Show Notes

Anger is one of the most intense emotions that we feel as humans, and if we don’t learn healthy ways to manage & express it, anger can have a destructive impact on our relationships, mental health, and overall quality of life.

It can be particularly difficult to help our kids learn healthy ways to express anger because it’s such an antagonistic emotion.

Music can provide the perfect outlet for intense, negative feelings and a healthy form of self-expression.

Anger’s impact on the body

Anger isn’t an emotion that can easily be switched off or dismissed with logic. When something makes us angry, our bodies are flooded with chemicals that create a burst of energy, focus all of your attention on what’s made you angry, and get you ready to fight. ( has a great, detailed breakdown here.)

Our prefrontal cortex is responsible for managing our emotions so that our bodies don’t gear up for a brawl every time someone takes the last cookie we wanted. But kids don’t have a fully developed prefrontal cortex, so they’re getting flooded with those anger chemicals whether it’s “right” or not.

Feeling alone or misunderstood makes anger worse

As adults, we may not understand why a child is angry about something, either because we don’t have the right context or because we have a perspective that our child lacks. Either way, feeling alone in their anger or unable to properly express their feelings can make anger worse.

Music helps kids feel validated & understood

Dr. Genevieve Dingle and honors student Leah Sharman at University of Queensland conducted a study on how extreme music (like heavy metal) helps listeners process anger. According to Sharman: “When experiencing anger, extreme music fans liked to listen to music that could match their anger… The music helped them explore the full gamut of emotion they felt, but also left them feeling more active and inspired.”

Angry music gives children permission to feel their anger and like someone really understands what they’re going through. At the same time, enjoyable music triggers the release of dopamine, a “feel-good hormone,” creating feelings of pleasure and giving our bodies time to let the anger chemicals dissipate.

Performing Music Has Even Greater Benefits

Developing a musical skill – whether drumming, guitar playing, singing, or even song-writing – increases confidence and self-expression, which combat feelings of powerlessness that can exacerbate anger issues.

At Universal Music Center, we offer a wide variety of classes for children of all ages and skill levels. Consider signing your child up for a class today!

Episode Transcript

Hi and welcome to our podcast, “Music for Life Skills.” I’m Mike Arturi and I am the founder and executive director at Universal Music Center, and we are Red Wing Minnesota’s original non-profit music education organization, and today, we’re going to be talking about appropriate ways to express anger.

Today’s Topic: Dealing with Anger

Everyone, including kids, gets angry, but sometimes children don’t know the appropriate way to express their anger, and today, we’re going to show you some simple exercises that will help you to help your child appropriately—and in a healthy manner—express their anger.

So the way this exercise works is like this: the next time your child has an anger issue or some sort of a problem that involves being angry or aggressive, once they calm down, sit down and talk with them about songs that make them feel either happy or energized. A song or some sort of music that gives them a positive reaction.

Now this music doesn’t necessarily have to be happy songs. Sometimes this music is a little bit more aggressive or might sound angry, but the secret—and what we want to achieve with this song—is having a place for your child to release that anger. So the song will help them to release the anger out of them in through the song, and that’s the type of music that we want to choose.

So, the thing that we want to do is we would like to create a playlist. Create a playlist of quote-unquote “angry” songs for your child, and the next time they have an episode, have them turn to this playlist. Create a playlist of these songs and have your child turn to that playlist and listen to those songs as a way to express that anger and to calm down, and this will be your angry playlist for your child, and it’ll give them to rely on and something to turn to when they have those angry feelings.

Another great, fun thing you can do—and this is something you can do together with your child—is to have them pick some of their favorite angry songs and write their own lyrics to the melody of that angry song. And maybe they could tell a whole different story, or they could talk about why they feel angry, and they could write their own song that they can sing along to the melody of one of their favorite angry songs. So this is a great way for them to express and to personalize this process.

The angry music playlist validates their emotions, and this is something that they can turn to to release those emotions. And also writing down these emotions or these feelings gives them a positive outlet and a reliable method to manage their anger. Also, this process of going through these steps will give them something to rely on and a positive outlet to release their angry feelings.

For more lessons like this, don’t forget to check out our back catalog and go to to learn more about our programs here or to take lessons here at Universal Music Center.