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  • Writer's pictureGHF CAT Team

Beat Your Values!

This activity explores how easy or difficult it can be to hold on to our own values or sense of ourselves in different situations and contexts

What you’ll need: Another person, two instruments (or use body percussion or experiment using objects around the house such as pots or pans or pens on tapping table tops).

What’s it for?

Even if we believe we have a strong sense of ourselves this can be profoundly affected by our environments. This activity gives us an experience of this through a musical activity. Knowing that our contexts help shape who we are can allow us to think about what is fundamentally important to us and we might choose to be rigid or flexible to outside influence.

Check In:

Notice how you’re feeling right now. Close your eyes and notice what’s going on inside your mind and body.

  • How are you feeling?

  • What are you thinking?

  • How does your body feel?


  • Make a list of some of your values or qualities that you find important. Your partner should do the same. These might be things like:

    • Kindness

    • Playfulness

    • Honesty

    • Loyalty

    • Freedom

    • Fairness

  • Discuss the lists with each other. Do you share any values or qualities? (It doesn’t matter if they’re the same or completely different!).

  • On an instrument (or using body percussion or an improvised instrument) make up a simple rhythm or musical motif to represent one of your values. This might be as simple as tapping out the syllables of the word. For example, ‘LOYALTY’ might be tapped out ‘Loy-al-ty’ with a quick-quick-slow pattern. It could be something more abstract and complex though as long as you can remember and repeat it easily.

  • Teach your musical motif to your partner.

  • Now try to hold onto your value and continue to play it securely while your partner plays with you in different ways (see below). After each, discuss how easy or difficult it was to stick to your value.

    • Your partner plays your value along with you at exactly the same time.

    • Your partner plays another of your values with you at exactly the same time. Make sure you’ve discussed what this might be beforehand and worked out the rhythm / musical motif for it.

    • Your partner plays along one of their values with you.

    • Your partner plays something deliberately trying to put you off your ‘value’.

  • Now switch roles and let your partner have a turn at holding onto their values while you play with them in different ways.

Extra Activity: Try to figure out which or your values fit together well musically with the help of your partner. Also try to see whether the musical values of you and your partner fit together easily or not. If you have access to instruments, experiment with different ones and see how the activity feels playing something else.

When you’ve finished, spend a moment reflecting on the activity and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did you learn anything new about yourself while you did this activity?

  • Was it easy or challenging to hold onto your musical values?

  • Did this activity teach you anything about how outside influences might affect your ability to hold onto your values?

  • Did anything else surprise you about this activity?


This activity helps you to reflect on how our environments and people around us affect our values and qualities. Knowing where it is easier or harder to hold onto our values and qualities is useful for keeping us accountable and acting with integrity.

Take a moment to notice how you are feeling at the end of this activity. Did you discover anything surprising? What can you take away to make you feel better about yourself from this activity?

If you would like to, share something about your experience with this activity with someone you live with! Ask the person who looks after you to send us an email if you have any questions or comments about the activity, or would like to send us any pictures ( Don't forget to subscribe for more fun CAT activities!

Created by Ian Grundy © February 2022


This activity was inspired by and based on some of the exercises in the excellent book:

Faulkner, S. (2017): Rhythm to Recovery, London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers


Creative Arts Used: Music

Psychological Areas Explored: Communication, Self Exploration, Resilience, Relationships

If you enjoyed this activity, you might also like:

These activities could be done by children of all ages, but some may need the support of their parent or carer to read the instructions or complete the activity safely.

This website was made by CAT Corner to help you explore your feelings through fun creative arts activities. The people using the website and the people responsible for them need to make sure they stay safe (full disclaimer on About page).

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