How Learning to Play Music Can Benefit Children With Special Needs

Musical education is a great medium for promoting brain development and acquiring skills. Learning to play an instrument helps establish a sense of focus, timing, and rhythm while providing an outlet to express their creativity through music. For parents teaching musicianship to their child, this also provides an opportunity to spend quality bonding time.

Ways Learning Music Helps the Brain

Music helps children in multiple mental areas, regardless of what their special needs may be. Children with cognitive disabilities can experience a musical outlet that makes them feel good about themselves and feel relaxation. This is particularly true when it comes to percussion instruments that require attention to rhythms, such as the piano or drums.

For children with language difficulties, any musical lesson that implements vocalization can be beneficial. Singing helps a child with ADD or ADHD focus on the musical components of a song and may also help increase attention span.

Music education can help children with special needs establish a greater sense of logic and organization, as music relies on the implementation of sound and rhythmic patterns. Studies have shown that choosing a musical instrument that requires swift motions (i.e. guitar, trombone, violin, drums) improves motor skills and multitasking skills. In addition to paying attention to their motions, they must also concentrate on the music that’s produced.

Creating and playing music gives children with special needs a sense of accomplishment while toning cognitive areas. Studies show that early music education is extremely beneficial to all children, because it increases the development of gray matter in the brain and helps improve memory.

Methods in Teaching Music

Stay positive when teaching music to children with special needs, Kids learn best and become more confident in their abilities with positive reinforcement. Teaching note accuracy, matching pitches and playing rhythm are essential to a good lesson.

Children with hearing or speech impairments may be more successful using visual aids and putting an emphasis on lip movements. Remember that children with special needs are not all the same; find out which methods work best for their specific disability and stick with it.

Whichever type of instrument or other musical abilities your child with special needs picks up, they will have a reason to feel good about themselves while doing something they love. A musical, hands-on experience will give your child a sense of structure. If one musical medium doesn’t work for them, don’t give up. It may be healthy to explore other methods.

Contributed by Sally Writes 5/2017