Music Therapy and Communication

Did you know music therapy promotes communication and self-expression?

What’s the difference and how does music help?

Communication vs. Self-expression

  • Self-expression is the act of bringing an internal experience to the outside world. It’s purpose is to reveal, to release and even at times, to express as in “squeeze out.” Self-expression can be full of all and any level of emotion. It fuels artistic endeavors. It takes only one person to express themselves. Self-expression can happen if no one else hears, witnesses or understands, as in writing in a diary.

  • Communication is the act of transferring information to another person(s). It takes (at least) two people — the communicator, and the receiver(s) of the communique. Effective communication takes the listener into deep consideration. Communication needs structure. It may format self-expression so that it is most digestible by an intended audience. Unhinged emotions are rarely effective. Tempered emotions can be effective in making a point.

Music and self-expression

  • Use songwriting to encourage one to identify and articulate their feelings and release them!
  • Use lyric analysis as a means for one to identify feelings, reflect and use the songs as a mirror to analyze their feelings and circumstances.
  • Use live music making (including singing or instrument playing) as a vehicle for persons to drive their feelings. Can be a way for one to release thoughts and feelings nonverbally.

Music and Communication

  • Encourage singing and vocalizing as a means to carry information, relay feelings, articulate and promote the use of words through singing song lyrics or singing syllables.
  • Use live music to facilitate opportunities for one to make eye contact to demonstrate engagement or as their means of communicating effectively.
  • Mirror vocal activities or instrumental activities to foster the exchange of communication in a safe and fun way.

I shared these tips and more at The “Turn on The Light” Conference last week!

Thank you, Children’s Healing Institute for putting on such a great conference and for continuing to bring about awareness of child neglect and abuse and needs of our children right here in Palm Beach County!

For more information on this amazing organization or if you know of a child in an unsafe environment, click the link below:

Erica presenting on how music therapy can elicit communication and self-expression in children of various abilities.

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