A Story Like the Wind / After Reading / /

A Boy with a Violin

Reflections on the role of music to provide solace in conflict.

Lesson length: 1 session

Lesson from A Story Like the Wind series

Text potential

  • Wider learning opportunities: Music: listening and understanding


This lesson provides some background into the true story of the cellist of Sarajevo, who like Rami in A Story Like the Wind, used music as a source of solace in dire circumstances.


  • Locate a copy of Albinoni Adagio in G Minor.


Use the internet to find out about the Vedran Smailović, known as the cellist of Sarajevo.  He became famous for playing Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor on the streets of war-torn Sarajevo in the height of the Balkan war. For 22 days he played on the site where 22 people were killed while queuing for bread.

Listen to Albinoni’s Adagio. 

  • Why do you think the cellist chose this piece?

Final reflection

  • What are your thoughts about the cellist’s actions? 
  • Do you think he was brave? 
  • Do you think he was foolish?
  • Why do you think Rami and Vedran Smailović use music as a means of coping with terrible circumstances?
  • Do you have a favourite piece of music that you find soothing or uplifting? Can music affect your mood and mental state?


Nikki Gamble

Nikki Gamble
Director, Just Imagine
Nikki has worked extensively in schools across the UK and internationally. She is the author of Exploring Children’s Literature (4th edit) (2019) and co-author of Guiding Readers (2016) which was awarded the UKLA Academic Book of the Year Award 2017. Nikki is KS2 reading advisor and series consultant for Oxford University Press and content creator for the Oxford School Improvement and Oxford Owl websites. Nikki is Associate Consultant at the University of London, Institute of Education and Honorary Fellow at the University of Winchester

Read more