Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by music therapists. The therapist can assess emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning, communication abilities, and cognitive skills through musical responses; design music sessions for individuals and groups using music improvisation, receptive music listening, song writing, lyric discussion, music and imagery, music performance, and learning through music.

Many additional studies have found that children and adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) respond well to music when little else is able to get their attention, which makes music a potential therapeutic tool. It can improve behavior, communication and reduce anxiety. Individuals with ASD show more emotional expression and social engagement during music therapy sessions than in play sessions without music. The malleability of music makes it a medium that can be adapted to meet the needs of each individual. No particular music ability is required and there is not one particular style of music that is more therapeutic than all the rest. All styles of music can be useful in effecting change in the child’s life.

Music therapy sessions can be one on one or in a group. Children typically attend once a week, for about 30, 45 or 60 minutes. The duration of the therapy depends on children’s needs.

1. Assessment: The therapist assesses a child to find out the child’s needs. Because music therapy is often used along with other autism spectrum disorder (ASD) therapies, the therapist might also consult the child’s doctor or other therapists.

2. Goal-Setting: An individualized program is developed based on the child’s needs.

3. Therapeutic Music Experiences: Sessions consist of activities designed to meet the child’s individual needs. These could include songwriting, moving to music, singing, playing instruments, listening to music, working in groups and improvising.

4. Evaluation: The program is regularly evaluated to make sure it is working well.

Adaptive Music Lessons at MCofM

In addition to Music Therapy, the Miami Conservatory of Music provides ongoing music education and enrichment to musicians of all ages with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other special needs. Students of all levels and experiences can take private music lessons to develop their musical talent and skills, and to nurture a lifelong love of music as well. The first step of the process is to schedule an interview with the professor for the desired instrument. Current instrument offerings that are taught by specially trained music educators are piano, voice, and drums. Each semester concludes with a recital to provide students an opportunity to perform what they have been practicing and working hard on.

Individual Classes of 30, 45 or 60min (depending on the child’s needs)
Mondays from 5:30PM
Tuesdays from 4:00PM
Wednesdays from 5:00PM
Thursdays from 5:30PM
Individual Class Fees:
30mn: $40
45mn: $55
60mn: $70

Group Classes (upon assessment):
Tuesdays from 5:30-6:30PM
starting September 5, 2017.
$40 per child

Adaptive Music Lessons
Tuesdays from 4:00PM
Wednesdays from 5:00PM
30mn:  $35
45mn:  $48
60mn:  $63

Email us for more info: info@mcofm.org

 


 

Music Therapy for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship between an individual and a board-certified music therapist. The therapist assess the individual based on their strengths and needs in different domains which include social/emotional, cognitive, motor/physical, sensory, and musical. Based on the child’s abilities and need areas, a plan for the music therapy sessions will be created and goals and objectives will be developed. These can be worked on in group or individual sessions, and intervention activities that will be utilized include music improvisation, receptive music listening, song writing, lyric discussion, music performance, sensory activities, singing, addressing academic concepts, and instrument play.

Results of previous research has shown that music therapy can be effective for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder as the musical stimulus is engaging to maintain and engage their attention, and the repetitive and patterned nature of music allows for a prime learning environment to use with children. Utilizing music as a therapeutic tool has been shown to improve communication, social skills, motor skills, and emotional and sensory regulation. Music is a medium that is flexible and can be adapted to cater to the specific needs of the child.

Individual and group music therapy sessions are available weekly for thirty- or forty-five-minute sessions. The duration of the session can vary based on the individual, but more frequency of sessions during the week are available.

Overview of Benefits

  • Music Therapy is a long established tool to help individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This type of therapy has been shown to be effective in improving social skills, communication skills, and encourage the expressions of emotions in an appropriate way (AMTA).
  • Music itself affects both lobes of the brain and stimulates various cognitive functions such as improving self-awareness and promote social interactions.
  • Music Therapy is risk-free. Music is a predictable, repetitive, structured stimulus that can provide individuals with the disorder a sense of familiarity which can aid in the treatment process.
  • Music therapy is different than musical instruction in that it utilizes the various musical elements with a purpose depending on the goal being worked on. The therapy can be structured to work on social, communication, speech, motor, academic, or musical goals and objectives.
  • Music therapy is individualized for each student. The music therapist evaluates each student, and then creates a specific plan to address his or her strengths and needs. Parents and others who know or work with the student are also interviewed and consulted to provide further insights.
  • According to a meta-study that looked at outcomes of music therapy, “Reported benefits included, but were not limited to, increased appropriate social behavior, increased attention to tasks, improved vocalizations, verbalizations, gestures, vocab comprehension, communications skills, enhanced body awareness and coordination, improved self-care skills and reduced anxiety”.
  • The positive impact of music therapy on social skills and different areas has been demonstrated beyond individuals with ASD. Typically developing children are more likely to engage in play with another child following a shared musical experience and joint musical interactions enhancing emotional empathy, prosocial behaviors and bonding in children. Recently, neuroimaging studies have shown that participating in musical activities engages multiple brain regions involved in hearing, movement, emotion, pleasure, and memory, thus allowing transfer of music-related therapeutic effects to non-music domains needed to be functional in everyday life. (Citation Needed)


Music Therapy Process

  1. Assessment: The therapist assesses the child to investigate their specific strengths and needs. This stage includes an assessment music therapy session where the therapist will facilitate different interventions to measure the cognitive, social, emotional, motor, and musical abilities of the child. Interviews with the parents and individuals who know the child well can also be conducted to help determine what the child needs to work on and to discuss a plan outlining their targeted goals and objectives in music therapy.
  2. Goal setting: An individualized program is developed based on the child’s strengths and needs. Goals and objective behaviors are set and targeted to be worked on during each music therapy session.
  3. Therapeutic Music Experiences: Sessions consist of different interventions and activities that are structured in a way to target the goal for that individual. Each intervention has a purpose and the way it is facilitated will allow the child an opportunity for the child to practice that behavior or goal. Therapeutic music experiences can include but are not limited to songwriting, musical improvisation on an instrument or singing, group instrument playing, music listening, sensory activities and enforcing academic concepts.
  4. Evaluation: The child’s progress will be frequently evaluated based on set goals and objectives, and their pre-determined goals can be changed to be more challenging or appropriate based on their current performance in their sessions.