How does music therapy help children – 5 lesser known facts!

How does music therapy help children

When I first heard about music therapy, I was skeptical about it. How does music therapy help children? Is it really beneficial? Is it even a proven approach? My doubts were endless. Later, when I studied more about Music therapy for children and talked to experts on how music therapy helps children, I got better insights. In this article, let us get to know more about music therapy and the benefits of music therapy for children.

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What is Music therapy?

Music therapy for kids - how does music therapy help children
music therapy for children

How does music therapy help children? But before that, what is music therapy?  Music therapy is a broad field. Music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish specific goals on a child’s development by a credentialed professional.

Music therapists use music-based experiences to address a child’s needs in one or more areas of human functioning: cognitive, academic, emotional/psychological; behavioral; communication; social; physiological (sensory, motor, pain, neurological and other physical systems), spiritual and aesthetics.

(Music therapy) can make the difference between withdrawal and awareness, between isolation and interaction, between chronic pain and comfort — between demoralization and dignity.

Barbara J. Crowe – Director of Music Therapy at Arizona State University.

How does music therapy help children?

In general, music is known to relax and refresh the mind. But exactly how does music therapy help children? Children are also like us adults. Children do get bored, stressed, anxious just like us. But unlike us, they could not properly express what they feel, which could show up as other symptoms such as disinterest, poor social and communication skills, and lack of speech. 

Music therapy for children + How does music therapy help children
How does music therapy help children

Music therapy primarily focuses on easing the children to let out their welled up emotions and express them completely. Through this music therapy for children, they will be able to improve their social skills as well as psychological well being. Besides, Music therapy for children is a proven proper treatment method to treat kids with autism.

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Types of Music therapy

There are two basic types of music therapy for children includes, 

  • Receptive music therapy
  • Active music therapy

Receptive music therapy

In this type of music therapy, kids are made to listen to either live or some recorded music. This music stimulates certain parts of the brain, which in return, improves the overall mood of kids, reduces their anxiety and helps with their coping skills!

Active music therapy 

In active music therapy, kids are encouraged to play any musical instrument without having to stress about the tunes and meter. The various musical instruments used in active music therapy includes, drums, ukulele, bells, xylophone, tambourine, maracas and many such simple instruments. This helps the kids to improve their hand-eye coordination and also stimulates the motor areas of the brain!

Music therapy improves social skills, induces creativity
Social skills and creativity can be improved with music therapy

Benefits of music therapy

Though we have answered the question ‘how does music therapy help children’, there are so many benefits for kids through music therapy. Not only does it improve their social and communicative skills, but also relaxes the children and helps them to be more creative and spontaneous every time! 

Hand held percussion instruments are easy to use, make a lot of noise and don’t have a wrong or right way to be played, making them popular in any music therapy session! Here are the incredible benefits of music therapy for children that would help them to be a happy being.


Music therapy for children comforts them by making them relaxed and to express their willingness to explore different instruments and sounds


How does music therapy help children? The biggest and concrete answer is here! Communication! As we discussed earlier in this article, stress and fatigue can make them quiet and inattentive. Thus making them disinterested and disoriented from day to day routines. Music therapy prompts kids to make verbal and gestural communications to express their needs.

Social Skills

Social skills through Music therapy - music therapy for children
social skills

In music therapy for children, the instructor/music therapist guides the children through different musical tunes which then grows into a group activity. Kids play instruments together, asked to write simple lyrics for those tunes and it is much fun! Thus these interactions help the children to develop the required social skills.

Breaking Patterns

Kids watch us, observe, and do things that we do. Children act upon impulse and sometimes those may be inappropriate. For instance, my kid used to be adamant and can’t take no for an answer. Music therapy helps children to understand and analyse their behaviour and helps to break patterns by reducing their anxiety and channeling their movement towards constructive activities.

Self Expression

Music therapy opens windows for children to express themselves through music. When accompanied by a peer group and music, children show inclination to vocal sounds and affiliation to the people around with the help of music and musical instruments.

Music therapy is for everyone. Children with developmental disabilities and genetic disorders such as Parkinson’s, autism and dementia can also be treated with music therapy to ease their pain and relax themselves.

For the well-being of children

As parents we take a lot of effort to ensure that our kids get everything that they need. One area where we could slip is the part where the kids need emotional support. Either we fail to notice a few changes in our kids or leave some things as it is. But our kids need us no matter what. To ensure their psychological well being and happiness, Music therapy is the magic that you need for your children. 

Since there aren’t any licences to practise as an musical therapist, it is best if you could consider music therapy for your children after some usual consultation with your paediatric psychologist. Happy kids make a happy family. Music therapy is one way to ensure your child’s happiness and well being! Also, another door to kids’ happiness is a book full of stories! Ruskin Bond is one of the most popular Indian author who writes stories for children. Check out The best Ruskin Bond story books for children here!

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