Dear God,
Thank you for music.
Thank you that it can lift our spirits when we feel sad and help to calm us when we are cross or frightened.
Thank you for all those who create music that we enjoy listening to.


‘The hills are alive’ from the musical The Sound of Music, available at: (2.28 minutes long)

‘Thank you for the music’ by Abba, available at: (3.51 minutes long)

Extension activities

  1. Maybe you could make up your own piece of music or a song. There are some good composition sites available or you could try an app like GarageBand.
  2. Alternatively, you could take a well-known piece of music and make up your own words to go with it.
Publication date: February 2021   (Vol.23 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
Print this page