Online Music Therapy for Children

Musical Activities to Try With Your Kids from the Comfort of Home!

Hero Image Courtesy of Children’s Therapy of Colorado.

Online music therapy has become a gateway for healing during the Coronavirus pandemic. With the closure of many stores and offices, music therapists have had to find new creative ways to help their clients, and online musical activities do just that. Whether it be a music session on Zoom or recording at home activities with the little ones, the field of music therapy is making huge strides in providing aid through online music exposure. This article will be focusing on online music therapy programs and activities for children. 

Here is an outline of the topics that you should expect to be discussed throughout this article: 

  • How musical activities aid in a child’s development 
  • How music can help children and teens with special needs 
  • Music therapy activities and tools to try at home

The magic of musical medicine can build and heal the soul of both children and adults. Image courtesy of TheBestSchools

Benefits of Music in a Child’s Development 

A Few Ways Music Can Support Children’s Growth and Development 

Music ignites all areas of development. Music can establish skills needed for school such as socio-emotional, intellectual, motor abilities, and overall literacy. Music aids in the mind's ability to work in harmony with the body. A 2016 study conducted at the University of Southern California found that early musical experiences have the ability to accelerate brain activity and development as well as stimulate areas of language acquisition and reading skills. 

Here are a few musical methods that can be beneficial to a child: 

  • Singing - Research shows that a mother’s voice is essential to developmental growth. An infant can recognize its mother’s voice from others and is physically designed to bond with her through the voice. Singing helps deepen this bond and helps tremendously with language development and oral motor planning. Singing also helps with cognitive memory, learning, and recall. For example, the ABC’s have been ingrained in our brains from a very young age due to the song connected to the alphabet letters. Music is a huge part in how our brains learn! 
  • Dancing - Our bodies are wired to move in time with music and the more we dance the more opportunities there are to strengthen functionality. A tip for brain development through dancing is to practice crossing the midline. By this we mean having your child cross their left arm to the right side of the body and vice versa. Doing this can stimulate communication between the left and right side of the brain which is an essential part of early brain development. 
  • Playing instruments - Bringing out some plastic bowls and wooden spoons as makeshift percussion instruments can easily be used to make music. Playing instruments, of any kind, help with motor coordination while also giving children tactile sensory stimulation. Makeshift instruments are fun for the entire family! 

An explosion of neural activity is awoken as children create music and rhythm with pots and pans. Image courtesy of ReadPlayLearn.

Who Does Music Help?

Music Therapy as an Effective Intervention for Children and Teens With Special Needs

  • Engaging - Therapy for children and teens with special needs works the best when it captures their attention. Using music as the main form of therapy is an extremely creative way to help specialized learners make progress in and reach developmental and educational goals. Research shows that children diagnosed with disorders such as Autism, Rett Syndrome and William’s Syndrome are highly motivated by music. 
  • Structured - Neurological music therapy supports the use of music as a mnemonic device to aid in memory. Music is structured through its rhythmic patterns and repetition, making it a great tool for language concepts and social scripts. 
  • Accessible - Children with learning disabilities can find connection to rhythm. Everybody can experience, enjoy, and benefit from music regardless of physical limitation and cognitive abilities. Music can bridge social understanding between special learners and their peers. 

As well as aiding in developmental growth, music therapy can help socialize children with learning disabilities. Image courtesy of Medium

Music Therapy Activities to Try at Home in the Age of Social Distancing 

Online Music Therapy Programs and Techniques to Try at Home

Today we know the profound physiological and emotional effects of music. Music has the ability to affect the developing brain as well as make circuitry changes causing powerful neurological impacts. A few online resources and videos made for children and their families can be very helpful during the pandemic.

Presented below are online music therapy programs and activities that can be performed from the comfort of home: 

  • Meet in the Music - Meet in the Music is a multimedia course that is packed with demonstrative videos and original compositions by the creator Esther Thane. This is a great resource that helps children connect with their parents through music. 
  • Live virtual music therapy services - Virtual music therapy and adaptive music lessons or virtual meetings with a board certified music therapist are the new therapeutic options. Meet with a music therapist to address any of your child’s needs today. 
  • Incadence - Incadence is a teletherapy and technology firm that provides services via internet, video calls. They are the perfect company to reach out to during social isolation. If your child needs a music therapist that is readily available and board certified, Incadence is the perfect option for you. 

A few at-home activities include: 

  • Call to attention - This activity involves using music as a cue for starting and stopping. It also involves associating certain sounds with each activity. Playing music during a child’s favorite activities can act as a timer to signal the allotted time they are to do the activity. 
  • Music mnemonics - Using familiar songs such as “Mary Had a Little Lamb” can teach new information and build on cognition that is already known. 
  • Question/Responses - Music can take the place of yes or no responses in this family fun game. One person questions and the other person responds using “yes” instruments and “no” instruments. For example, these instruments would include tambourines, maracas, etc. 

Make sure check out Incadence for tips on how to help your child through music therapy!

Edited by Cara Jernigan on January 24, 2021.

Haley Wisniewski
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