A Basic Musical Instrument Provides Many Benefits, Part 1

recorder1It’s summertime, so how about trying something fun and different with your child, but still with therapeutic benefit. We have professional insights from a music educator and a speech therapist about using the recorder, a basic instrument, to provide benefits for your child. Read on…

Selecting a Musical Instrument

Orly Zalel is a developmental musician, music teacher, post-natal specialist and the creator of the Musical Baby Bonding program. Here is what she has to say:

“Choosing a musical instrument for our children is a very exciting thing and can be discussed from various perspectives: the tendencies of the child, his or her character, the style of parenting, the age of the child and, more importantly, his or her developmental stage.

Benefits to the Recorder
“One instrument that is often considered is the recorder. There are a number of advantages to learning to play one. Here are some to consider:

  • Playing the recorder is the ultimate first musical experience.
  • Playing the recorder is the first extension of the human body to produce music which evolved from singing, hence, it is the most natural, simple and challenging musical instrument for children of all ages.
  • Playing the recorder stimulates the brain in unique ways which builds cognitive skills, and like other aspects in music education, promotes good mental health.
  • Playing the recorder helps to regulate good, healthy breathing.
  • Playing the recorder supports fine motor and coordination skills development.
  • Playing the recorder develops good communication skills and will enable the child to engage fully with a stimulating, creative and expressive world.
  • Playing the recorder is enjoyable, and as listed above, is incredibly enriching. Hence, it plays an important role in building the foundations of a child’s musical future.

“Also, the recorder offers oral motor exercise, oral-motor work, muscle based therapy and teaches non-speech motor movements.”

Good Age to Start Playing the Recorder
“From the age of five years old, children can start to get familiar with the recorder. At that age they can already perform several significant things:

  • They can blow into the recorder to produce basic sounds.
  • They can articulate those sounds to make their own little tunes.
  • And, they can discover how covering the holes with their fingers makes music.

“Children aged nine years or older who feel they need some initial instructions can watch ‘How to Play the Recorder.’ This clip includes information regarding the first steps in playing the instrument, as well as practical advice like ‘What kind of recorder to buy?’ and ‘How to maintain it?’

“Advanced abilities of playing the recorder have a positive impact on children’s social skills and social life. Nevertheless, encouraging children to take formal recorder lessons should be done only after they show some interest or ask for it.”

In tomorrow’s article, Creative Ideas for Using a Recorder During Speech, Part 2, Karen Head, MS, CCC-SLP, shares her insightful approach for using the recorder during therapy sessions. Don’t miss it.

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An "Ism" is our coined term synonymous with a “challenge”. Many children, with or without a diagnostic label, experience various challenges throughout their developmental years which are impacting them in the classroom and at home. At Special-Ism, the Ism is our focus. We do not look at the diagnostic label, instead, we look at the Isms and offer solutions no matter the diagnosis.