Music Therapy and Early Intervention

What is Early Intervention  

According to Center for Parent Information Resources, “Early intervention is a system of services that helps babies and toddlers with developmental delays” and focus on “skills that typically develop during the first three years of life, such as physical, cognitive, communication, social/emotional, and self-help” behaviors. Music therapy is one of these services and can address most of (if not all) of the goals described above. In this newsletter I will discuss some of the main interventions that are utilized with this population.

Music Therapy Interventions

Parent/Infant Bonding

Bonding is such a crucial part of early childhood and one of the best ways to do this is through music. Music not only is fun, but can be an emotional experience that has an impact on the bonding that takes place between a caregiver and a baby. Bonding songs can be slow, upbeat, whatever your baby responds to. When singing the song, hold your baby on your lap facing you so they can see your facial expressions as you sing. When I start talking to people and encouraging them to sing, I always hear “but I can’t sing” or “I have a terrible voice”. It doesn’t matter if you think you can’t sing! Babies have a special connection with a mother’s voice because it’s the first sound the baby can hear before entering the world! Just try it and see what happens!


Movement is a huge part of development because we do it all of the time! Gross and fine motor movements can be worked on through finger plays like “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Wheels on the Bus”. Kids also love to move, and dancing can be a great way to work on gross motor movements! Turn on their favorite song at home and dance with them! One song that has been a favorite in many of my early intervention music therapy groups is used with scarves. The lyrics are:

The scarves, the scarves, Go up and down

Up and down, Up and down

The scarves, the scarves, Go up and down

Up and down today

*Not only are the kiddos moving and dancing with this song, but they are learning about the directions up and down! Again the lyrics are super simple and are paired with a fun material to interact with!


Creating songs that talk about playing instruments are great to reinforce what the child is doing and to validate their actions. It also helps to work on motor movements and understanding language in a fun and interactive way! The lyrics can be made up, as long as you sing the melody almost the same every time you sing it. Some of the lyrics I have used as I work with this population are shown below.

“Play the Instrument”

Play, play, play the shaker

Play, play, play the shaker

Play, play, play the shaker

You are shaking today!


*The lyrics don’t need to be complicated! Make up something that you can remember. The simpler the better!


Contact Us!Check out these websites for more information:

Center for Parent Information Resources –

Understood –


If you have any questions based on this month’s topic or would like to hear recordings of the songs that were mentioned email us at

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