Music Therapy is an established clinical discipline widely used in special education in the UK to help children and young people whose lives have been affected by disability, illness or injury. Music therapists have relevant postgraduate training and are registered health professionals with the HCPC (Health Care Professions Council).
Music therapy is an interactive and primarily non-verbal intervention. It uses sound and music creatively in the 1:1 or small Group therapeutic setting to support and develop physical, psychological, social and emotional well-being. The creative therapeutic process can enable children and young people to communicate, become aware of their feelings, express themselves, build relationships and interact more easily in a positive and creative way. It is an enjoyable means of helping children to develop. Music Therapists are trained to work towards specific objectives and facilitate, contain and work through children’s experiences, expressions, communications and behaviours in a safe and therapeutic way.
The therapist intuitively uses musical sounds and instruments appropriate for particular individuals or sessions being flexible in their approach to meet the unique needs of a child. Music may be precomposed, improvised or songs/music written by children with the therapist. Music Therapy provides a space where vocal activity, instrumental play and spontaneous interaction are encouraged. The therapist picks up on and incorporates into musical expression the sounds even gestures of a child interpreting these as the child’s ‘music’.
A child’s suitability for Music Therapy is not to do with musical ability. It is rather a child’s willingness and desire to engage with the therapist through music and the method of creative communication that takes place through therapeutic relationship developed over a series of regular sessions.
Objectives of Music Therapy:
· To increase non-verbal and verbal communication (use of voice, gesture, signing, language skills).
· To provide multi sensory stimulation (auditory, visual and tactile) and sensory development.
· To develop co-ordination, fine motor skills and motor movement control.
· To develop cognitive skills such as attention and concentration.
· To develop awareness of self and others.
· To build relationships with others – listening, sharing and turn taking skills, eye contact, initiation and social interaction skills.
· To develop confidence and self-esteem.
· To provide emotional support and containment for safe exploration of emotions and self-expression.
· To develop emotional regulation, exercise greater self control and develop self management of behaviour.
· To gain insight into a child’s behaviour.