Using Tempo-based Music at Home


Tempo-based music treatment is using the beat of music to help your child cope with sensory input. Many children with Autism or other disabilities have difficulty processing sensory information–what they see, hear, touch, taste, or smell. This may result in not talking, pacing, repetitive movements, insisting on listening to the same songs or watching the same TV shows, or other behaviors. These behaviors may be due to the “fight-or-flight” response which may be caused by this sensory integration disorder that can cause stress. Read on to get some useful tips on how you can use music to decrease the “fight-or-flight” stress response.

Finding some music that is at a specific tempo (speed) and moving to that music can help your body entrain to the music. Look at a watch with a second hand and tap your foot once per second. That’s 60 beats per minute. Now find some music that is at 60 beats per minute. Most popular music is 80 – 130 beats per minute. “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley is at 60 beats. If you Google “60 beats per minute” you can find some people selling CDs with that tempo. (I’ve not used them so I can’t vouch for the quality.) You’re best bet is to entrain yourself to 60 beats per minute by playing a drum or clapping your hands or walking in time to the second hand and then sing your own song. You can also find metronome tracks on iTunes that just click 60 beats per minute.

Tempo-based movement

Dance at 60 beats per minute

To use tempo-based music treatments at home, do one or more of the following while singing or listening to music at a speed of 60 beats per minute:

  • Marching
  • Jumping
  • Clapping
  • Playing a drum
  • Blowing a kazoo
  • Breathing
  • Dancing

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