especially seen when applying the structure of music to the repetitive steps and
structure of math. No, we are not analyzing the mathematical principles of the
music. We are allowing the natural order
of music when it is played to help order
the brain to work through the step by
step processes used in math.
Music can also be a great focal point
for those that struggle with interpersonal relationships, such as children on
the Autism Spectrum. I worked with a
4 year old girl who was diagnosed with
autism. She made no attempts at talking.
We were able to connect through activities that related to the music; whether it
was coloring, instrumental responses to
music, or movement. At our final music
therapy session, I explained to Heather
that we would no longer be meeting and
tried to bring closure to our relationship. As she headed for the door, she
turned and said, “Goodbye, Dawn” with
incredible clarity. These were the first
words she had ever spoken. Her mother
and I stood astounded. It was the freedom and external focal point of the music that provided the safety for her to utter those first words.
Applications of Music Therapy
So what does music therapy have to do
with homeschooling you might be asking? An ever growing sector of the homeschool community are children with
special needs. Whether these needs are
physical, academic, social, or emotional,
there are phenomenal ways that music
can be used with your child. This can
be done through your own creative use
of music or by securing the services of a
music therapist in your area to help develop a plan of treatment.
Another consideration in relating mu-
sic to homeschooling is that of a career
path for your budding musicians. I per-
sonally did not feel led to become a pub-
lic school music teacher. There are only a
small percentage of students that will be
able to get established as a professional
performer. Many times that comes with
a lifestyle that may not be consistent with
Christian values. Music therapy is a won-
derful way to take the love of music and
truly minister to the lives of others.
For more information on the use of
music with children who have special
needs or to explore training and a career in music therapy, I encourage you to
visit the website for the American Music
Dr. Dawn Oaks, ND, is a professionally
trained naturopath and music therapist.
She is an alumni of the music therapy
program at Montclair State University in
Upper Montclair, NJ. After retiring from
the field and home educating her own children, Dawn is using her past managerial
experience in leading the Advertising Sales
Department at The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. She also continues to serve as the
founder and primary provider at Whole
Fashioned Wellness, a biblically based holistic health practice.
of music as a tool to help
an individual achieve
other goals in their life.