Teen Confidence – Using Music to Help Teens Express Themselves and Develop A Sense of Self Confidence

In the journey of adolescence, building confidence is key. Teens face a myriad of life challenges that can impact their self-esteem. From academic pressures to social dynamics, these years are formative in shaping their self-confidence. However, for those struggling with low self-confidence, music offers a unique and powerful avenue for growth and expression.

Music: A Tool to Build Confidence and Express Emotions

Music is so much more than just a form of entertainment; it's a medium through which teens can express their complex emotions and experiences in a way that doesn't leave them feeling exposed and vulnerable. For many teens dealing with low self-confidence, articulating feelings can be daunting - and finding the right vocabulary: almost impossible. Music provides an alternative way to communicate and process these emotions. By engaging in music, whether through playing an instrument, singing, or songwriting, teens can explore and express their feelings in a safe and constructive manner. This process not only helps in understanding and managing emotions but also in building the confidence to express them.

Cultural Background and Music: Finding One's Voice

Every teen has a unique cultural background [whether we're discussing ethnic culture, pop culture, economic culture, or familial ties] that shapes their perspective. It's important that we honor these aspects of our young people in order to help them recognize the strength and importance of their culture as being a part of who they are.

Music is a universal language that transcends cultural barriers, allowing teens to explore and express their heritage and experiences, thus building their self confidence on a more personal level. By connecting with music that resonates with their cultural background, teens can develop a stronger sense of identity and self-esteem. This exploration fosters a trustful relationship with their own heritage, encouraging them to embrace and celebrate their uniqueness.

This might mean incorporating indigenous language into lyrics, using "unconventional" instrumentation into a composition, or using a specific rhythm from one's cultural background.

Overcoming Failure and Doubt through Music

Failure and doubt are inevitable parts of growing up. For teens, these experiences can significantly impact their self-confidence. Music teaches us that failure is not just a possibility but a valuable part of the learning process. When a teen learns an instrument or writes a song, they are bound to make mistakes. However, it's through these mistakes that they learn and improve. This understanding helps build resilience and the belief that they can succeed despite setbacks.

To take this one step further, however, one of the key lessons that I often tell my clients is that "in music, much as in life: it's important to know the rules so that we can break them", or "understand how to color outside the lines when appropriate". In other words: while mistakes may happen: they are either opportunities to

  • Adjust and try again


  • Challenge societal expectations that we may not necessarily fit into

Not every song is a masterpiece. Not every lyric is meant to make people feel comfortable. But they are there to authentically express an individuals thoughts, feelings and ideas healthily.

Success in Music: Gaining Skills and Confidence

Success in music doesn't always mean performing on a big stage; it can be as simple as mastering a new chord or writing a personal song. Each small success in music is a confidence booster. Teens gain not just musical skills but also life skills such as discipline, patience, perseverance, and self expression. These skills are crucial in building self-confidence and preparing them for other life challenges.

A perfect example of this would be a song that several middle schoolers wrote in 2023 with my guidance: a personal anthem tackling that oh-so-scary topic of having their feelings validated.

Advice for Teens: Embrace Kindness and Positive Thinking

One piece of advice for teens struggling with self-confidence is to practice kindness towards themselves and engage in positive thinking. Music can be a powerful ally in this. The act of creating and enjoying music can be a form of self-kindness, a way to nurture their mental health and well-being. Additionally, music can help shift their thinking patterns from negative to positive, reinforcing their belief in their abilities.

A great exercise for exploring how this can work is to write a personal mantra song. What "I Am" statements can you or your teenager use to help them turn their negative thoughts and ideas into empowering ones?

Instead of "I'm scared of the dark", saying "I am the light in a dark room" can be incredibly effective. Other examples might be:

  • I hate my job = I'm lucky enough to be able to work

  • I hate my body = this body is my home, and I'm going to treat my home with love, care and respect

  • Nobody loves me = I love me, and everyone else is missing out

This isn't just for teens either. We all can benefit from some positive thinking. I even wrote my own personal "I Am" mantra song a couple of years ago.

The Power of Talking and Sharing through Music

Music also provides a platform for teens to talk about their experiences and connect with friends who share similar interests. This connection can be instrumental in building confidence. When teens share their music, they are also sharing a part of themselves, which can foster deeper, more meaningful friendships.

Music is a multifaceted tool that can significantly impact a teen's journey towards building self-confidence. Through expressing emotions, connecting with their cultural background, learning to deal with failure and doubt, achieving success, practicing kindness, and sharing their thoughts, teens can use music to develop a strong sense of self and navigate the complexities of adolescence with greater confidence.

When you're ready to help your teenager learn how to turn their self doubt and low self esteem into an anthem of self confidence: I would love to hop on a call with you to discuss how I can support their journey through songwriting.

Simply click here to book a call, and let's get your teen on the road to emotional stability, higher self esteem, and a better, more communicative relationship with you!

I look forward to speaking with you soon.

~ Emma G

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