A Motivator

Many children of all ages are motivated by music. This can take the form of using the music as a reward for completing a difficult task (having a turn on the piano after greeting their friends appropriately) or as a means of completing a difficult task (singing a ‘Hello Song’ to help remember the social elements to greeting a friend).

A Sensory Integration Tool

Music can also be used as a strategy to improve a child’s sensory integration through programmes like Therapeutic Listening and the Listening Programme. These programmes use carefully modified music to trigger the self-organising capacities of the nervous system and should be offered under the guidance of an occupational therapist. As a therapy modality, they are often coupled with other sensory strategies or gym exercises, which help to improve the integration of the child’s nervous systems for improved performance in their daily environment.

To Improve Motor Development

Current research has found that developmentally-appropriate music and movement programmes can positively affect the jumping and dynamic balancing skills of preschool children. Children learn how to move better when provided with rhythmical songs or music. In the preschool setting, this often takes the form of songs encouraging motor skill imitation (songs such as ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It’, or ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’).

A Mode of Social Interaction

Recent research also supports music as a tool for improved social interaction and group cooperation. In classrooms, we use music as a cue for social behaviour and joint action (such as with the ‘Tidy Up Song’, the ‘Goodbye Song’ or our ‘Round and Round is the Name of the Game’). We also use music as a way to experience group cohesion when singing favourite nursery songs and taking turns throughout (such as with ‘Old MacDonald’, ‘Wheels on the Bus’, and ‘Five Little Speckled Frogs’).