Does Music Have a Therapeutic Effect & How Child Get Benefited?
Created by Anurima Updated on Nov 25, 2019
"Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul" - Angela Monet
The connection between music and humans is known to begin in the womb. The benefit of music in a child’s physical, emotional and mental health is immense and this has been proven over the years by using music as therapy. I love to watch my 10-month-old baby sway and move to the sound of rhythmic music. It makes me smile and join him in his ‘dance’. Babies seem to be able to distinguish music from speech and the most common example is when a lullaby can soothe a baby to sleep even when the baby is at his crankiest best.
Does Music Really Have a Therapeutic Effect?
Music Therapy is a research based profession wherein music is used to achieve therapeutic and educational goals. This therapy is based on the understanding that human beings possess an inborn ability to respond to music, which remains unaffected by impairments, injuries or illness. Therapy for children is designed to provide with individual or group sessions depending on the specific needs of the children.
Effects of Music
Following are the effects of music for you & your child. Read this
- Music is known to stimulate the whole brain.
- Music therapy helps in finding an individual’s personal harmony.
- Music therapy is an important tool in treating psychological or psychosomatic disorders.
- Music stimulates the nerves through vibration.
- Music therapy helps improve a child’s concentration level and attention span.
- Music brings about a sense of mental well-being.
Adults and children with special needs can greatly benefit from sessions of music therapy. This therapy is known to help children in the following stages of life:
- In Neonatal Care - Music, with its components of sound and rhythm, can arouse a withdrawn baby, and can effectively calm anxious and crying babies. Music can also act as a sleep inducer, which can help soothe a baby to sleep.
- With Autism - Autism is a neuro-development disorder, symptoms of which include impaired communication, limited interest and repetitive behaviour. Music therapy for children with autism includes incorporating music which engages the children in dancing, singing, helping them with stronger speech skills and better eye contact.
- With Learning Difficulties - Children with learning disabilities are said to understand and interpret information differently than normal children. They usually cannot stay focussed and maintain concentration. With the help of music therapy, children learn to concentrate and focus and are also able to retain information. Slow and comforting music helps them calm down thereby channelling their frustration, if any, towards a more amicable direction.
- With Down Syndrome - Children with Down syndrome often suffer from speech and language problems, short attention span and can get easily distracted. The rhythms and repetitiveness of music help a child remember something more easily as compared to just being told about it.
- Who Is Hearing Impaired - The main goal of music therapy for children who are hearing impaired is to develop and expand the residual hearing to the maximum and help with speech development by using the vibration effects of music.
- With Emotional Behaviour Concerns - A child or adolescent with an emotional disorder may develop behavioural problems such as anger, aggression, suicide attempts, seclusion from family members, social isolation, academic failure, and alcohol or drug abuse. In such instances, music therapy helps improve self-esteem, facilitates communication and self-expression, and helps reduce tension and anxiety through relaxation techniques.
- With Physical Disabilities - Children with physical disabilities are helped in maintaining or restoring physical functioning by motivating movements prescribed in physical rehabilitation.
The techniques are used to develop and maintain joint and muscle function, increase control and muscle strength, improve oral skills, help in relaxation as well as provide an outlet for self-expression, all by way of using the reinforcing nature of music.
How Does a Typical Therapy Session Proceed?
- Once a child is enrolled, the therapist makes an assessment of the child’s skills and areas which need attention.
- In the first session, the therapist makes an evaluation of the child through his/her musical responses.
- Based on the assessments, the therapist determines the objectives and goals for the therapy. This involves designing musical activities to address the goals.
- The child’s progress is monitored. The goals and objectives may be changed or adjusted from time to time if need be.
Where Do Music Therapists Work?
- Pre-schools, nurseries, centres for children with special needs
- Schools for children with learning difficulties and or visual and hearing disabilities
- Hospitals and care centres
- Centres for children with learning difficulties
Music Therapy in India
Music has been used as a therapeutic agent from the ancient times. The classical compositions or Ragas have been acclaimed to have healing effects by Vedic Science. The Raga is the basis of melody and has been found to cure many diseases. The original Raga or Shastrik Music is based on the harmonious consonance between the seven Swaras (musical notes) and the Chakras (energy centres in the body). Shastrik Music vibrates and soothes one mentally and also energises the organs in the body. The rhythmic sounds of temple bells and conch shells produced in temples or places of devotional practices are also known to have therapeutic effects.
Enjoy Therapeutic Music with Your Child at Home
Children are not all that carefree as we perceive them to be. They have their sets of worries- academic pressure, peer pressure, expectations from parents and the list can go on. You can help your child unwind and relax by making them listen to some soothing music at the comfort of your home. You may select soft music or song, make your child sit comfortably and remove all distractions. Play music at a gentle volume or let him/her listen through the use of earphones. You may also choose to sing a song with your child. Even getting down on the floor with your toddler with some pots and pans to create rhythmic music is a great way to relieve stress. Babies love lullabies. There is nothing more comforting for a baby than hearing his/her mother sing or hum a tune. Music taps into the residual hearing as we humans hear music through the vibrations. This stimulates a child’s kinaesthetic sense (awareness of the present), which will help them achieve academic, social, emotional, communication goals, as well as enhance risk-taking, creativity and gross motor skills. We do not need to go to a therapist to benefit from the wonders music can do to the physical and mental health of a child.
Where words fail, music speaks- Hans Christian Andersen.