The Big Quake Music Lesson

15 03 2011

Pictures taken in Yokohama, Japan the day after the big quake and tsunami hit.

Our school has been canceled for the week due to fallout from the terrible earthquake that rocked our world last Friday. Many of us are still connected however via the internet. Here is my E-Lesson for my students in grades 6-12.

The Big Quake Music Lesson

As we have been discovering, music can create different moods, themes, feelings, tones, emotions, affects and more. It can affect us all in many different ways.

Since we cannot get together face to face, and since the quake has definitely caused distress and hardship to so many unfortunate people, I would like you to consider the following and see what you come up with.


If you could send one piece of music to all of those that have lost a loved one in this terrible tragedy, which song would you send them and why?

Choose a song you think would be appropriate to give someone in this situation and write a short reflection about your reasons for choosing it.

I want you to consider the following in your answer.
• How does this music affect you?
• What is the message of the song?
• How does the choice of instruments affect the mood of the music?
• Does the tempo affect the mood of the music?

When you are done please send your response via email. Be sure to include a link to a YouTube performance of your song or attach an mp3.




6 responses

16 03 2011


I follow you on Twitter & found your post. I’m glad you and your family are safe. My students and I think of you and people in Japan. My students are compiling songs to encourage you. I will post a link on Twitter when we are done.


Yoon (@DoremiGirl)

16 03 2011
eva bednar

Hello, Brad! This is your Communications Captn speaking. Music will always get us through! Godspeed indeed! evaB

17 03 2011
Anthony Brancati

Hey Brad. Please continue to let music get you through these times. Being a musician myself studying at Humber, I can certainly agree with music having the unique ability to keep one’s spirit alive while the world around may seem darker than ever. A tune that always keeps me going and hopefully does the same for you is Let It Be-Beatles.
also, here is a beautiful but sad version from the movie Across the Universe. Hope this helps, best of luck.


17 03 2011
Brad Johnston

Konichiwa Anthony-san,

Thank-you so much for your kind words. Music is a powerful thing.

What instrument do you play? Are you taking the performance degree? What year are you in?

I loved the music program at Humber. I was there in the late 1970’s. I was in the new facility last summer at Lakeshore and met several of the instructors. Still a great place by those standards.

Funny you chose this particular song. It was the very first piece of music I bought (45 version) back when I was in grade 5. It still brings back a lot of great memories.

Thank-you again for your kindness,


20 03 2011
Anthony Brancati

I’m a first year piano major in the degree program but also play drums and tenor sax as well. The whole program has gone degree now. What did you play?

And the Beatles are always my go to group when I need something to keep me feeling good 🙂

21 03 2011
Speechless | sing imagination

[…] I’m going to share is by Brad Johnston, a music teacher in Japan. He wrote a post titled, The Big Quake Music Lesson. Due to the earthquake, his school is on a week-long break and posted an interesting music lesson […]

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