7 Reasons Music Lessons are Beneficial for Kids with Autism
Music is a magical thing. It’s a language, a healer, an art, an expression, a place of belonging. The benefits of music are endless, and can have such a positive impact on kids with Autism. If you have a kiddo on the spectrum, you’ll definitely want to check out these 7 reasons why music lessons are beneficial for kids with Autism!
1. Opportunity for Non-Verbal Expression
Music is it’s own language, and often times does not require speaking at all. For kids with ASD who are non-verbal, this is a huge perk of music lessons! Kids are still able to express their feelings and emotions, demonstrate knowledge, create and compose, all without verbalizing. I have had multiple piano students who were non-verbal, who highly excelled at piano! They could read notes on the staff, understand the musical alphabet, participate in recitals, and more! Most importantly, piano lessons provided an avenue in which they could fully express themselves.
2. Improves Social Skills:
There are many studies that show how music lessons improve social skills among students with ASD. There are a lot of aspects of music lessons that help students practice social skills, such as turn-taking (either in a group setting or with the student and teacher), call and response, creating music together, cooperation with a group, actively listening and responding, and following instructions.
3. Multi-sensory Learning:
Kids with Autism often respond well to multi-sensory learning, which is prominent in music lessons. Through music, kids can learn through a variety of sensory activities, such as listening exercises, visual learning, using manipulatives to provide tactile learning, and kinesthetic learning. During a piano lesson, for example, we will use visuals such as color-coordinating notes on the staff to help recognize patterns and read music notes, the student will listen and echo phrases in the music from the teacher, the student will sight-read the music, we use manipulatives and games to practice certain skills or assess knowledge, use full-body movements to feel the beat, and more!
4. Emotional Regulation:
There are many studies that show how music lessons help with emotional regulation, which also goes hand-in-hand with social skills. Music helps evoke empathy, helps kids connect with and identify their own emotions, provides relaxation, reduces anxiety and depression, helps students practice impulse control, helps kids cooperate with others, and boosts self-confidence.
5. Provides a Sense of Belonging:
Music lessons are a safe space, and a place where kids can feel like they belong. Group music classes help students fit in with a group, cooperate and collaborate together, have fun together, and work as a team. Even individual lessons help students feel a sense of belonging because they feel connected to the music, get one-on-one time with their teacher who encourages them to keep learning and praises their progress, they feel accomplished and know they can conquer challenging tasks, and they get to perform in front of their peers and feel proud of themselves.
6. Increases Cognitive Development:
There are so many studies that show how exposure to music, and music lessons increase cognitive development. In an article from the National Library of Medicine, the authors discuss several studies of how music increases verbal memory, second language pronunciation, reading abilities, and IQs. Music also helps develop speech and language skills, math skills, and literacy skills.
7. Boosts Confidence:
Playing an instrument, or singing is a great confidence boost! When learning an instrument, one has to overcome difficult tasks, practice frequently in order to improve, and perform in front of others. The satisfaction of finally being able to play that difficult section or piece you’ve been practicing so diligently, is like nothing else and is a huge confidence boost. Being able to perform in front of your family and peers, and be proud of what you’ve accomplished is so rewarding. Singing lessons add another level of confidence in my opinion, because students learn to project their voices, express themselves through their own voice, and sing and speak in front of an audience. I love seeing students come “out of their shells” after a few months of music lessons.
If you have a neurodivergent child who has even the slightest interest in music, get them started with lessons! As you can see, the benefits of music lessons greatly outweigh any reason to postpone taking lessons. Anyone can succeed with music lessons, and who knows, music lessons might just be the thing that helps your child feel that sense of belonging, increase social skills, help them express themselves, and boost their confidence!
To get started with lessons, or for more information, check out Mindful Music Center and schedule a phone consultation!