Boston Ability Center - Making Fun and Function Go Hand In Hand

Boston Ability Center - Making Fun and Function Go Hand In Hand

News - September 2010

What is Music Therapy?

by Irene Kessel

violinMusic therapy is the use of music, in the context of a client-therapist relationship, to work toward specific cognitive, physical, social, communication and emotional goals.

The music is generally played live and is chosen according to the preference of the client and the specific objectives of the session.

Sessions are designed and adapted so as to support, encourage and engage each client in making and responding to music in a way that is appropriate for his or her needs and abilities.

What Happens in a Music Therapy Session?

A session might include any or all of the following

  • Structured activities to support acquisition and development of language skills.
  • Structured activities to support other academic, physical, social or emotional goals.
  • Singing, chanting, playing, clapping and moving to music.
  • Free, exploratory musical instrument playing.

How Does Music Therapy Work?

  • Music provides a structure;  it organizes our actions and thoughts.
  • It provides sensory stimulation;  it is highly motivating and optimizes our attention.
  • Music is pleasurable:  it provides a sense of success and enhances mood.
  • Music is processed in both hemispheres of the brain;  it stimulates cognitive functioning and facilitates the development of language skills.
  • Music is easily adaptable to individual differences in preference and ability.
  • Musical competence can be intact even when other competences are lost or poorly developed.


How Does Music Therapy Benefit Children with Special Needs?

• Supports language acquisition
• Serves as mnemonic device
• Raises awareness of surroundings
• Develops attending skills
• Provides multi-sensory stimulation
• Increases auditory discrimination

• Encourages language use
• Allows non-verbal communication
• Facilitates social interaction
• Creates sense of connection

• Expands range of motion
• Strengthens motor coordination
• Improves eye-handcoordination
• Enhances oral motor facility

• Engages child in focused activity
• Reduces agitation and aggression

•  Validates personal identity 
• Boosts self-esteem
• Inspires and uplifts


For more Information:

Music Therapy and Autism

Music Therapy and Special Education

Music Therapy and Young Children

Family Friendly Fun

Article by National Autism Assoc

Music Therapy