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The magic of music on children’s emotional wellbeing

Whether it is strumming some chords to a Jimmy Hendricks number or having a sing-along to Taylor Swift, music has been proven to have far-reaching positive effects on our mental health. This is especially important for children and young people. Not only does music encourage self-expression but it can also allow young people to explore their own identities, develop emotional resilience and improve self-esteem. In this blog we explore the reasons why music can be far more than just a melody. 


Music mental health

Boy on a bed with his guitar listening to music through headphones

Emotional expression

Without us even realising it, listening, singing or writing music can be extremely liberating. Sometimes it is hard for young people to find the right words to describe how they are feeling. Music provides a positive outlet for expression. If given the option of sitting down and talking about what's getting them down or blasting their favourite song and singing at the top of their lungs, most would choose the latter. 

Music can stir emotions in us like nothing else. That is why it can really help young people get in touch with thoughts and feelings they may otherwise not have been aware of. With mobile phones, social media and the web all serving as a distraction, they can also lower children’s capacity to be present and self-aware. But music can cut through the noise.

Music and mental health

Writing it, in particular, can be good for emotional development and resilience. Whether it is playing an instrument, writing down lyrics or just making a racket, it all counts. The act of creating music requires focus, and often collaboration with others. This experience can encourage a child to be more sensitive and conscious of their feelings, whilst also creating something of their own in the process.

Lifting moods

Music has the power to change or boost a young person’s mood. Upbeat and cheerful music can lift a child's spirits, while calming can help them relax. Don’t just take it from us, scientific studies show that when we make or listen to music, we produce the hormones serotonin and adrenaline. They work to get us energised and feel happy. 

Not only this, but music helps to create a feeling of group togetherness or bonding. When a young person listens to their favourite artists they are able to relate their feelings to something else. It contributes to making them feel more understood and less isolated with their emotions. 

Playing music wellbeing

Girl learning the piano with teacher

making young people happy

Music is also an important tool for children with anxiety. While it is socially used, to hype us up, or create drama in a movie, it can also be used to help us relax. This is a large part of musical therapy. Using music to change the reaction of young person to a particular situation, that otherwise, would have made them stressed or anxious. The style or song that will calm a young person will vary but the outcome should be the same.  

young man standing by sports court in grey hoodie

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Finding an identity

Finding an identity

Identities don’t just show up one day, they emerge from childhood experiences. Music offers one such experience. A good early sign of identity development is when children become musically aware. They start to take control of what they listen to. And on top of this, suddenly parents find themselves negotiating what to put on in the car on a long journey... 

Whether a young person is into drill music or classical, chances are it is a big part of their identity. From dressing a certain way, learning a certain instrument, to who they hang out with. Music plays an important part in children figuring out who they want to and don’t want to be. It helps them form connections with others in school and elsewhere. A lot of friendships start through a shared love of a band or style of music.

Girl plays violin smiling

The fun factor

With all that said, the most important thing is, music should be enjoyable. Incorporating it into a young person’s life, whether through formal music education or just listening to the latest pop hits, can contribute significantly to their mental health and wellbeing. It is important to encourage and support the unique ways in which each child engages with music.  

And remember, there is no right or wrong way to enjoy music. 

It is important to encourage and support the unique ways in which each child engages with music. You can do so yourself by gifting a young person a streaming subscription, music lesson or ticket to a concert through our Give Hope shop today.

Author: Edward Herbert