Parenting is no easy task under normal circumstances, and when your child is suffering from a mental health condition, it can make things that much harder. It is a struggle for you both as you try to understand each other, and expression may not come easily to your child. This is where music therapy comes in, and it may be just what your child needs in order for you both to learn how to talk to each other and say how you feel.
What is Music Therapy?
This is a form of expressive therapy and one that kids are sure to love. This is because they get the chance to create their own music for the duration of the session – either in a group or in a one to one setting with the therapist. There is also the option to listen to music while performing a creative task, like painting, while the therapist is in the room.
It doesn’t matter if your child has musical skill because all of the instruments provided can be played by anyone. It has been designed to allow for free emotional expression, opening the gateway to talk about the feelings, or learn more about them through the songs that the children create. It also offers the opportunity to work through any past trauma, as well as learn new and healthy forms of expression.
How Can it Help Children?
Before we get into the specifics, here are some of the ways in which music therapy is able to help children learn, grow and achieve their own milestones:
- The ability to listen better
- Spontaneous play
- The desire to communicate and engage with others
- The ability to build better relationships
- The ability to express themselves
- Language development through songs
- Learning to share and take turns
- Boost the imagination and creativity
- Strengthen muscles and coordination
Brain scans show that the area where language is stored looks the same in those communicating with words as it does with those communicating through music. This is especially important when we look at non-verbal children, as it gives them a new way to get their feelings across and release pent-up emotions. Even the most basic instruments provide them with this level of freedom. As a result, music therapy can be highly beneficial for children with the following issues:
Music and Infant Development
A number of studies have been done where the effects of music on a growing fetus are studied closely while it develops inside the womb. It has been shown, as a result, that a child who listened to music in the womb is more receptive to it after birth. It is interesting because it shows some babies may have found music that relaxes them when they become distressed before they are born, helping them to sleep quietly and more peacefully.
Additionally, preterm babies that are exposed to music tend to have increased feeding rates, reduced days to discharge, increased weight gain, and a better tolerance of stimulation. After therapy, they may even have reduced heart rates and deeper sleep. All of this is incredibly interesting for the future and could lead to some fascinating discoveries as the tested babies grow into adults.
Language and expression come in many forms; something made clear by the ways in which music is able to bridge the gap between us. If you and your child are struggling, then music therapy might just be the answer that you have been searching for. Additionally, if you found this to be an interesting read, you should consider our detailed article on the topic of music, mental health, and how music therapy fits in with it all.
Will Tottle is a freelance writer & blogger. If you are interested in more information on music therapy, audio guides and gear reviews , be sure to check out Will’s audio guides here. Follow Will on Facebook.