Students engage in mindful breathing while listening to relaxing music at the beginning of class or before stressful events.


  1. Cognitive: Students will recognize the purpose of the exercise is to release focus on outside circumstances and focus on the breath.
  2. Affective: Students will experience stress reduction in a calming environment


journals, writing utensils, calm, contented/nature scores
(for example,


Time Activity Notes
1 min Share with students this is an opportunity to take a quick break to focus on the breath in order to relax. Encourage students to notice any changes in their bodies as they continue to breathe.

Optional: Consider moving to a space outside the classroom to allow students to have a change of scenery.  Ask students to put their phones away if this is not already the case. Use a seated environment and dim lighting if possible. 

5 min Review the mindful breathing exercise with students, such as this one here.

While students are practicing breathing exercise, explain brief background on the musical selection (composer, musicians, story behind the piece, etc) you are about to play. (1 minute)

Play the piece while students engage in mindful breathing and mindful listening.

Example Prompts
Place left hand on heart and right hand on stomach.Watch breath fill stomach and chest.Notice any changes in your body.Notice what you feel and where you feel it.Additional prompt: Release any tension from your head to your hands to your feet.
4 min After the piece is complete and students close the breathing exercise, students discuss with partner about change in mood, emotions, concentration, relaxation, etc. (2-3 minutes)

Optional: Suggest students try this breathing activity throughout their day or week and have them discuss or write about their experience.

Preferred Closing: Have student reflect quietly or with chosen music on in background. Answer pre-selected prompts, such as:

  • What did you notice today?
  • What surprised you?
  • What is your biggest take away from this experience today?
Highlight self-awareness and experiences.




Teacher Reflection

  • How did you feel after the activity?
  • Did students participate and seem engaged?
  • Remember to ask the students to share their feedback on the activity:
    • What went well?
    • What suggestions do they have for making the activity better?
    • Think about what you might do differently next time.

Emotional Intelligence Tips

  • This may be a new experience for many students.
  • Encourage students to be patient, respectful, open, and reserve judgment.