Music and Conversation

Music and language have an important similarity: they are both used to communicate. From when we are babies, some of the first things we hear and say are sounds and singing. Children have always responded more to their mother’s singing than to her talking. 

 

“Music is a kind of language” (London, 1996). 

Music and language have an important similarity: they are both used to communicate. From when we are babies, some of the first things we hear and say are sounds and singing. Children have always responded more to their mother’s singing than to her talking. 

Music is written with a purpose in order to express ideas. There is a theory in research that people enjoy listening to music because it actually represents aspects of our social life. (Sawyer, 2005). This is true since it involves people coming together and sharing in a song or dance etc., and music always has a storyline to it. This means that our children know what to expect and know what they need to do. The key difference between a spoken conversation and a musical interaction is this: you don’t have to use words to participate…

Let us consider nursery rhymes! How many children do you know who don’t enjoy nursery rhymes? Some of our best memories as children involve singing and dancing with our friends and educators. Throughout a nursery rhyme there is a continuous interaction, whether it be through eye contact gestures, words, singing along or even smiling. Our children can communicate to us and we can communicate to them.

What are some activities you can do at home?

Some activities involving music include: 

•    Simply listening to nursery rhymes and songs.
•    Making a song together.
•    Acting out a nursery rhyme with the actions, gestures and facial expressions.
•    Singing nursery rhymes together with friends or siblings.
•    Incorporating toys in the song (e.g., using plastic animal ducks or monkeys). 

What can I do as a parent?

You can do one of two things: 

1.    Wait and respond to your child’s behaviours and interactions. For example, observing for eye contact, smiling, any gestures, words, joy/disapproval or any form of requests. If your child is interested but not participating, you can encourage them by moving their hands and doing the actions with them.

2.    Communicate through the words of the song/music, make gestures and appropriate facial expressions (e.g., ‘happy face’ for when the five little monkeys are jumping on the bed, ‘worried face’ when one falls off, and ‘angry face’ when the doctor says no more jumping!). 

What should I see through using songs and music with my child?

•    More interactions with you and your child.
•    Increased play time.
•    Increased number of requests.
•    Your child enjoying interactions with you.

What can my Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) do for me?

Your SLP can incorporate music and singing into the goals for therapy, and can be used throughout therapy sessions. You can also gather skills on how to respond to your child during musical interactions with guidance from your SLP. We know this is useful since there is research that supports social skills and communication growth, especially in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Gold, Wigram, & Elefant, 2006). 

By Thea Boutros
info@speechinfocus.com.au
02 8065 1197

Subscribe to receive our Blogs for free!

* indicates required

Contact Us

Call us today on (02) 8065 1197 to find out
how our speech pathologists can support your child's learning!