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Music Therapy and your Baby

A few months back we began being inundated by the “baby crying to mom’s singing video” with comments from facebook friends and colleagues stating, “Did you see this video – it really shows the deep impact of music.”Shannon and BabyShannon and Baby

After watching the video entitled – Baby’s Emotional Reaction to Mother’s Song – PRICELESS I posted the following statement:

I may be the only person who does not perceive this baby’s response to mom/music as positive. I too feel the child has a strong attachment to mom, yet when she sings she sounds different – too loud, too deep, too many unnatural scoops and so the child wants to cry – it feels a little less safe/familiar. There is relief when it ends – mom is back to normal. Responses that I would view as positive: smiles, gurgles, relaxed facial muscles, slowly falling to sleep, heightened fun movements etc. I’ve worked with 100s of babies and this is not one of my desired responses. #musictherapist #mightbewrong

And then I held my breath thinking that what I had written would come under great scrutiny.  However, what ended up happened was a huge response from many others – music therapists, music teachers and friends who felt the same way – some having come up with the same assessment as I, and some knowing they didn’t feel comfortable but didn’t know why.

We know that music moves people from all cultures and of all ages. Music Therapy with children is built on the premise that from infancy, children can feel a strong sense of belonging and connectedness through music while also being empowered/inspired to develop new learning (brain development).


A music therapist’s role is to ensure that music is used under the highest of ethical standards and with the largest body of knowledge. 

Music, a powerful resource, can do great things but it can also cause harm by creating undesired/scary memories. It can strike tones that hurt a hurt a young person’s ears, and can take children into a place of agitation. The music therapist monitors each child’s response carefully. These responses in combination with the therapist’s program facilitation direct the child to reach the desired goals and objectives – improved communication, confidence, state of calmness, focus and attention, improved sleep etc.

A Music Therapist sets the intention of the session based on the goals of the parent for their child.

Before entering a music therapy session a music therapist takes time to not only plan a suitable program plan aimed at specific goals, they also address the family’s long term goals and the immediate goal for the end of the session (or set of sessions). Essentially a music therapist will always be thinking: What is the purpose of MT with this child? What do I want the child to experience? What is the desired outcome for the end of the session?

A Music Therapist creates and continues to modify an ongoing program for the child.

A music therapy session may have a general framework but it is not something that is ever by rote. There is singing and movement and introduction of different instruments from around the world.  There is rhythm and melody and of course – silence – placed just at the right moment. The session is in a constant state of improv (musical flux) – moving from one feeling to another – flowing seamlessly depending on where the child needs/wants to go. The energy in the room is constantly monitored and the therapist uses the responses in that happen in the moment to guide them to the next moment – this takes incredible focus and attention to detail…the subtle details.

Other Articles That May Be Of Interest re: Children and Music Therapy