An early function of music in human history was to bind tribes of us together, and music still fulfils that function today.
When we make music with others, our bodily rhythms synchronise, and hormones such as oxytonin are released, making us feel good together.
Just listening to music with someone else can release the bonding hormone prolactin.
So, whatever their stage of development or level of disease, music can be used with children and young people to help them engage with others in a range of social and musical contexts.
Musing music to structure social interaction
Music is highly structured, and songs can provide an engaging framework for taking turns and listening to others – particularly valuable for children and young people who have limited vision or who cannot see.
For children and young people in whom language is not functional, encourage parents to use music to mark out key social events in the day.
Encourage parents to use songs from ‘Tuning In’, such as ‘In the Circle’ and ‘Together and alone’ to promote social skills.
AmberPlus Music Resources
If the child is unable to see or speak, ‘personal soundmakers’ may provide a welcome sense of identity and can be used in songs such as ‘Who’s sitting next to me?’.
Music forms an important part of many social and cultural occasions, and is the main focus of some.
Encourage parents to take their child to musical events to enable them to experience the togetherness that being in an audience or crowd can bring.
Many theatres and orchestras offer ‘relaxed’ performances that may be more appropriate for children whose responses are unpredictable.
Suggest to parents that, where possible, they may like to record the events so that they can be re-lived later.