If you walk past the Children’s Centre on a Tuesday evening, you’re likely to hear some interesting sounds; shouts, screams of laughter, even our Greedy Gorilla. But these days, you might be lucky. You might hear beautiful voices raised in song.
Here at Body & Soul, we aim to respond to the specific needs of all our members in the most tailored and appropriate ways that we can. We make sure our services cater for the youngest to the oldest members; from the soft-spoken to the big personalities. Last year Body & Soul started running music therapy sessions for some of our youngest members, children aged 3-5.
Music Therapy is particularly suited to young children with delayed development. It encourages expression of feelings and helps young children process the difficult and sometimes traumatic life events that they encounter. Recent research has found that the active listening and performing integral to music therapy has a significant positive impact on children’s personal relationships, and on their development.
The impact of music therapy on our young members in a short space of time has been quite incredible. Through discussions with our qualified music therapist, the Head of the Children’s Centre Jane, decided to focus the first course of sessions on a small number of children who have a range of complex needs. The positive impact of music therapy on these children was noted by our Children’s Centre volunteers within a couple of weeks. Below, you can read about the remarkable progress of two children in particular, Grace*, 5, and Molly*, 5.
“Grace has benefitted so much from music therapy. Grace’s developmental delay is particularly noticeable in her speech, and this has had a negative impact on her self-esteem and ability to communicate with her peers. Since beginning music therapy she has become chattier. Before, she always stuck to her big brother, but now she’s more independent. She chats with lots of different volunteers, instead of the same few. Seeing her face light up when she sings, and when people praise her for answering in a big voice at circle time, it’s indescribable.”
“Molly is a little person with a big personality! She used to have tantrums quite often, and often said things like ‘everybody hates me’. She had so much to deal with this year, and when she had tantrums you could just see the panic on her face. Having small group therapy sessions, designed in a way that is suited to her, where emotions can be explored and fears can be expressed, has made a huge difference. Now, instead of saying, ‘everybody hates me’, she says ‘I’m good at making friends’, and ‘singing helps me stop being angry”.
We’re so excited by the amazing results music therapy has already produced among our youngest members. Children already show improved confidence and self-esteem. They sing throughout the evening now, performing without fear in front of their friends. We can’t wait to hear these little voices get bigger and brighter.