Di seguito riporto un articolo molto interessante che motiva l’intervento musicoterapico in un ottica preventiva, con bambini piccoli in situazioni di disagio e potenzialmente a rischio di compromissione per il loro sviluppo.

La musicoterapia può a mio avviso essere un ottimo strumento di prevenzione, creando un substrato ludico ma allo stesso tempo fertile su cui seminare le basi per gli apprendimenti, per sviluppare le capacità di relazione adeguate, per comunicare con gli altri, prima ancora che vi sai la parola.

Nell’articolo riportato in seguito, tratto dal Magazine Online “Imagine” (Fall 2011, Vol.2 N. 1), viene considerata l’importanza dello sviluppo linguistico, e l’influenza del contesto e degli stimoli forniti, sullo stesso, infine viene riportato come la musicoterapia possa portare benefici nel questo processo graduale di acquisizione del linguaggio.

Il Magazine completo lo si può trovare all’indirizzo:



Buona Lettura!


Early Music Therapy Intervention for Language Development
with At-Risk Infants


Deanna Hanson-Abromeit, Ph.D., MT-BC Associate Professor of Music Therapy University of Missouri-Kansas City

The ability to effectively communicate is a skill that is vital to healthy relationships, learning and development, and life-long success. 

When a child begins life at a disadvantage due to health or environmental risk factors, his or her ability to communicate with the world is affected. For these children, early intervention that begins during infancy can be a key factor in neurological development, thus creating a more cost effective intervention that has stronger and greater long term tangible outcomes than intervention that comes later in childhood (National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, 2007). Due to the similarities of how music and language are processed in the brain (Patel, 2008), music- based interventions can support language development in at- risk infants.


Naturalistic and constant exposure to language within the context of a meaningful relationship supports the acquisition and learning of language (Callander & Nahmad-Williams, 2010). It has been suggested that the early exposure to mother’s voice in particular may be important for the processing of language (Dehaene-Lambertz et al., 2010). However, children living in poverty may experience deficits in their language exposure thus impacting later cognitive development. A landmark longitudinal study, originally published in 1995, by Hart & Risley (as cited in 2002) demonstrated a vast discrepancy in language exposure to young children based on socio-economic status. Infants growing up in poverty heard on average far fewer words per hour (616 words/hour) than those growing up in working class households (1,251 words/hour) or those in professional households (2,153 words/hour) (Hart & Risley, 2002, p.32).


Language acquisition is cumulative and early experiences are critical to brain structure, thus lack of language experience early in life can negatively impact later developing higher cognitive functioning (National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, 2007) and psychosocial well-being into adulthood (Schoon, Parsons, Rush & Law, 2010). Therefore, early intervention that is immersed in naturalistic language should begin during infancy. Interventions that are designed to be appropriately stimulating to the neural circuitry of the infant brain may promote appropriate development adequately preparing the child for higher-level language learning (National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, 2007). Music-based intervention strategies can be intentionally designed to be infant directed, occur in a naturalistic environment, focus on hierarchal language acquisition skills, and promote meaningful relationships with the music, the therapist, caregivers and parents.

There is a large body of literature describing the similarities between speech and music in brain structure and function (Deutsch, 2010; Patel, 2008), providing a neurological basis for intervention. Infant-directed singing can be utilized as an intervention strategy to elicit, direct and sustain infants’ attention so that other developmental milestones can be addressed (de l’Etoile, 2006). The therapeutic function of music intentionally organizes the elements of music to address intervention objectives (Hanson-Abromeit, 2010), specifically the pre-linguistic aspects of language development such as gestures, babbling, and word utterances. Figure 1 illustrates an example of the therapeutic function of music specifically intended to be developmentally appropriate for infants and pre-linguistic acquisition. The music elements are intended to provide emotional regulation and sensory organization to support infant availability for learning, as well as language skills.


Directed interventions can be presented in a sequenced manner to mimic the developmental acquisition of language (e.g. gestures, vocalizations and words) as well as be cumulative in nature to reinforce repetition of language concepts. Music therapy services can be offered in a manner that is developmentally appropriate and in a naturalistic environment, such as home or day care. 


Caregivers and parents would also ensure greater exposure of intervention strategies, raising the potency by creating a preventive intervention strategy that is integrated into all aspects of an infant’s environment. 

Early music therapy interventions have the capacity to create a bridge between music and relationships for at-risk infants who are living in poverty to facilitate reciprocal communication and language learning.




Callander, N., & Nahmad-Williams, L. (2010). Communication, Langauge and Literacy. London: Continuum International Publishing Group.

Dehaene-Lambertz, G., Montavont, A., Jobert, A., Allirol, L., Dubois, J., Hertz-Pannier, L. & Dehaene, S. (2010). Language or music, mother or Mozart? Structural and environmental influences on infants’ language networks. Brain & Language, 114, 53-65. doi:10.1016/j.bandl. 2009.09.003

de l’Etoile, S. K. (2006). Infant-directed singing: A theory for clinical intervention. Music Therapy Perspectives, 24(1), 22-29.

Deutsch, D. (July/August, 2010). Speaking in tones. Scientific American Mind, 36-43.

Hanson-Abromeit, D. (2010). A closer look at the therapeutic function of music. American Music Therapy Association: Conference presentation PowerPoint, Cleveland, OH.

National Scientific Council on the Developing Child (2007). The Timing and Quality of Early Experiences Combine to Shape Brain Architecture: Working Paper #5. http:// www.developingchild.net

Patel, A. D. (2008). Music, language and the brain. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.

Schoon, I., Parsons, S. Rush, R., & Law, J. (2010). Children’s language ability and psychosocial development: A 29- year follow-up study. Pediatrics, 126, e73-e-80. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2009-3282.

About the Author

Deanna Hanson-Abromeit, Ph.D., MT- BC, Associate Professor of Music Therapy at the University of Missouri- Kansas City, has a clinical and research focus with at-risk infants in medical and community settings. She is co-editor of two AMTA monographs on medical music therapy, and serves on the CBMT- CEC and editorial board of Music Therapy Perspectives.