Music and Self-Esteem

Musical experiences can help students develop a positive sense of self-esteem by enabling them to identify as individuals who can enrich life in their communities.

Music education programs provide opportunities for students’ understanding of themselves in relation to the world around them and often include a strong component of self-assessment, which supports identity development. (1-4)

Studies have also found significant increases in overall self-concept of at-risk youth participating in music programs, helping them to cope more effectively with the environment and acquire social competencies. (5-7)




  1. Heath, S.B., Soep, E. & Roach A. (1998). Living the arts through language and learning: A report on community-based youth organizations. Americans and the Arts Monographs, 2(7), 1-20.
  2. Noam, G. (1999). The psychology of belonging: Reformulating adolescent development. In A.H. Esman, L.T. Flaherty, & H.A. Horowitz (Eds.), Annals of the American Society of Adolescent Psychiatry (Adolescent Psychiatry Developmental and Clinical Studies, Volume 24). Hillsdale, NJ: The Analytic Press.
  3. O.F. Lillemyr, “Achievement Motivation as a Factor in Self-Perception”, Norwegian Reseach Council for Science and the Humanities
  4. Whitwell, D. Music learning through performance. A paper commissioned by Texas Music Educator’s Association, June 1977
  5. N.H. Barry, Project ARISE: Meeting the needs of disadvantaged students through the arts, Auburn Univesity, 1992
  6. Chesky, K.S. & Hipple, J. (1997). Performance Anxiety, Alcohol-related Problems and Social/Emotional Difficulties of College Students: A Comparative Study Between Lower-division Music and Non-Music Majors, Medical Problems of Performing Artists, 126-132
  7. Kennedy, John Roy. (1996). The Effects of Musical Performance, Rational Emotive Therapy and Vicarious Experience of the Self-Efficacy and Self-Esteem of Juvenile Delinquents and Disadvantaged Children, Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Department of Music and Dance, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS