“Music does not represent life: it is life “(Charles Ives )
Music is an art that allows for expression, connection and communication. Music therapy is a systematic process of intervention based on the use of musical experiences, as part of the developing relationship between patient and therapist, to enable change and growth in mental and physical health.
One of the assumptions of music therapy is that music has a psychological and physiological effect on the person. Basic elements of music, such as rhythm, melody and harmony, “resonate” in the human body and mind in various ways, and together create a stimulating or relaxing experience of both an organizing and integrative nature.
The other assumption of music therapy is that music derives from and is produced from the patient’s inner world even when he is active (singing, playing and moving), even when he is receptive (passive) – he listens to the music he has chosen, or expresses preference for a particular music. The therapist’s role is to listen, understand and contain the patient’s music, as well as to use it to create a framework of therapeutic dialogue.
As part of working with visually impaired people of varying degrees, including children with developmental delays, the developmental aspect of music therapy takes on a new meaning, as these children do not experience enough interpersonal skills:
• Initial interactions that develop at the beginning of each infant’s life, based on eye contact between the child and the adult
• Spontaneous vocal dialogue initiated first by the adult, and later by the child himself
• Imitation and reflection given to the child’s spontaneous behavior.
Mutual interactions in this couple communication are the basis for normal communication and emotional development.
According to studies, in children whose development is delayed, one of the main reasons for insecurity, fears, lack of communication initiative, loneliness, restlessness and more, result from little experience in this interpersonal skills. Therefore, one of the goals of music therapy in ELIA is to compensate for the gaps in emotional and communicative development, which are created as a result of the delay or impairment.
Using music as an expressive and communicative art and as a “natural” media for the child, makes it possible to circumvent the existing shortcomings, and make the child be proactive and connect with the environment in relation to his level, without words. Through music, communication with speakers of different languages is also possible.
Music is used as a therapy in a varied and broad way, which includes singing, playing music, listening, while combining movement and play. The modes of use are individually tailored to the level of emotional development of the children.
Music therapy takes place in a group setting. The children come for treatment with the caregivers who accompany them in the daily routine, and the treatment is performed one on one. In groups where most children are able to act more independently the treatment is carried out while the children interact with each other. The number of participants varies from group to group. The composition of the group is determined according to the common denominator in the developmental needs of the children. In addition, a personal program is built for each child, implemented by the caregiver as part of the kindergarten.
If there is a difficulty in integrating the child into the group work, the possibility of providing individual treatment for a defined period of time is examined, with the aim of integrating the child later in a group setting. Individual therapy is also accompanied by the kindergarten teacher and the assistant, in order to implement the treatment plan during the week.
The treatment process includes identification of the developmental stage, and reference to existing abilities. Creating a therapeutic environment appropriate to the needs of each child, combined with the application of the therapeutic principles within the kindergarten framework, provide a fruitful basis for integrative work and developmental progress.
Music is an important therapeutic tool in working with this population. Through music they develop the ability to listen, express, move, connect and even speak.
During music lessons the children get acquainted with many instruments that can help them in their exposure to the world. The music encourages contact, encourages movement, fine and gross motor doing as well as the expression of emotion.
Music lessons at Elia Kindergarten are a special experience for the children. This is the place, and this is the opportunity for the children to express emotion, move, smile and make contact with themselves and with the care team.
In music lessons we hear the children. You hear them pronounce syllables that start or end a song and you hear them express joy to the sounds of the pleasant and rhythmic sounds.
In music lessons we see the movement of the child is reflected. No child remains indifferent to the sounds of music heard in the room.
Through music we move: the child with the caregiver attached to the child together with all the members of his group – music is the catalyst for creating connections between all the children in the class.
Music lessons are the stage for all the young talents revealed in the lesson. In singing, playing, dancing and if in other rhythmic abilities.
Music is the window of opportunity for our dear children.
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