Note to Readers: Music reduces stress and can be used to relax, inspire, motivate, and heal. Incorporating music into the lives of our children is one more way we can empower children by introducing them to emotional management tools. Thanks Marlene!
By Marlene Cooper-Williams
MUSIC IS POWERFUL – It’s a universal language that has been noted by many as having healing, relaxing, soothing, calming and de-stressing effects. Music is everywhere from listening to the birds outside our windows, as background in movies, to being plugged into our IPods, radios, CD’s and, of course, playing a musical instrument or singing.
Providing a safe outlet, music for children helps them release their emotional creativity. When we think of music we typically think of a source of entertainment, but the more popular notion these days is using music as a means of therapy. For example, the use of percussion instruments has an almost immediate benefit to children dealing with anxiety issues. The bang-away is an almost immediate release of emotions while the musical process helps to develop the left/right brain functions.
Additionally, controlled group studies have been conducted to determine the effects music therapy have on children with a wide range of psychological, developmental and learning disorders. It was determined that with the use of music therapy, significant developmental improvements occurred in hearing, speech, hand-eye coordination and communication skills. Overall, researchers are concluding that music therapy seems to have an effect on personal relationships emphasizing positive benefits of active listening and performing and in turn set the context for developmental change.
The other more obvious benefits of music is all the fun we have, so fair warning: laughter may occasionally occur, especially with kids learning the joy of music through the wide variety of available instruments. These instruments that allow us to enjoy rich harmonics, immediately provide soothing straightaway instant gratification.
Marlene Cooper-Williams, music lover and founder of www.iplaymusiclive.com is utilizing her love of music as a means of therapy. She created an interactive webcam program that brings music teachers/music therapists together with students via the internet. “The response has been overwhelming especially with children suffering from learning, sensory, anxiety and stress disorders,” said Cooper-Williams. The key is that the students are drawn in via a media they love; the computer and web cam. They also become hyper-focused because of the use of headphones that block out all kinds of distractions.
The lessons are typically 30 minute sessions with skilled music therapists and when those sessions begin, so begins the creative process.
“With 40+ years of teaching experience, plus being a grandmother of five, I recognized that children of all ages have difficulties communicating their fears, stresses and anxieties. So I created a safe process that allows the student to communicate their emotions through music either through the lyrical process, and then developing melody either on the piano or even a tuba. When the process is complete, not only have they expressed deep emotions with supporting melodies, but alas, a song is born and the creative process is complete. Something tangible is in their hands, and something with which they feel deep pride.” said Cooper-Williams founder of www.iplaymusiclive.com.