One of our own therapists, Emily Minkow, wrote a grant that was funded by the Hillside Elementary PTA. She asked for instruments, decorations and props for their upcoming holiday show. Emily explains how these things will help students learn through music best in her own words:
"There is a significant link between early music instruction and cognitive growth in specific non-music abilities. Through musical involvement in a therapeutic context, students are able to work on physical, cognitive, social, emotional, academic, behavioral, and sensory needs.
Research shows using music and rhythmic accompaniment to learn fundamental motor skills in an elementary school setting lends itself to more performance improvement than without the musical component. While rehearsing our dance movements, playing instruments, and learning our American Sign Language signs to songs, these students are working on both fine and gross motor coordination, and sequencing movements.
During the rehearsal process, students are provided opportunities to practice with an end goal in mind. The music itself, as well as the performance, serve as motivators to focus each student’s attention to the music therapist while also learning patience and perseverance, skills that will one day hopefully transfer to real life settings. Throughout this process, students are also working on appropriate behavior skills.
Additionally, the students are provided with an invaluable experience to get on stage in front of their family and peers and be successful. They may gain more self-confidence through this special, social experience, and get to show off their hard work. Many of these students are not given other opportunities to shine on stage, whether on an actual performance stage, or in other extracurricular activities. The families of these students also gain from this experience, seeing their child in a positive light, being successful at something they can do. "