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Sunday, 19 March 2017

(No one knows me) like the piano - Emotional Literacy Comprehension Lesson

I have previously blogged about using different songs for developing reading comprehension. I am currently working on a top secret project with John Murray where we will be developing this further by creating something very special which should be ready by the summer (fingers crossed.)

However, I had to share this beautiful song I recently came across by Sampha - (No one knows me) like the piano. 

Here are the lyrics:

No one knows me like the piano in my mother’s home
You would show me I have something,
Some people call a soul
And you dropped out the sky,
Oh you arrived when I was three years old
No one knows me like the piano in my mother’s home

You know I left, I flew the nest
And you know I won’t be long
And in my chest you know me best
And you know I’ll be back home

An angel by her side,
All the times I knew we couldn’t cope
They said that it’s her time,
No tears in sight,
I kept the feelings close
And you took hold of me and never,
Never, never let me go
Cause no one knows me like the piano in my mother’s home
In my mother’s home

Here is the music video to accompany the song:


There is also a 360 degree version too:


Before deconstructing the lyrics, it maybe worth sharing this tweet from Sampha that explains the song as a whole:



Teacher Note: In 2010, his mother, Binty Sisay, had been diagnosed with cancer. Since Sampha was the only member of his family still living at home — his father died from lung cancer in 1998 — he’d become her primary caregiver. At the time, he’d been working hard to get somewhere in music because, much to his mother’s dismay, he’d dropped out of university a couple of years before. Her cancer went into remission in late 2012. In the relief-fueled year that followed, Sampha’s career blossomed. By the end of 2013, Sampha had moved out of the family home and was living by himself in East London. The plan was simple: hit pause on collaborations and start focusing on his debut solo album. But plans often go awry. His mum’s health was up and down, and in late 2014, her cancer returned. Sampha moved home to be with her in the South London suburb of Morden. Some weeks, she was in and out of the hospital every couple of days. This past September, she lost her life to the debilitating disease.


After watching the video and listening to the song, pose the following questions:

  • Why has the singer chosen to use brackets for the song's title? How does this create a double meaning?
  • How do you know his mother is no longer with us? 
  • Do you think he misses his Mum? Does he love her?
Consider the first verse:


No one knows me like the piano in my mother’s home
You would show me I have something,
Some people call a soul
And you dropped out the sky,
Oh you arrived when I was three years old
No one knows me like the piano in my mother’s home


  • Why does no one know the singer like the piano? He would use it as a form of escape when dealing with his poorly mother. 
  • Why is this now important to him? Despite it maybe reminding him of the pain he went through, it reminds him of his talent and how his mother supported him with it.
  • Who else lives at his mother's home? No one, just him and his mother, there doesn't seem to be a father, otherwise, it would be parent's home. 
  • Who do you think he is singing to with the second line? It could be the piano as it provided an escape from reality. In the difficult times his piano is his way to realise that he has soul and passion. Alternatively, it could link to his mother - her support of him and his music has helped him and his career and when he returned to his mother’s home he was reminded of how she loved him.
  • Do you think the piano was dropped out of the sky? Why does he use this phrase? He uses the phrase represent the piano as being a dream so dropping from the sky. A dream that started at three years old and has carried on into a career.
You know I left, I flew the nest
And you know I won’t be long
And in my chest you know me best
And you know I’ll be back home


  • Why did the singer have to leave? For him to fulfil his dream and goal he had to leave the place of comfort and pursue his dream.
  • Why does he use the phrase 'flew the nest'? It is an idiom, the nest is the parents home where you grow up and you fly (leave) but have to do that on your own. 
  • Why does he say he won't be long? He knows home is where the heart is, he is thankful for everything his Mother has done for him and he will never forget it. 
  • Why does he talk about his chest? Inside his chest is his heart, we talk about our heart when we discuss love but also our passion and dreams. 
  • Why does his mother know he be back? She isn't angry about him leaving but knows if needed he would be back when it mattered.
An angel by her side,
All the times I knew we couldn’t cope
They said that it’s her time,
No tears in sight,
I kept the feelings close
And you took hold of me and never,
Never, never let me go
Cause no one knows me like the piano in my mother’s home
In my mother’s home


  • Do you think the singer is religious? How do you know? Yes, he talks about an angel being by her side when times were very hard and it helped them through.
  • Why didn't he cry? He was trying to stay strong for his mother when he knew it was nearly her time. 
  • How did he cope with these feelings? He played the piano.
  • What does he mean by his mother taking hold of him? She has put a lasting impression on him by supporting him and allowing him to fulfil his dream.
  • Why does he repeat the word 'Never'? For emphasis.
Whole Text: 
  • What significance has the piano had on his life? 
  • Is this a sad or happy song? Why do you think this?
  • What lasting impact does his Mother have on the singer?

I hope you find these ideas useful and keep an eye out for this new resource John and I are working on.

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