Innovative music program builds self-esteem and creativity

July 13, 2009

A chorus of children’s voices filled the Hancock St. John’s Learning Center invoices North Philadelphia on a Friday night in June as students involved in the Hear Our Voices music therapy program celebrated their CD release party.

In call-and-response form, the group members — who call themselves “The Golden Angels” — sang the lyrics to a song dedicated to Barack Obama as their parents, family members and friends listened and cheered them on.

When the 14-week program began this spring, some of the children were shy about participating in the after-school song-writing sessions. But by the evening of the CD release party, they were confident and ready to share their newly honed talent with an enthusiastic audience. Such a transformation is common when children are given an opportunity express themselves in a supportive environment, said Joke Bradt, assistant director of the Arts and Quality of Life Program.

“Through the creative process, they come away with very important life lessons,” said Bradt. “But it doesn’t happen because of adults preaching or telling them what to do. It happens in a very creative and fun way — they discover themselves through the creative process.”

To listen to the Hear Our Voices podcast or to learn more about the program visit


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