The POWER of music can help children

By Amanda White

Music surrounds us every day. From the beating of our heart to the music on the radio, music is a part of our everyday life.

But can music heal? Can it give a voice to a child who can’t speak? Can it help learn and retain new information? The answer to all those questions is, YES!! With music therapy all the above are possible along with many other possibilities! As a music therapist I have seen music accomplish some amazing things. I have seen children who otherwise would not speak “communicate” with me through song. I have seen children learn “mommy” or “daddy” though sign language; what could be more precious to a parent?

Children who to the outside world are deemed as “different” become just like their peers able to participate in a group setting and make beautiful music. That’s the beauty of music therapy; I use music to achieve non-musical goals. Whether it’s learning their telephone number, spelling words or math to something as simple as making eye contact, I use music to help children address these goals.

Music therapy is an established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs of individuals. After assessing the strengths and needs of each client, the qualified music therapist provides the indicated treatment including creating, singing, moving to and/or listening to music.

Through musical involvement in the therapeutic context, clients’ abilities are strengthened and transferred to other areas of their lives. Music therapy also provides avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words.

Music therapists can work in a wide variety of setting including psychiatric hospitals, rehabilitative facilities, medical hospitals, outpatient clinics, daycare treatment centers, agencies serving developmentally disabled people, community mental health centers, drug and alcohol programs, senior centers, nursing homes, hospice programs, correctional facilities, halfway houses, schools and private practice.

People who complete one of the approved college music therapy curricula (including an internship) are then eligible to sit for the national examination offered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists. Music therapists who successfully complete the independently administered examination hold the music therapist-board certified credential (MT-BC).

If you would like to know more about music therapy, how it is used in the school systems and how it can help your child please join us on Aug. 28 at 6:30 p.m. at the Mathiston Public Library, sponsored by WeCAN.

Amanda Miles White is an MT-BC for Healing Notes LLC in Starkville. Her number is 552.3310. WeCAN coordinator is Tabitha Fulgham, who may be contacted at 263.5152.