Music therapy is a psychotherapeutic treatment most commonly used to help children with developmental disabilities. Music as a therapy has been around longer than one might think and "recognized for centuries." (Bunt 179) Many years before that, music was used as a less scientific means of healing by medicine men (Hadley 215). By using music therapy directly, or indirectly, as a developmental aid, many people can be positively effected. When many people can use the treatment, it has to be available in many different locations. More than any other age group, children benefit most.
All children develop at different rates and in many different ways. Many children with disabilities have trouble expressing themselves. Music is a form of creative expression and freedom of expression is key in development among those of the developmentally delayed or normal. Children with developmental disabilities have learning problems as well as problems with social and motor skills. Music helps them learn while giving them freedom to express themselves and although music therapy can help all people, children with developmental disabilities are the most commonly known benefactor.
During development, a child develops in a couple differnet ways. Physically, emotionally, and cognitively are the three that come to mind. When a child has developmental delays, there are many things that can be happening preventing the child from developing. Sometimes muscles aren't moved as often as they should be and become immobile. When a child picks up an instrument for the first time, he is not naturally coordinated to play that instrument. Children with that lack in motor skills can exercise, especially their hands, without even knowing it. There are many children that clench their fists for example. Hands are needed for everyday activities. When certain muscles don't get used on a regular basis, they can become paralyze, possibly for life (Aldridge 192). Exercise is not the first thing that anybody really wants to do, specifically, when it's monotonous. Children, specifically are harder to work with. They won't know why they have to do the exercises. They will only know that they don't like it. This is where music therapy comes in and helps physically. When a child is having fun and "playing", they won't know that what they are doing is slowly building muscles and helping them in their future. Another plus of having fun is boosting moods.
Emotions can be developed through music therapy. Sometimes children will have unevolved emotions and the inability to know how to express themselves. There are some children who still have emotions of a baby and tend to cry more often than needed. Other children will not know how to express their emotions at all. Music has feelings; feelings of happiness, anger, hurt, and contentment. Music therapy sessions can bring out this array of emotions. At the beginning of sessions, a child may be at first shy, especially...