Music therapy is a clinical-based method, where a certified music therapist uses music and music-based techniques to help realise individual goals. For children, music therapy holds a lot of benefits like easing social interaction to developing cognitive and creative skills. Recognising this very fact, a number of schools, education centres, clinics, and hospitals, have now engaged music therapists to conduct group or one-on-one sessions to help improve the functional skills of children.
Here, we round up a list of the ways in which music therapy helps young children:
- Music therapy is a two-way street. A music therapist encourages a child to sing along, play along, and to pick up a simple music instrument. Thus, it involves the participation of the child, and it is this participation which makes the child a fast learner. Add to this the fact that music therapy creates an entertaining atmosphere of sounds, rhythms and lyrics.
- Music and the patterns of rhythm involved in it help awaken a child's senses and alert them, thus facilitating development of various skills. As music activates both the right and the left centres of the brain, it not only helps in a child's cognitive development but also helps awaken his creative sensors.
- To speed up progress of speech and learning skills in children, therapists often write simple songs with fun lyrics that involve repetition. As children sing along, their learning process speeds up, and they're able to grasp faster.
- Music therapy also facilitates body movement of the child (similar to how in preschools, children are encouraged to perform actions while singing nursery rhymes). This empowers them to give meaning to their words and understand better.
- It also encourages a child's interaction with the family by welcoming their participation, and is a great bonding tool for the family too.
- Music is what we all turn to when we want to escape stressful situations and ease the mind and relax. For children too, music therapy helps them find an escape from tense situations. Therefore, in many hospitals, children dealing with terminal illnesses are often encouraged to participate in music therapy sessions, which help them relax and bring about a positive attitude.
- During therapy, the therapist and the child share a very empathetic relationship. Whether sessions happen individually or in a group, it fosters communication with a child, and hence increases their ease with social interaction. This is especially important when conducting sessions for children with autism. A recurring trait in children with autism indicates that they are uncomfortable with social interactions and indulge in repetition of their thoughts. With music therapy, they not only begin to sing songs and enjoy them, but also get more comfortable around other people.
It is clear that music therapy makes learning an enjoyable experience for young children. It not only helps smooth interaction with children with special needs, but also provides for a wholesome learning experience for kids everywhere.