Of all the interests and hobbies available to us, the enjoyment of music is one thing most of us have in common. It can lift our spirits, make us happy, provide inspiration or even make us emotional. Is it possible that it can be therapeutic as well?
Music keeps the entire brain engaged, and considering it can inspire a number of different emotions, it can be effectively used in a therapeutic setting. On top of being indifferent to personal belief systems and biases, exposure to music is also beneficial for the growth and development of your child’s brain. This makes musical therapy a great choice even if your child isn’t suffering from any significant emotional or developmental problems.
Musical Therapy and Its Many Benefits
If your child is a bit behind in learning to speak, musical therapy may help. One study, which followed 18 young children as they did musical therapy for approximately eight weeks, found a positive association between the therapy and improved communication and relationships. The ability to speak and understand speech improved. There were major improvements in general intelligence as well, and over the study period, all of the children caught up to the appropriate level for their age.
It’s no secret that music is deeply tied to memory. It’s a safe bet that you’ve experienced having an annoying song stuck in your head. Toddlers have the ability to memorize songs, which is why we teach the ABCs in song form. Taking an active approach and using musical therapy can only further empower young minds and improve memory.
When children learn to play a musical instrument, they develop confidence in themselves. This is true for adults as well, but for a young mind, it can make a bigger impact. Learning a song or discovering how to play a few notes on the piano can be empowering for a young child. If they choose to continue learning music, that confidence will grow over time.
4. Motor Skills
Kids these days are developing motor skills in certain areas, such as playing video games. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is a subject for another blog, but it’s a sure bet that getting an early start in musical therapy and having access to a variety of instruments will fine tune motor skills. Playing a musical instrument requires hand movements that most children would never do on their own. Hand-eye coordination will also be strengthened by this activity.
5. Emotional Well-being
Maybe you’re reading this blog because your child is going through a tough time, and you’re wondering if musical therapy can help. If so, you’ll be glad to know that therapeutic options involving music have been shown to have positive results for anxiety disorders.
The Options for Musical Therapy
You can choose to work with a therapist that utilizes musical instruments and sound. However, there’s also a lot you can do to work with music at home.
Play an Instrument
Learning or improving your skills with an instrument while your children are young can help teach them about music. It might not always seem like it, but our kids are watching and paying close attention to everything we do. There’s a difference between a child listening to an mp3 and listening to one of their parents play that same song on an instrument.
It’s a teaching opportunity as well. When your children reach an appropriate age, you can begin showing them the basics. If they develop an interest, it can be something the two of you do together.
Have a Dance Party
Dancing is great exercise and a lot of fun! Encourage your children to dance to music, and if possible, make this a regular activity in your everyday routine.
Make Up Songs
When it comes to things like bedtime routines, cleaning up and meal time, creating little songs to describe the process will make things more fun for children.
If you’re still questioning whether musical therapy can benefit your children, give it a try and see. Therapy in all its various forms is never harmful, so there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain.