Monday, August 8, 2011

Music Helped my Son, Can it Help You?

Music has a definite impact on us from a very early age.  Every parent has used music to soothe the savage infant, hoping to help them drift off to sleep – so we can sneak in some sleep ourselves.  So it isn’t much of stretch to think of music affecting the way we think and learn.

Successful Sounds is one organization in Kansas that is putting that to use helping children who face challenges in learning.  They use music to achieve non-musical goals.  Their website says that music is ”extremely influential on the neurological processes that are responsible for organizing and managing behavior, communication, emotion, sensory, motor and cognitive functioning."

In kindergarten our son was assigned an Individualized Education Plan that made various adaptations to his day in school.  He was given a wobble seat to help him sit right, a tilted desk, specially shaped pencils, and music therapy.  And as he grew older many of those adaptations were no longer necessary.

But music helped him get past a few hurdles that were a source of great frustration for his regular classroom teachers and prevented him from falling behind.  By the end of the second grade he no longer received music therapy.  We were fortunate enough to live in a school district that made such a service available.  Now he is heading into the fifth grade and soon we'll be picking out his first instrument.

So if music is therapeutic and can help us overcome obstacles to learning then shouldn’t we consider it a priority for the students in our own families?  Play an instrument, even if you play it badly – I did.

by J. True Anderson
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