I don’t know about you, but when I hear a beat – I’m a toe tapper! I’m one of those people who even at a symphony concert can’t … sit… still. And even though I took many years of piano lessons was never very good and the same goes with my dance skills! However, there is something about music, any kind of music that moves me.
When my kids are little I make sure they hear lots of music, classical, pop, jazz and on and on. They tend to prefer classical so I would always have a CD or two in the car or play it in their rooms during nap time. There is some information out there that certain classical music, especially Mozart can be beneficial to a growing brain. There are studies that will tell you that mathematics is enhanced from learning to play an instrument etc.
So when it came to Music therapy which there is not just listening, but physical involvement for kids we thought we’d give it a try. Learning songs can help with speech and language. The rhythm instruments and drums used during a class can facilitate with motor planning. Trying to keep beat with the music takes some processing, even for the rest of us!
For Oskar the gains were not overnight, but in the extra footage for the documentary, you can see how in time he was participating more and more each class. I truly believe that Oskar loves music, he seems to hum and move to the music as if it overtakes him. Music and the arts generally work the right side of the brain. Having balance in learning is important and all our children are encouraged to just belt out a song, hum a tune while doing a chore, or just have a regular old family dance party in the kitchen! When we let go, move to the beats and get ourselves laughing there are obvious benefits to our health – physical, emotional and mental.
I don’t believe that Music Therapy can be a stand-alone therapy for children or adults with special needs, however, it’s a great supplemental therapy. Also, I don’t think it needs to be all that complex. Oskar gets enjoyment out of the little things we can do at home as much as he can with a formal class, progress might be a bit slower and for parents, there is more involvement required, but there are still benefits to be had.
See if your child responds to music. Can they keep a beat? Can you incorporate some physical movements? If you’re stuck with trying to find songs geared to your child, then start with the old stand –bys… Wheels on the bus, Head and Shoulders etc. We have some footage that we are hoping to release to show more of Oskar’s experience with Music so check back here to the blog and see what’s happening. I also have plans to integrate some Art therapy as well. All of our kids, except Oskar (at the moment) can draw.
For Ted drawing images in his “Big Book of Teddy” helped him to express a lot that was going on in his head that he didn’t have words for. He still draws everyday in his sketch book, but now they are comic ideas or the plans for a future video game he will create. Even though it will all be done with coding there is something for Ted that formulates it better if he can put pencil to paper and see what the characters, backgrounds etc. will look like!
As a lefty, right brains rule!! So get the music on the radio and let it overtake your body… there is no right or wrong way to dance and I LOVE that!!