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How the Musical Arts Can Help Kids with Learning Disabilities

Updated: Oct 13, 2022

Children with learning disabilities may feel isolated and disconnected from those around them, which can contribute to low self-esteem. If you want to help your child communicate, connect, and develop self-confidence, consider incorporating musical arts into his/her daily regime. Playing an instrument and learning to dance has been proven to help children develop a wide range of transferable life skills. If you want to learn how instruments and dancing can help your child, check these tips presented by Creative Kids Preschool.

Why an Instrument?

Learning to play an instrument is a multi-sensory experience that requires the use of visual, auditory, and tactile systems. Playing an instrument also requires fine motor skills and coordination, which helps children draw a connection between their body and mind. The ability of music to connect each part of the body is one of the reasons music is frequently incorporated into the learning plan of children with auditory and visual processing disabilities. For children with communication difficulties, playing an instrument provides an outlet for thoughts and emotions. The art of making music requires self-control, focus, and problem-solving, which can benefit children who have difficulty concentrating. Lastly, learning to play an instrument can increase self-esteem by inciting feelings of accomplishment.

How to Start Playing

Selecting the right instrument depends on your child’s age, ability, and personality. For younger children, bulky instruments such as the saxophone, trombone, and violin may be too cumbersome and leave your child feeling frustrated and disinterested. Thankfully, there are a number of excellent beginner instruments that are manufactured in all different shapes and sizes. Recorders, bongos, ukuleles, and guitars are among the most common beginner instruments. As your child enhances his/her skills, you can transition them to a similar, more advanced, instrument. For example, if your child loves playing the recorder, they may be interested in woodwind instruments (be it single reed or double reed) such as the clarinet or oboe. If you want to make sure that your child’s instrument suits their personality, have them come with you to a local music store to try out a few options.

Why Dancing?

For some children, learning to play an instrument requires too much structure, concentration, and fine motor skills. If your child prefers to be on the move, dancing is a great way to incorporate musical arts into their learning. Coordination, communication, and self-expression are some of the skills that develop in children who love to dance. There is also evidence that dancing can help children express inner conflicts, which can facilitate relaxation. The physical nature of dance also produces endorphins associated with stable moods, better decision-making skills, and stronger long-term memory. Like a musical instrument, dancing helps children express their personality. With dozens of genres such as jazz, hip-hop, ballet, and tap, your child is sure to find a style that is right for them.

How to Start Dancing

Dancing can be done just about everywhere -- at home, outside, or in the classroom. If you want to see if your child responds positively to dance, you can encourage them to watch some online dance class videos. From there, you might want to look into some local dance classes. Dance classes are social and help children with learning disabilities develop strong social connections. The collective nature of dance class requires children to cooperate, share, and help others, which are vital components for healthy social development. As your child’s skills progress, you may find that they are ready for higher-level classes that continually challenge their physical abilities while enhancing their discipline and focus.

Teach the Musical Arts to Others

If you’ve had success teaching musical arts to your children and want to continue the journey with others, you could begin teaching classes and giving lessons professionally. Regardless of whether you dance or play an instrument, there are many people out there who could benefit from your guidance. Before you begin down that path, however, make sure you know what’s expected of you when you start a business. For instance, Virginia has specific guidelines and requirements in place for registering as an LLC, so make sure you brush up on those regulations before doing so.

It is never too early or too late to get your child involved in the musical arts. For children with learning disabilities, playing an instrument or learning to dance can enhance a wide range of skills in a fun, relaxing way. No matter what instrument or dance style you and your child choose, he/she will be sure to gain positive skills for a happy, healthy life.

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