“Music and dance express what is too deep to find words for – the communication between
body and soul.” Ruth St. Denis
Music and movement are inherent expressions of our humanity. We have been exploring these
creative possibilities since the dawn of mankind. Before learning to use words, a baby relates to
the world through movement and voice. In this sense, we could say that music and movement
are our mother tongue.
Over the last decades, there has been a substantial increase in the research concerning music
and movement for children with special needs. This form of therapy can involve singing,
listening to music, dancing, and using various instruments, rhythms and sounds. Because this is
a universal language, able to be interpreted regardless of verbal barriers, it benefits children on
the following levels:
Increases awareness and control of their own bodies
Opens a safe space to express and process emotions
Unleashes their creative potential
Learning to trust, take risks, and be calm
Nurturing a deeper connection to themselves and others
Creating a sense of belonging
Strengthen non-verbal communication, making eye contact, and socializing
By offering a multi-sensory experience, moving to music engages almost every neurological
system. When we create any type of music, even if it’s simply banging a drum to a specific
rhythm, both sides of the brain are stimulated. The tactile learning system is involved by
touching the instrument and by feeling the sound impulse vibrations that are created. Student’s
auditory and visual systems are engaged by listening to the sound and by watching their arm
movement as it connects with the instrument. It therefore becomes a “whole brain” activity
that improves emotional, social and language skills.
Music and movement have also been proven to help students with special needs behave
appropriately, relax the muscles and provide a distraction from pain anxiety and discomfort.
This also foster the development of real and meaningful friendships as participants begin to
recognize and look forward to seeing each other as well as the therapist on a regular basis.
Perhaps most importantly, this form of therapy makes learning fun and creates results that sing