Why Music Therapy


Why does Music Therapy work?
  • The brain is a musical brain. The rhythms of sound have a powerful impact on cognition. The information most adults consistently recall from childhood is songs and rhymes.
  • Emotional engagement is the key to effective learning. Music therapy engages the emotions; thus unlocking the brain and preparing it for learning.
  • People have at least seven distinct intelligences. One of these intelligence areas is the musical area. Often people with special needs learn best through music because that part of the brain is an older part of the brain and less likely to be damaged from birth defects, accidents, etc.
  • Enriched environments literally change the brain. Intelligence is not static. Students can lose brain cells in impoverished classroom environments; i.e., classrooms that are barren and unchallenging. Music therapy provides a way to enrich the educational environment of a student with special needs.
  • Singing and chanting relaxes people which puts them in the optimal state for language learning or pain management.
  • The rhythms of sound have a powerful effect on cognition skills. For students with special needs, retention of cognitive skills may be more consistent when music therapy strategies are used.
  • The rhythm and repetition of the texts of songs help students internalize the sounds and patterns of language.
  • Long term word for word accuracy in recall often comes if something is set to words and melody. (i.e., A-B-C song)
  • Connecting song, language and movement dramatically increases learning.
  • Rhythm, rhyme and music are powerful hooks to memory. Adults remember songs from childhood and the emotional context surrounding them.
  • Research studies have shown that 80 - 90% of individuals with autism respond positively to music as a motivator.
  • Research has shown that music is a valued tool for stimulating the right side of the brain; and also is helpful in encouraging bilateral activity between the brain hemispheres.
  • The area of the brain that responds to music is located in a different area than the speech and language area.
  • Music can be paired with primary reinforcers (food!) to help a student develop a reaction to a secondary reinforcer and reduce dependency on food rewards.
  • The sounds and vibrations of music can be a temporary replacement for self-stimulating behaviors exhibited by a student.
  • Music is an easy reinforcer to deliver; it doesn' t require heavy duty equipment!
  • Music used as a reinforcer does not tend to cause satiation, which is a common problem associated with food reinforcers or other repetitive strategies.