Can Sound Expression help with communication development?

Music therapy can assist with communication and language development. Speech and music have a number of shared processing systems. Musical experiences which enhance processing can therefore impact on the perception of language. Active engagement with music sharpens the brain’s early encoding of linguistic sound. Music develops skills which enhance perception of language patterns.

A large amount of research over the last 20 years has consistently shown how beat competency is vital for academic performance, listening skills, language development, reading and maths. Beat competency is a skill that is seen to be separate from motor abilities making this an important fundamental test to consider when working with anyone with challenges with literacy, listening, concentration and speech development.

Often children with speech and language difficulties have difficulty tapping to an externally imposed beat when compared to children with no deficit in speech development. Rhythm perception is linked to an understanding of grammatical structure in sentences. Initially children need to be able to self-generate a steady beat. Once able to do so, the child is asked to synchronise with an external beat and then to match it, for example by tapping with their finger or marching using their whole body.