A Safe Place to Land: Music Classes as Havens for Anxious and Other Youth


Heather Lewis


The Canadian Music Educator




What characteristics of music classrooms, classes, and ensembles lead students to feel comfortable, safe, and accepted? In this paper, I seek to answer this question through an exploration of the research literature. Beginning with my own story, as a child with crippling anxiety, and leading into an overview of the struggles facing anxious and Other youth, the following themes are identified in the literature and framed through a personal lens. These themes include: (1) music's power to heal; (2) the teacher's influence in building safe spaces; (3) friendship and connectedness in music classes; and (4) music classes as communities and subcultures.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Adolescents; Anxiety; Community Music Experience; Mental Health; Recreative Music Methods; School Setting; ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Indexed Terms

Young adults; Students; Classrooms; Obsessive compulsive disorder; Anxiety disorders; Secondary schools; Mental health care; Learning; Subcultures; Society; Mental disorders; Music education

Study Type

Editorial, Opinions, Position Papers

Document Type


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