Recent brain research on early music development reveals findings that can be used to shape and inform music therapy practice. This presentation will explore specific research results from music cognition and music neuroscience studies as they relate to the more complex goal of helping young client’s develop identity and self.
Recent brain research on early music development reveals findings that can be used to shape and inform music therapy practice. This presentation will explore specific research results from music cognition and music neuroscience studies as they relate to the more complex goal of helping young client’s develop identity and self. The growing child is surrounded by sounds from their environment. The way in which they absorb, integrate, and organize these sounds creates a web of meaning that contributes to the child’s whole personality. This includes reactions to people and events shaping relationships to family, peers, society, culture, and self.
Some of the meaning of sounds, and music, now appears to be formed in intrinsic, biologically and neurologically based responses. This presentation will examine several of these studies coming from laboratories in the United States and Canada. The presenter will then walk participants through the process of taking specific results and extrapolating the key ideas to find ways in which effects studied contribute to overall growth and development. One example of this is a series of studies from the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind in Canada that found that interpersonal movement synchrony increased infant helping behaviors. From this finding, the presenter will suggest ways to incorporate rhythmic and movement synchrony as a music therapy intervention to increase interpersonal relationships. Music composed to take advantage of this specific music response will be shared.
Another example comes from the Auditory Neuroscience Lab at Northwestern University in the United States. This particular study demonstrated how music training and exposure to music experiences prepared the brain better to distinguish speech sounds in noisy environments. Again, the presenter will suggest ways to use this finding in creating music therapy interventions to assist children in negotiating complex social environments. Music composed to foster this music response will be shared.
- Participants will identify key components from 3 music research studies about intrinsic music responses that can be used to guide development of music therapy interventions. (CBMT Domains BCD IV A 2.)
- Participants will describe how a neuroscientific approach to music therapy can inform humanistic practice. (CBMT Domains BCD II A 3 d,e.)
Students, Entry-level professionals
Elizabeth K. Schwartz, MA, LCAT, MT-BC is a faculty member at Molloy College, and co-founder of Raising Harmony: Music Therapy for Young Children. She is a frequent presenter and author, including the new Basic Verbal Skills for Music Therapists.