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Teaching The Children of Willesden Lane
Resources to help you teach the book in middle schools and high schools

Chapters 1–3

Mona’s Related Performance
Part 1: Piano Lessons

In this part of her performance, Mona describes Lisa’s last lesson with her piano teacher, Professor Isseles. Lisa plays Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata and a Scherzo by Chopin. Then the professor tells Lisa that he will no longer be able to teach her because she is Jewish. 

Note: In this part of the performance, Mona refers to events from Chapter 1 of the book.

Questions to Discuss with Students

  • Mona emphasizes a “few precious words” that her grandmother told her mother: “Hold on to your music. It will be your best friend in life.”  What gifts do you think your parents or grandparents would most want you to hold on to?  
  • When Lisa’s piano teacher says he can no longer teach her because of a new law against Jews, he adds, “and I am not a brave man.”  What things might he have done if he were brave? Why do you think he didn’t do those things?

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View of Mona's hands on the keyboard

Music Mona Plays in Part 1

Nocturne, Opus 9, No. 1
by Frédéric Chopin

Piano Concerto in A Minor, First Movement
by Edvard Grieg

"Moonlight" Sonata
by Ludwig van Beethoven

Scherzo No. 2
by Frédéric Chopin

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