What is music therapy?
In-depth research has concluded that music is a powerful tool that can positively affect people's lives. Research also shows that music can help to calm, soothe, comfort and heal — which is why music therapy is an integral part of the Ponzio Creative Arts Therapy Program at Children's Hospital Colorado.
How does music therapy help kids?
Music stimulates all of the senses. It can be highly motivating, yet also have a calming and relaxing effect. When used as a form of therapy, music can help kids by encouraging socialization, self-expression, communication and motor development. Because the brain processes music in both hemispheres, music can also stimulate cognitive functioning and may be used for remediation of some speech/language skills.
What to expect from music therapy
Music therapists involve children in singing, listening, playing and creative activities. These activities can help develop a child's self-awareness, confidence, coping skills, social behavior and pain-management techniques. Our music therapists explore which styles of music, techniques and instruments are most effective or motivating for each individual child. No musical experience is necessary in order to benefit from music therapy.
Some components of music therapy include:
- Listening to music
- Playing instruments
- Music improvisation
- Writing songs
- Discussing lyrics
In one family's music therapy session, a child was asked to give each member of her family an instrument that stood for how they communicated at home. She gave everyone loud percussion instruments except for herself; she took the smallest instrument in the room, which was barely heard when the whole family played together. The child's perspective of being unheard in her family might have eventually come out through traditional therapy, but music therapy provided an immediate way to communicate that feeling. This is just one of many successful music therapy stories at Children's Hospital Colorado.