What is Music Therapy? Children Grow Healthy Brains Through Music!
Music has a unique ability to access and activate parts of the brain in children as no other modality can. This allows not only for an enjoyable experience but a truly therapeutic one as well.
The components of music such as rhythm, melody, tempo, dynamics and structure allow children with autism or developmental/speech delay, to optimize benefits from therapy. Below are a sample of elements and applications used in music therapy:
Musical Elements and Their Benefits
- Rhythm in music aids the brain in speech/language organization, comprehension, motor planning and attention in children.
- Melody and harmony in music aid in speech production and comprehension, attention,auditory sensitivity and social behavior.
- Tempo is critical in organizing speech, motor planning, sensory regulation, attention and social behavior.
Music Therapy Applications
- Singing accesses speech portions of the brain that may not be accessible by other means. This allows children to hear, process and produce speech. Music is
intrinsically fun and engaging and builds social skills and attention in children.
- Therapeutic Instrument Play is when children play instruments with a purpose. Children play a wide variety of instruments to address therapy issues such as speech, crossing mid line, balance, and strength, tracking and fine motor control.
- Musical Games and rhymes allow for melody and rhythm to come together with structure. This helps children organize multiple elements of speech and social expectations. Expectation and repetition serve as a means to reinforce social skills, comprehension and attention.
- Whistles, kazoos and unique wind instruments develop oral motor strength and kinesthetic understanding. Children are better able to control their muscles for speech,
sucking, blowing and breathing.
- Improvisation is used to help children develop natural social communication without speech. Imitation, initiation and call and response are addressed while playing together helping to improve social skills and attention.
Music therapy is available to children of all abilities. Talent or musical experience is not necessary and every plan is tailored to your child. Music events offered are accessible to all, and aim to help your child achieve their highest potential based on their strengths and needs.
Children who enjoy music therapy have such fun that they often do not realize that it is therapy. The sheer enjoyment aids in comprehension as it is naturally motivating and delightful.