By Kelly Surette
If you are a parent or caregiver of a child with special needs, you’ve probably been encouraged by a friend or family member to sign your child up for music class. Listen, I think you have amazing friends and family because the benefits of attending a music class for children with special needs are numerous! As an adaptive music teacher, I can personally attest to the vast number of students I have seen grow both as artists and as people from attending music class.
You might be on the fence about getting your child into a music class. I understand. Maybe you are questioning if it is worth the time, investment, and hassle of acclimating your child to a new environment and to the new people he or she will meet. But, let me tell you, it’s worth it!
Here are five reasons why I think you should seriously consider music class for your child:
1. An opportunity for self-expression. In a world where many children with special needs are focused on developing life skills and prioritizing communication, music class provides a unique opportunity for children to express themselves artistically in a safe and nurturing environment. Whether they choose to express themselves by singing or playing a musical instrument, or through movement and dance, children are encouraged to express their feelings, ideas, and creativity in music class.
2. Social-Emotional Learning. Music class is a social experience. Students are making music, dancing, and learning together. The structured, but imaginative environment of a music class fosters positive social interactions and the development of peer relationships.
3. Reduced stress and anxiety. Music listening and music making have many positive benefits, one of which includes the reduction of stress and anxiety. Music can be soothing to the listener, promoting relaxation. Music may also captivate your child’s attention, helping them to redirect their focus onto something positive, rather than stressful feelings.
4. Improved self-confidence. By participating in musical group activities, musical performances, and through the mastery of songs, your child will experience improved self-confidence. When your child performs for an audience for the first time, they will be empowered by sharing the gift of their hard work with friends and family!
5. Overall mood and happiness. Attending music class will elevate your child’s overall mood and happiness levels. They will have fun with their classmates, celebrate life by making music with their friends, and learn to express their emotions through a positive outlet.
Have I convinced you? Well, then...get out there and try it! Find a local music class today and bring your child ASAP. You won’t regret it, I promise!
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Kelly Surette is the author of Creative Miracles: A Practitioner’s Guide to Adaptive Music Instruction (coming soon.) She is a speaker and adaptive music educator in the New England area. Kelly is dedicated to enhancing the lives of those with special needs and those who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing with multiple disabilities through music. Connect with Kelly at www.kellysurette.com.