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How Does Music Therapy Help In Babies' Development?

How Does Music Therapy Help In Babies' Development?

Music Therapy can enhance a child's physical and mental well-being. Here are some ways music can benefit your child.

Written by Editorial Team |Updated : May 4, 2022 11:24 AM IST

Whether you are happy, sad, or angry, music can bring about all kinds of reactions in babies to adults. Music therapy involves age-appropriate music to support the diverse cognitive, physical, psychological, and social needs of children and adolescents to help them reach their fullest potential. The therapy can help children identify their strengths and act as a way for self-expression and open communication. It is also commonly used to enhance family bonding between children and parents.

Types of music therapy

Music therapy used with babies can be divided into two categories:

Recorded Music: It refers to playing pre-recorded music or sounds through a phone or TV.

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Live Music: It is music or sounds sung or played at present. Live music is typically used as a form of treatment to help people with depression and anxiety. For example, parents sing lullabies to their children at night.

How does music therapy work?

A music therapist carefully analyses a patient and tailors the therapy program as per the child's individual needs. The therapist will start to sing, play instruments, and encourage the patient to explore different instruments as well. They document the child's development and evaluate the sessions to track the child's progress. Contrary to popular belief, there is no requirement for musical experience to get music therapy.

The benefits of music therapy in children's development

For adolescents

Most adolescents prefer to create their own music in a music therapy program. They express their feelings through songwriting and melodies. They have complete creative control over the instruments they choose, the songs they sing, and the audio/visual they use. When parents and children write songs and create music together, they build a strong connection. Music therapy is one of the best ways to allow self-expression and learn to regulate emotions.

For infants and premature babies

On the other hand, live familiar music such as lullabies along with physical and social activities is the most preferred form of music therapy for premature babies and infants. Slow and soothing music combined with relaxation techniques helps to reduce irritability, pain, anxiety and encourages family bonding. Some of the ways that babies who receive music therapy benefit are;

  • Sensory skills: Sensory skills refer to skills responsible for receiving information such as vision, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. Parents who sing to their babies while holding them develop a bond through skin-to-skin contact. Moreover, music therapy also helps infants build a tolerance for noise, allowing them to block unnecessary noise and de-stress.
  • Feeding habits: Babies who receive recorded music therapy are more likely to have better feeding behaviour. Since they can consume more food, the average daily weight of these babies is also higher.
  • Speech and language: Music therapy motivates children to interact, engage, and participate in a social setting. They also have better communication with their parents as the music helps premature babies feel closer to them
  • Attention Contol: Music therapy improves the cognitive abilities of babies. They have a longer attention span and stronger willpower to control emotions and behaviours.
  • Health: As their sensory, communication, feeding habits and cognitive abilities improve, the babies are likely to experience a decline in stress and pain level. Therefore, these babies tend to have healthier sleeping patterns and normalised breathing.


Music therapy can be fun for children to get their bodies and brains working together. It can be an extracurricular activity that enhances a child's physical and mental well-being in addition to their schoolwork. You can also consult a doctor and clear any doubts regarding music therapy if you feel that your baby may benefit from it.

The article is contributed by Dr Meghana Kashyap, Consultant - Child and Rehabilitation Psychologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Indiranagar, Bangalore.

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