Music plays an important role in the growth of children. From birth, babies respond positively to music. Songs are used to help children sleep soundly, learn a language, develop logic, gain knowledge, and of course, songs also bring a lot of fun. Music has a particularly big impact on the lives of special children. For children with communication problems, music is an excellent method of healing and learning.
In one of his piano performance tours, Paul Nordoff, an American pianist and composer, met Clive Robbins, a teacher for boys and girls with complex learning needs. Paul Nordoff was greatly touched by Clive Robbins’s teaching of music to severely disabled children. They then teamed up to establish the well-known Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy. They believe:
“Music is an inherent part of us all: the pulsations and rhythms that accompany our heartbeat, breathing, and movement; melody exists in our crying, our laughing, and our singing; rhythm and harmony of various musical styles accommodate all our emotions.
Even disability or illness can’t sever the intimate resonance between people and music. People do not need music training or professional background to generate the resonance.”
Recently, a popular home video shows the power of music therapy. Amy Bowman Gray has five children. Among them, her 2-year-old son Bo suffers from Down syndrome. Bo can only speak a few words, and learning a new word is very hard for him. She wrote: “Bo is 25 months old, and he only knows 12 words.”
On January 16, 2018, Amy needed to take a shower. She asked her daughter, Lydia, to take care of Bo. It is a tough job to look after a toddler, even for a few minutes. Luckily for Bo, his sister is quite versatile. She is good at playing the guitar. While waiting for their mom outside the bathroom, Lydia played Bo’s favorite song, You Are My Sunshine. As their mom stepped out of the bathroom, she saw Bo was happily singing with his sister. She wrote: “Without the guitar, I wonder if Lydia would have been able to look after Bo.”
What amazed Amy the most was that her speechless boy knew some words in the lyrics. He could even speak the words under his sister’s guidance. Lydia intentionally left out the last syllable, and Bo completed it.
Music has brought a miracle to Bo’s language learning. When other methods have failed, Lydia has been helping her brother to increase his vocabulary by singing with him. Amy wrote: “Every word that Bo knows comes from music and singing. This is a validation of music therapy.”
While playing the guitar for him, Lydia gives all her attention to Bo and patiently encourages him to join in the singing. She guides Bo to find the right word to sing. As the room fills with sunlight and affection, another sibling is drawn to sing with them.
Since Amy posted the video on her Facebook page, it has been forwarded 55.67 million times and can be viewed here:
Translated by Jean Chen