Developmental and Growth Norms: Music Play Therapy With an Infant
Play therapy with six-month-olds often involves encouraging them to perform basic developmental acts, such as rolling over, either unassisted or with assistance, depending on their physical development. Children in this age group often delight in initiating contact with adults by making noises, or engaging in ‘signed’ communication like ‘bye-bye.’ However, music therapy has also been shown to be effective in enhancing premature infants’ and full term infants’ developmental responses and parents’ responsiveness to the children’s needs. In informal musically-oriented play, infants encouraged to respond to music “by gazing, smiling, vocalizing, cooing, kicking, tapping, waving, and reaching out to touch the mother’s face or musical toy when the mothers initiated music-play actions,” showed significantly greater responsiveness and engagement with adults in one study (Walworth 2009).
For the six-month-old involved in my play development exercise, activities involved encouraging the child to touch a musical toy (a plastic drum), encouraging the child to slap the drum to improve muscular development, babbling along to music, imitating the child’s vocalizations, and having the child’s body manipulated in a dance while the adult sung. Musical play was designed to elicit greater responsiveness from the child in a fun setting and also to enhance the enjoyment of the adult involved in the activity. The aim of the activity was to encourage age-appropriate physical and speech-related activities as well as accustom the child to the sound of music. Rolling over while the music played, imitating the sounds and words were initiated by the adult, and when the child mimicked the adult, the child was told ‘good job.’ The activity was also designed to positively sensitize the child to instrumental and sung music in a social setting.
Walworth, Darcy D. (2009). Effects of developmental music groups for parents and premature or typical infants under two years on parental responsiveness and infant social development. Journal of Music Therapy, 46(1), 32-52. Retrieved April 13, 2009, from ProQuest Medical Library database. (Document ID: 1667546041).
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