Supporting Middle School-Age Children Through Music Therapy

As a counselor and music therapist who has worked with children in schools, I understand the challenges that middle school-age children face. It’s a difficult time because they are navigating an in-between stage where they feel more grown-up than they are, but the reality is that they’re still children. While they want and need more independence, they also need guidance and support, and it’s important that the trusted adults in their life can provide this for them.

Middle School-Age Children Face a Variety of Stressors

Today’s middle school-age children face unique stressors such as academic pressures, problems at home, or the distorted virtual realities of social media. Bullying, including cyberbullying, is on the rise, and it can become incessant. As a result of these pressures, suicide is becoming a leading cause of death among middle school students.[1] It is essential to acknowledge these challenges and find ways to support children during this crucial time.

Music Can Help Middle School-Age Children Learn Key Life Skills

Music can play a crucial role in developing key life skills that are essential for children at this age. This is because many young people are interested in and motivated by music. Key life skills that music can support include self-control [2], self-mastery [3], resiliency, and perseverance. These are important skills that help children take responsibility for their actions and make healthy life choices.

A group of diverse middle school students in a choir ensemble

However, many children today are facing increased difficulty controlling their bodies and behaviors due to feelings of anxiety, depression, or anger. Likewise, as they spend more time connected to devices, the reward circuits in their brains are getting wired to respond to instant gratification. This leads to a loss of resiliency and perseverance toward undertaking more challenging tasks and activities.

By learning how to manage their emotions and regulate their behavior, and continue persevering even when it feels difficult to do so, children can become the person they want to be and experience great success in their lives. Music can support them with this by providing them with an opportunity to express, identify, and understand their emotions. As well, music can support them in developing resiliency and perseverance because learning how to play an instrument or a particular song, or learning how to compose their own song can be motivating, despite the challenges one may encounter during the creative process.

In this video, I talk a bit more about how kids at this age can develop some key life skills through music.

Ways that Music Therapy Can Help Your Middle School-Age Child

It is crucial to recognize that each child is unique and will require a personalized approach to therapy. In my work as a counselor and music therapist, I take the time to get to know each child and develop an individualized treatment plan that addresses their specific needs. I offer a safe and supportive environment where children can explore their emotions and develop the skills they need to thrive.

My approach to therapy is holistic, focusing on the mind, body, and spirit. By incorporating music into therapy sessions, I can help children access their emotions and express themselves in a creative way. Music can also provide a sense of comfort and familiarity, making therapy sessions feel less intimidating.

Contact Me to See How Music Therapy Can Support Your Middle School-Age Child

In conclusion, middle school-age children face unique challenges that require specialized support. As a counselor and music therapist, I understand the importance of developing key life skills that can help children navigate this difficult time. By incorporating music into therapy sessions, children can learn self-control and self-mastery, develop resiliency and perseverance, and become the person they want to be. If you are a parent of a middle school-age child who is struggling, I encourage you to reach out to me. Together, we can develop a personalized treatment plan that supports your child’s unique needs and helps them thrive.


[1] The Jason Foundation – Facts and Stats
[2] Understood – How to Help Middle-Schoolers Gain Self-Control
[3] Filipponi, C., Schulz, P. J., and Petrocchi, S. (2020) – Effects of Self-Mastery on Adolescent and Parental Mental Health through the Mediation of Coping Ability Applying Dyadic Analysis

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