Q: How can music therapy benefit the whole family?

Parents and Young Children with Disabilities: The Effects of a Home-Based Music Therapy Program on Parent-Child Interactions

Research from Florida State University examined the impacts of a music therapy program on dyads of parents and their children. Yang (2016) highlighted the significance of parent-child interactions in a child’s cognitive, language, and social development while noting the challenges that developmental delays may bring to these relationships. Citing previous works, the author further discussed documented benefits of music therapy programs on bonding, parenting skills, parent confidence, parent stress-reduction, and overall engagement with children. The present study involved a six-week, home-based music therapy program implemented with parents and their children with developmental delays. Sessions involved singing, musical games, instrument play, movement to music, and music and relaxation exercises. Analysis of parent-child interactive behaviors after program completion revealed a significant increase in positive physical parent responses (such as modeling, gesturing, leaning in, and engaging in affectionate touch), positive verbal parent responses (such as making comments, asking questions, and giving praise), and positive verbal child initiations (such as cooing, requesting, and laughing).


Yang, Y. H. (2016). Parents and young children with disabilities: The effects of a home-based music therapy program on parent-child interactions. Journal of Music Therapy, 53(1), 27-54. doi:10.1093/jmt/thv018