The Magic of Music
Monday, August 20th, 2012
At home and in the classroom, your child can benefit in many ways from the power of music. One of the greatest benefits of music is its versatility. You can play it anywhere, at home, in the classroom, or on the go. You can achieve a variety of therapeutic goals: regulatory (to promote calm, organization or alertness), gross motor (balance; bilateral coordination), or fine motor (finger play).
Here are some tips to use music to your advantage:
1. Set the mood. Choose music to establish the type of mood you want to achieve. Some tunes (such as classical music or nature sounds) are calming and can set the tone for quiet learning, while other tunes (such as rap or heavy beats) can be very alerting. Note, your child’s response to a genre of music may be very different than your own. There is a natural tendency for the auditory system to respond differently as we age.
2. Music can be used to facilitate whole group activities to stretch, flex, and move the body. Alternatively, you can use music in the background.
3. Use whole body movements to match the music. Movement of the whole body intermittently throughout homework or play time is a great way to keep your child’s posture from slumping or slouching. Regular movement is a much-needed wake-up call for the body to stay upright.
4. Not only can the tempo of the music alert your child for learning, but moving to the beat of the music is another effective way to keep children attentive.
5. Music for the hands: Many songs offer the chance to incorporate finger play, making them ideally suited for younger children who are still developing a sense of their fingers and hands. Hand games are a perfect warm-up before writing, drawing, or coloring.
6. Bilateral coordination is important for gross motor skills as well as fine motor activities such as writing. When moving to the beat, incorporate midline activities (such as clapping), right/left discrimination, and crossing the midline of the body (such as using opposite limbs).
7. Learning to perform a series of body movements in order is a fun and effective way to work on improving sequencing skills. We learn better by doing so by incorporating whole body movements, your child will also get the benefit of motor memory.
8. Have your child stand on one foot, hop, skip, or gallop to the music to improve balance. It is a fun way to develop an underlying skill that is important for many gross motor activities.
Blog written by: Aviva Goldwasser, OTR/L
Chaye Lamm Warburg, DPS, OTR/L, Director of POTS