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By Amani Project, posted on 16th July 2020

Using music for social and emotional development: Family activities from Amani Project

Music strikes a chord in every young person’s emotional development [1]. It sparks creative expression [2]. It also builds the kind of confidence to lead in and on all of life’s stages [3]. When young people create music together, connections are forged between each young person and their full potential, their peers, and ultimately their communities.

Amani Project programs are designed for young people aged 8–14 years old, but we know adults and families have fun and learn something too! While things might feel scarier and more uncertain than ever before, we have spent years developing programs specifically to prepare young people for this moment in history. What we want most is for young people (and their families) to have the space to explore their feelings, to sing, to beat a drum, to connect, to dance. Even if those things need to happen virtually, for now. So come along with us each week through the holidays as we make music together!

We’ll be sharing a fun music-making activity from Amani Project each week until September so that you can get involved. Complete the activities to earn badges and use music-making to make change.

Activity #1: Make an Instrument

Suitable for: all the family

We believe that everyone can make music.

For this activity, you will make an instrument using objects you can find around you, and experiment with rhythm. Watch Andrew Huang’s Found-Object Videos below to see how he used found objects to make beautiful music, then download the activity instructions to find out how to make your own instruments and start creating music.

Time: 1 hour (or more if you want!)

  • Pen or pencil, piece of paper
  • Amani DIY Instrument Cards
  • Objects that are potential musical instruments; recyclables, bottles, branches, pieces of wood, metal, old shoes, etc.

Download the activity instructions >

Activity #2: The 5 elements of music

Suitable for: Ages 5–12

Music is everywhere! It’s in our bodies, in nature, and how we speak.

The elements of music are all around us. They are in every part of our life, even our body! In this activity, you will first learn about the 5 elements of music: rhythm, beats, tempos, pitch and dynamics. Then you will teach them to someone else.

Time: 1 hour (or more if you want!)

  • Just yourself!

Download the activity instructions >

Activity #3: Teach the Mood Meter

Suitable for: Ages 5–12

All emotions are important (there are no “good” or “bad” emotions).

We all can learn how to express, describe, and shift our emotions. Music can help you express or shift your emotions. In this activity, you will learn about the Mood Meter and then you will teach a friend what you have learned.

Time: 1 hour (or more if you want!)

  • Pen or pencil
  • Piece of paper
  • Colour version of the Mood Meter (print or digital)

Download the activity instructions >

Activity #4: HARMONY BREAK! Mood Meter Floor Board

Suitable for: Ages 5–65!

All emotions are important (there are no “good” or “bad” emotions).

Working as a group, recreate the Mood Meter on your floor (or in your garden), and use body language, movement or beats to express your emotions.

Time: 10 minutes

  • Chalk, or any items that can be used to create four sections of a circle

Download the activity instructions >

Video: Hit songs of 2015 – Performed with household items | Andrew Huang

(Video may contain ads)

Get involved

If you’re interested in following our series of activities through July and August, you many also want to download and print our badges and journey card to reward your family’s progress.


[1] “Music Therapy and Emotional Expression: A Kaleidoscope of ….” https://www.academia.edu/35596645/Music_Therapy_and_Emotional_Expression_A_Kaleidoscope_of_Perspectives. Accessed 22 May. 2020.

[2]“(PDF) Music and trauma: The relationship between music ….” https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280003523_Music_and_trauma_The_relationship_between_music_personality_and_coping_style. Accessed 22 May. 2020.

[3]“Gifts of the Muse: Reframing the Debate about the Benefits of ….” https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2005/RAND_MG218.pdf. Accessed 22 May. 2020.

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