Children in this stage are developing skills very quickly. They are learning to communicate, acquiring motor skills, and developing social behaviors. Music can help foster these skills, because of the intrinsic properties of music and because music is fun and motivating.
Through singing, children can work on vocabulary, articulation, prosody, oral motor skills, and social rules of conversation. Parents that sing with their child develop their relationship while engaging in something fun that they do together, in addition to helping their child develop speech and language skills. A music therapist may help when the child does not meet typical developmental milestones for speech and language by designing a music therapy treatment that helps the child participate in oral motor skills and appropriate social behaviors.
Children also participate in music-making to acquire motor skills. They beat on pots and pans or shake rattles and learn about how their body moves and gain control over their muscles. They dance or march to music fine-tuning their gross motor skills. Music therapists use rhythm to help the motor cortex and cerebellum work together or provide instruments that help the child develop fine or gross motor skills.
Through musical play, children can also develop social behaviors or pragmatics of speech. These games can help the child learn how close to stand when someone is speaking, how to use facial expressions and eye contact, or how to take turns in conversations. If the child is having difficulty developing these skills, then a music therapist can write a song that helps convey the information, or provide structured musical play that helps the child develop an awareness of these social rules.
If you’d like help in finding a music therapist, send me an email. I’d be glad to help!