Kids, The Arts & Confidence

written by Ozaukee Talent founder, Angie Mack Reilly

I think that one of my favorite aspects of teaching music and drama to all ages is seeing my students transform toward greater confidence.  I see their faces light up when they learn a new skill and it is truly priceless.  Whether they are learning how to master a new piano song, compose an original piece on the guitar, sing louder on stage or nail down the character for their drama role, it’s all the same.  Learning a new skill at ANY age is a confidence builder.

“Self-esteem comes from feeling loved and secure, and from developing competence, and although parents often shower their kids with the first two ingredients, competence—becoming good at things—takes time and effort.  As much as we may want to, we can’t praise our kids into competence.”

— Jim Taylor, author of the book Your Kids Are Listening: Nine Messages They Need to Hear from You


I once had a piano student who began private lessons with me in his eighties.  He told me that the secret to growing old was to continually learn and do new things.  In his lifetime, he was a WWII pilot, Wisconsin state legislator, president of a bank, and the founder of a resort in Costa Rica to name a few.  One would think that achieving so much lifetime success would encourage him to rest on his laurels in retirement.  Instead, he chose to learn the piano.

Parents, why not learn to play the guitar or piano?  Or take a few singing lessons?  Brush up on your speaking or acting skills?  What a great way to model the importance of developing competence while having fun at the same time!  (Email me to set something up: )


But new skills can only be learned through healthy risk-taking.  (Certainly you entrepreneurs and business leaders know what I am talking about!)  There comes that active decision of moving beyond the fear of failure and launching into something new.  As an entrepreneur myself, I know what it is like to be afraid.  In my case, I surround myself with “can do” people.  Like my sister.  Before I started Ozaukee Talent, I was riding the fence between fear of calamity and the excitement of a new adventure.  My sister, an entrepreneur herself, is the one who coached me into jumping over to the side of adventure.  I am glad that I did!

Similarly, a lot of my time as as a director and instructor is spent affirming my students that making mistakes is all a part of learning a new skill.  I can’t tell you how many times a piano student will be frustrated because he or she can’t play a song perfectly on the first run through.  Or a singer forgets the words during our lesson.  “Rehearsals are for making mistakes,” I coach.  “You are just now learning this piece.  If you didn’t make mistakes early on, you wouldn’t be normal.”


little girl guitar

Children who develop a healthy self-esteem are less apt to be bullied, enter into unhealthy or abusive relationships, or have a fear of public speaking.

You see, I do more than just “teach piano, guitar, voice or acting lessons”.  I am an adult mentor who assists parents and caregivers in raising competent and confident children who will become the next generation of leaders.

Contact for private lesson information

One Reply to “Kids, The Arts & Confidence”

  1. What a great article, Angie! So true, about facing our fears, and surrounding ourselves with positive can-do people. As a professional resume writer and ghostwriter devoted to helping people succeed, the economy and job market has changed in deep ways. There’s a shrinking supply of real employment jobs, and growing ranks of “independent contractor” positions which require people to grab the steering wheel of their lives. We need to go inside to face those fears. As Elastigirl wisely says in The Incredibles, “things are different now. And doubt is a luxury we can’t afford anymore, sweeite.You have more power than you realize. Don’t think. And don’t worry! If the time comes, you’ll know what to do. It’s in your blood.”

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