Teaching about Gratitude: My Shoes Short Film

This short film “my Shoes” has absolutely nothing to do with music!! So why am I putting it here?

Well we all know that as music teachers whether we’re teaching in a studio, band, choir or classroom- we’re always put in situations where we talk about much more than just music.

Often in music, students feel comfortable to open up.

Choir or band rehearsal can become a great opportunity to talk about team culture, working together, values and beliefs.

When I spoke to both Anthony Trecek King (conductor of The Boston Children’s Choir) and Robb Janov (who has created an amazing Rock Program for middle School) at our Virtual Music Education conference earlier this year, they both agreed that setting up a team culture within an ensemble or group setting was even more important than teaching instruments or singing a single note at first.

Without a sense of team or belonging, some children are simply not going to play or sing at their best or respect and feel comfortable with the others within the group.

From Robb Janov, I learned that Part of this process to develop team might be to use icebreaker type activities where the students can laugh together and get to know each other.

But is there is also a more serious part of developing team culture?

Anthony Trecek King explained that solving a problems together or discussing tough issues can really help students to better understand each other also.

Here is a short film today with a message of “be thankful for what you have” deeply entrenched.

Watching the film would be a great starter for discussion.

There are some very good discussion questions and ideas thanks to the team at “Film English”. By scrolling down the page you’ll get access to discussion questions and practical ideas you can use with your classes- well worth a look.

Anyway, go ahead and take a look at the video and I let me know how you used the video for your music classes, ensembles and groups.


  • By Barbara Brown Reply

    Well done. We could sing to the background music. That’s just perfect for the mood.

  • By Martin Reply

    Thank you for the video
    It’s a ‘stop and think moment’ for me.

  • By michael barber Reply

    I’m unsure about the message(s) that this film portrays is what it thinks it is.

    The boy who is jeered at by bullies is a person who is probably neglected or disowned by his parents or worse. The boy in the wheelchair looks to have a loving family or at least a caring person. Both have their own storey and cross to bear – one disabled but loved, the other alone and unloved.

  • By Rogers Tyler Reply

    I could not agree more. For a while I have felt all alone in viewing my role of band director as more like life coach. Thank you so much for sharing this with me. Although many of my student have gotten My intent, it is my administration who often fall short of understanding. I guess people start off seeking how to help kids forget and start making a living as opposed to making a life.

  • By Pat Crane Reply

    Wow. What a simple yet powerful story. It will be interesting to show this to a group children or adults. I am anxious to see the questions and get started with this.

    Thank you, Pat

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