Benefits of Music Therapy for Students during the Pandemic

Amidst the pandemic, students have been finding music as an outlet to cope with their stress.

While the pandemic has had major effects on everyone and their day to day lives, it has had an even larger impact on the lives of students. With the pandemic, students aren’t able to get a real social connection with their classmates, or have a hands on education. In fact, it is quite isolating for them.

With the wide range of benefits and applications of music therapy, there are quite a few ways that music can assist students through the pandemic. Some schools have already seen the benefits of music for their students during these unprecedented times.

Learn more about how music can help your student by understanding:

  • Benefits of Music for Student Pandemic Life
  • How to Incorporate Music into Students’ Pandemic Routine
A classroom in the COVID-19 pandemic includes spaced out desks and face masks.
For the few schools that are open, the classroom environment is nothing like a traditional school year. Image courtesy of Reuters.

Benefits of Music for Student Pandemic Life

Creating a sense of community and a way to process the pandemic, are two of the many ways that music can benefit students.

Any exposure to music can bring benefits to students, especially during a global pandemic. Even if your student isn’t directly in music therapy, there are still benefits that they can receive from exposure to music. For example, there are specific music therapy techniques that your student can utilize, which will help them to cope with the pandemic.

One of the biggest benefits of music for students right now is its ability to help them process the current events going on around the world. Between  racial injustice and the global pandemic, it is a lot for adults to take, let alone young students. Therefore, being able to engage with music that pertains to these issues makes it more digestible for students. They are able to have a better understanding of what is going on in the world around them.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, music can also act as a form of escapism for students. The constantly changing state of the pandemic and overload of information can be overwhelming for students. Music provides a place for students to completely indulge themselves in, so don’t have to think about the current state of the world.

Being able to disconnect from the reality of the situation allows students to relax in a way that they aren’t really able to at other times. Especially when you’re performing music, it really encapsulates your entire being, focusing on nothing except the music.

Particularly with music classes, it can create a sense of community for a student. While they can gain a sense of community within their normal classes, music classes in particular allow more creativity to flow, and a connection with students to develop. If a child is participating in lessons with an adult, the connection with the adult facilitator also helps the student by seeing another person that isn't a direct family member.

Student participating in Zoom class during the pandemic.
For students participating in remote learning, their pandemic experience can be particularly isolating.

How to Incorporate Music into Students’ Pandemic Routine

Both classes offered through the school or are extracurriculars are two ways to incorporate music into your student’s pandemic routine.

The easiest way to incorporate music into your student’s pandemic routine is for the student to be in a music class as a part of their school day. For students in elementary school, chances are that they are already participating in a music class at least once a week. For students in middle school or high school, a music class would have to be incorporated into their class schedule. Most schools have a wide variety of options to choose from like choir, orchestra, and jazz ensemble.

By engaging in music activities in their  educational environment (whether virtually or in person), the exposure will hopefully give the student a desire to bring  music into their routine outside of school.  Being introduced to music in a school environment, will teach students appropriate ways to engage with instruments or sing.

However, if it isn’t possible to incorporate a music based class into your student’s schedule, there are still other options that you can look into. These are still great options even if your student is already in a music based class during the school day!

One option is to find out what kind of music-related extracurricular options exist at your student’s school. These will vary based on whether your student is in elementary, middle, or high school, and will also depend on what the school is doing in terms of COVID-19 safety precautions. Options can range from marching band to choirs and will all provide a great exposure to music for your student!

Another option completely separate from the school environment, is to enroll your student in private music lessons. Many private music teachers are still operating virtually amid the pandemic. So, chances are you can find someone that will be able to help your student learn ways to channel their creativity into music. Not sure where to look for a private music instructor? Many music teachers are also private instructors on the side. Check out the Music Teachers Directory to find an instructor near you!

For parents that are musically inclined, you can play music for your children and encourage them to participate with you. Whether you have instruments at home or not, you can still set time aside to exercise your love for music. A bonus for this option is more family time!

A family enjoys music time during the pandemic.
Incorporating music into your student’s pandemic routine can be as simple as you want it to be!

Students across various age ranges are all experiencing the effects of the pandemic through loneliness, anxiety, and isolation. Regardless of your student’s current exposure to music, incorporating music into your student’s life will be worth it!

Dean Pinnell
Dean Pinnell is a senior at the University of Pittsburgh studying Communication and Fiction Writing.
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