Children are little creative scientists. If you ever watch a child, they experiment, test, draw, sing, dance, imagine, and play their way to learning. This is true for almost any type of learning they need, from learning the alphabet to learning how to throw a ball, learning right from wrong, and learning first words.
Music is one of the ways through which children learn. In fact, music itself is such a powerful tool for learning and growing that there’s an entire profession dedicated to it: Music Therapy.
According to the American Music Therapy Association, “Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.” Music therapists can target motor goals, learning goals, social goals, emotional goals, and even speech and communication goals through music-based interventions.
Now music therapy doesn't work only with children. Board-certified music therapists also work with teenagers, adults and older adults. In fact, it may be one of the few professions that can work from cradle-to-grave...from NICUs to hospices.
Music works as a therapeutic tool because (as music neuroscientist Daniel Levitin says in his book This is Your Brain on Music) our bodies like rhythm and our brains like music. A quick overview of some of the reasons why music as therapy works:
Note: This article is adapted from articles I originally wrote for Pediastaff, a nation-wide staffing company for pediatric therapists, and PositScience, a company that provides brain fitness and brain training software.
Follow me on Twitter @KimberlySMoore for daily updates on the latest research and articles related to music, music therapy, and music and the brain. I invite you also to check out my website, www.MusicTherapyMaven.com, for additional information, resources, and strategies.