Music – The Non-verbal Form of Communication

As we explore the field of Music Therapy, it’s important to understand how to incorporate this treatment into your child’s life.  The use of Music Therapy is a unique application of music to enhance personal lives, by creating positive changes in human behavior.


Having said the above, I would like to continue on how children with autism can be positively impacted with something as simple as music.   Music is effective because it is a nonverbal form of communication.  It is a natural re-enforcer; it is immediate in time and provides motivation for practicing nonmusical skills.


Music Therapy has a wide variety of functions for so many challenged populations, but there is much evidence that children with disorders such asautism or sensory processing disorder thrive and improve remarkably when involved in a well structured music therapy program.  This is due, in part, to the fact that music is a nonverbal, nonthreatening medium.


When children have difficulty with social interaction, the music therapist might encourage games such as passing a ball back and forth to music or playing sticks and cymbals with another person, thus fostering an interaction.  Eye contact can also be encouraged with imitative clapping games near the eyes or with activities that focus attention on an instrument played near the face.  Additionally, music may be used to teach a variety of social behaviors like sitting in a chair or staying with a group in a circle.


It has also been frequently evidenced that autistic children have unusual sensitivities to music.  Some have perfect pitch, while many have been noted to play instruments with exceptional musicality.  Through the use of music and instrumental activities, children have been able to pair the singing of harmonics with consonant-vowel sounds and eventually begin imitating more complex verbalizations.


I am hopeful that parents reading this article will embrace a good music therapy program.  However, if anyone would like assistance and direction regarding music therapy or private instrumental or vocal lessons, please feel free to contact me at