Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Music Therapy at Home

I am a music therapist.  If your like most people, you have rarely heard of music therapy.  Yes you really can get a bacholers and a master in music therapy and yes there are jobs for music therapists. Right now I use music therapy in my home.  Someday I will go back to working in the field but for now I enjoy using it to help teach my children.  

I decided to write this post because when I got my baby from her nap, I sang, "Is Abigail awake in here? is Abigail awake in here, Abigail's awake, my bigger girls awake, Abigail's awake in here."  As soon as I started singing her song, she starts kicking, smiling and squealing with delight. It happens every nap time and it is so fun-for both of us.  I thought, "I have got to share this sometime, so hear goes".

This is one of the songs I use throughout the day to set the stage for events and create that predictable, structured environment children thrive on.  Another favorite in our home is our nap time "It's time to take a little nap (just a simple song I made up)" and our good night song, "Tender Shepherd" (song from Peter Pan).  I had a friend who sang, "I am a child of God" every night to her children.  If she forgot, they reminded her.  What a great way to set the stage for bed and also remind her children that they have a loving heavenly father watching over them.   

What makes music so powerful?

I have seen so many people including myself who have been influenced for good through music.   I’m sure you have many experiences that have happened that were amplified because of music.  If you think about watching a movie without any music.  The emotion of the story is better set to music then anything else.  Music catches our attention and can tug at our hearts.  Because of this great power it has over us we need to be so careful about the music that we listen to, and what our children are exposed to. 

I know for me music speaks directly to my spirit.  Does anyone else feel this way?  I have had more spiritual experiences with music then with anything else. Often times I am stubborn and have a hard time seeing a new way, but while I am singing a lot of times my heart will soften and I am open to change and teaching.

 How can I use music in my home to help encourage a positive loving environment?  Here is a few ways I have use music in my home:

o       Play good music in the home.

o       Notice the way the music is affecting the atmosphere in your home-change it, if needed.

o       Sing to your children-they love to hear your voice (even if you don't think you are a singer!)

o       Use music while you are traveling in the car.  This helps pass time!

o       Encourage your children to study music if there is a desire.

o       If your children has problems sleeping-use calm quiet music to help entrain sleeping

o       Use music to reinforce school subjects.  Just like learning the ABC song you can make others up to help with math and other subjects.

o       Music can help you relax-use it for yourself in stressful times.

o       Have fun making music together, even with a homemade drum set of pots and pans

o       Play music in your home to help set the mood for the activities you are engaged in (like cleaning, or settling down for naps)

o       Have a song to sing for changing diapers, naps, going to bed, bath time, eating, etc.  Your children will learn to recognize these and it will help with the structure of their day. 

o       If you want your children to study music, let them catch you practicing your instrument as well.  Also have regular recitals to boast their performance experience and confidence.  We have Sunday recitals.  Sometimes it's just our immediate family and other times we invite friends or family to join us.

o       Listen to music when you are lonely-this well help lift your spirits

o       Get familiar with NPR’s and KUED musical broadcasts and find your favorite programs.  You can hear some excellent programming and have basically a free front row seats to some amazing artists. I love the Celtic Woman, Prairie Home Companion, and E-town.

This list could go on and on.  These are only a few of the ways we can use music.  Have you noticed how music influences your kids?  How do you use music in your home?  I would love to hear your ideas or ways you have used music to teach or influence your children for the better.   Happy Singing!

For more info on Music Therapy you can visit:  AMTA website



  1. Ahhh Amen :) I sing to BriLynn when I feed her. The same couple songs and I know she knows it. Danika likes to sing along now too. There was a girl in our ward who mentioned that her sister (who has 8 kids) sings a song before dinner to get everyones attention. I thought that was neat. It's amazing how much music affects your moods. Kids pick up things so much better. I taught the kids our address and phone number to a tune (this was a few years ago)and they learned it fast. Music is wonderful!

  2. Thanks Sandra, I too had a nursing song. Conrad had the hardest time when he was first born nursing without falling asleep so I had a nursing song that I used. I sang it to the rhythm of his suck and swallow. It really worked!
    One other song I just remembered is we sing before we have family prayer. Its so nice to sing instead of holler to get all the kids gathered around our turtle footstool. "let us gather round the 'turtle', and say our family prayer..." I changed the lyrics to this.

  3. Beautiful post!~ I would love to have the education you have - I feel I definitely use music therapy in my home EVERY DAY!!

  4. That is cute...Each of our kids seem to have acquired a theme song that includes their name. Korky, but fun.


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