BA Music Therapy

What is Music Therapy?

Music Therapy is a clinical evidenced-based and well-established professional health discipline that uses music as the therapeutic stimulus to achieve non-musical treatment goals. It consists of using music therapeutically to address physical, psychological, cognitive, behavioral and/or social functioning.


Who would benefit from Music Therapy?

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Intellectual Disabilities

Developmental Delay

Children with Emotions or Behavioral Issues

Music Therapy in Special Needs Children

Music therapy is an effective approach for addressing areas of development that are challenging for children with special needs. Music therapy differs from music teaching/education, it’s emphasis on using music for individualized goals such as emotional and personal growth, rather than as a cognitive skill-set to be learned and practiced. Therapeutic interventions include instrument playing, singing, music movement, listening, improvisation, creating music or composing and so on.


What Music Therapy can do?

Common Music Therapy Goals in Children with Special Needs

Explanations and Examples






Improve Social and Emotional Skills

- Music is an excellent medium for exploring and expressing emotions. Using ISO principle, music therapy holds children’s emotions, helping them to recognize and express their emotions in an appropriate way, thus decreasing self-harming behaviors.  


- Structured therapeutic music interventions that incorporate movement, songs and rhythmic activities provide a stimulating environment in with social behaviors can be practiced and learned.


- In musical experiences, children can practice responding to others, greeting others, taking turns, listening, sharing instruments and ideas.


-The pleasure of participating in musical activities is a powerful reinforcer and usually captures the children’s attention and cooperation.



Development of Communication Skills

- Auditory awareness is a necessary skill for language comprehension. Devising music control exercises for tracking, locating, identifying and discriminating among sounds can help children develop higher level of auditory awareness.


- Music Therapist use melody, rhythm, tempo, pitch, dynamics, and lyrics to develop expressive language, receptive language, and the capability to follow directions.



Development of Pre-Academic Skills

- Attention. Using aural, visual, tactile and other sensory cues, music therapist can help improve attention of children by require them to wait for a musical cue, such as to beat a drum or to sing his/her part.


- Following Directions. Music activities with directions in the lyrics are effective in helping children to learn a sequence of directions.


- Eye contact. Eye contact highly related with the development of attention span and the ability of communicate. Interesting therapeutic music experiences help children making eye contact with therapist or peers.



Development of Academic Skills

- Therapeutic music experiences can be used to teach academic concepts, such as colors and shapes, size, number, spatial concepts, and recognizing the differences between first, second and last.


- For example, colors can be taught through the use of different-colored instruments, and spatial concepts (high/low) can be conveyed with musical pitches.


- Enjoyable, familiar melody paired with learned information is an effective way to improve retention.


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