What Can Music Therapy Do For Your Toddler?

How Music Therapy is Helping Tots Explore and Express Their Emotions.

Music therapy is employed in many contexts, but one particular situation where music therapy is exceptionally constructive is with children! For the same reasons that we often teach kids through songs (because we usually have an easier time getting through to children with music) music therapy is an amazing resource for children who may be on the autism spectrum or who may struggle with anxiety, ADD, or ADHD. Music therapy can to help them to convey their emotions. With children, who’s speech and communication skills are still developing, music helps to stimulate the brain in such a way that is conducive to a growth of self awareness, and helps them to communicate about their feelings or struggles.

Here is the Information You Need to Know About Music Therapy for Toddlers:

  • How Music Therapy Assists with Speech Development and Communication Skills
  • How Music Therapy Works for Children 
  • The Positive Outcomes of Music Therapy for Children
Two children sitting in some grass wearing brightly colored clothes, one is holding up a microphone.
Music helps kids to engage with what they’re learning and is often a motivator to get them to be focused in class.

How Music Therapy Assists with Speech Development and Communication Skills

Children who may be uncomfortable with speaking, find music therapy to be an amazing resource. A German study that focused on music therapy in children in particular found that music therapy helped children further develop their speech patterns. One reason why this was possible was that it got children to adapt to rhythms in speech patterns. It can be difficult to pick up on the rhythm of a conversation, as there is usually no uniformity to it. For children, or even people learning a new language, this can even make it difficult to tell where certain words are beginning and ending when hearing someone speak. With music, there is a consistent tempo that the words are being spoken in. This makes it easier to distinguish what is being said and how to speak for yourself. By matching the words to the beats of the music, children were able to progress in their speech development  quicker than children who were not engaging with music therapy. 

Children's speech also develops at a faster rate when they are engaging with music because it is more fun for them. They are more likely to be engaged with music than they may be in a non musical setting. For example, in classrooms, music is used to help children engage with learning or memorizing new information because their teachers know they will be having more fun learning that way. It also helps them to be more focused. This is partially due to the fact that music causes activity in both hemispheres of the brain in a way that is not seen in speaking or writing activities. This state of heightened engagement helps children to be able to express their thoughts and emotions with more confidence and comfortability.

Four kids sitting on steps making silly faces and holding up thumbs up signs
Music therapy can drastically increase children’s confidence and help them to reach out and make new friends

How Music Therapy Works for Children

 If a child is in an individual music therapy session, they may do several activities with their music therapist. Oftentimes, a music therapist will either create music with their patient, or listen to a piece of music together. Many music therapists have a greeting song that helps kids get in the right mindset for starting a music therapy session. Music therapists also work to find songs or types of music that help the children to slow their breathing/heart rates and relax. Drumming  is a really fun way to get kids engaged and help them build their confidence. Every music therapist will have their own preferred techniques for getting kids to engage with music and express their emotions. These are just a few examples of activities that kids may be doing in music therapy sessions. 

Children in an auditorium holding up colorful ukuleles
Group music therapy sessions can help children further their comfortability in social situations and improve their spatial awareness and fine motor skills.

The Positive Outcomes of Music Therapy for Children

Music therapy has other incredible benefits for children aside from accelerating their cognitive development. Music therapy also assists children in gaining more confidence. When children are able to get confidence boosts like this, they are better equipped to face social situations. This increased social confidence is a great motivator to try out music therapy for many children, but especially those who may be struggling with social anxiety. For kids who may be on the autism spectrum and are looking for ways to engage with other kids, music is a great motivator and helps relieve some stress when starting new conversations.

Another benefit that music therapy has in helping children learn, is that it improves fine motor skills. When a child is playing a musical instrument, they are honing those cognitive skills that are in charge of fine motor skills. Especially if children are playing music with another person, they have to be more spatially aware of the instrument they are playing, and how it fits together with the instrument the other person is playing. This simultaneously exercise parts of the brain the are responsible for fine motor skills and spatial awareness.

Music therapy is a great resource for people of all ages, but especially children. It improves not only a childs’ mental health, but also their physical state. All of these things help children to process and communicate their emotions. Clear communication is often a difficult undertaking for young children. They are still learning to interpret what they hear from the adults around them. Therefore, communicating their own experiences to adults can be quite difficult. Music therapy helps to ease the wide range of anxieties that come with social situations and expressing emotions. To learn more, contact Incadence and see if music therapy is the right fit for your child.

Edited by Cara Jernigan on January 19, 2021

Lily Taggart
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