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Music Develops Self Worth in Kids

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Music Builds Self Worth For Kids

I have grown up in a musical family and now my kids are at the age when they can be the next generation of musicians.  Regardless of my kids’ obvious abilities, my husband and I will be preparing them for a life with music by setting up lessons, teaching at home, and choosing an instrument to play.  And I encourage you to consider doing the same, even if you don’t have a huge history of music in your family.

Let me just get this out of the way first so you understand where I’m coming from.  We have people who play or have played the organ, clarinet, piano, percussiono, flute, sax, various and sundry brass instruments, string bass.  Not everyone in the family is as talented nor as dedicated as some have been.  But it’s pretty clear how important music is for connecting and expressing in our family.  Bagpipes at my grandfather’s funeral, getting my ears blasted by my college fight song, singing grace at Christmas with my uncle leading the same song we’ve sung for decades, singing the Messiah with a community chorus – all of these little moments have such importance attached to them.

Having music in my family has also brought some expectations.  We were expected to develop discipline for practicing, be patient learning difficult pieces or learning a new instrument, try new styles of music and maybe new instruments, follow directions from a band or choir teacher, and work hard with the talent you have to make the most of it.  And yes, in any quality school or community activity, a child can do some of these things.  But music also becomes very personal this way.  You get the individual accomplishments and enjoyment, and you participate as a group.

No matter how young or old you are, you can appreciate and even participate in music for your entire life.  I have told my daughters it is one thing to like listening to music.  It is an entirely different level of enjoyment to MAKE music.  And a kid knows that when they have made a lifeless instrument create the sounds of a familiar song, they know they really put it all together.  They did something neat that others can enjoy.

Just in the first two days my fourth grade daughter had her recorder home from school, I started teaching her how to be a good musician.  I showed her good posture in her chair.  I helped her understand how to correct her fingering and breathing to make the right sound at all.  I helped her understand how to practice just a few notes at a time before she put together a musical tune.  I demonstrated the difference between random shallow breathing and long sustained breath for playing.

In just the first day, I could tell she was transforming from a curious but frustrated novice into a novice with a handful of practical skills and the beginnings of some very important habits.  Now yes, if you yourself are not a musician, you may not have been able to help your child exactly like I did.  However, it’s still a great  opportunity to facilitate good habits, patience, and dedication.  The shot of self worth my daughter got from taking something raw and made it into something very nice was measurable.  She lit up like a Christmas tree and was so proud of herself.  And my husband and I made sure she knew how proud we were of her.  You don’t have to know music to help a child build their self worth like that.

Every single fourth grader came home with a recorder on the first day of school.  I have no idea how many will become musicians by the time they hit high school, but certainly some will drop off.  You may already have sports or other activities in mind for them, especially if they’ve already shown an interest or some talent.  But don’t count out music as a viable option.  Chances are small my daughter will choose music as a career, but I know all the gifts it can give her if she chooses to dedicate herself.  The sound of a squeaky goose coming out of her bedroom the last few days has certainly been sweet indeed.

Music Develops Self Worth in Kids

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP is a practicing licensed mental health counselor in Nebraska.

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APA Reference
Krull, E. (2009). Music Develops Self Worth in Kids. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 18, 2020, from


Last updated: 19 Aug 2009
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