The Importance of Music for Children Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Music is a universal language that speaks to all humans. Regardless of gender, age or culture, we are hardwired to respond. The natural rhythms intrinsic to music compels us to dance, tap our feet or sing along.
These involuntary responses manifest even among those who are deaf and hard of hearing. And this explains why all CCHAT students receive a minimum of 20 minutes of music exposure every day as part of our “Music to My Ears” program.
The benefits of music education extend well beyond simple entertainment.
Music is a language, and one of our goals at CCHAT is to help students who are deaf and hard of hearing become fluent. Doing so opens up an entire world of communication.
How We Incorporate Music into Our Curriculum
Music carries a host of benefits – from relaxation to fun to exercise (especially when dancing). These benefits emerge naturally, without any guidance. As such, daily exposure to music is an automatic plus.
Through our carefully structured curriculum, we use music to help students who are deaf and hard of hearing master critical thinking and language development skills. In fact, the area of the brain responsible for interpreting music overlaps with the area responsible for language acquisition.
Below are the 5 core pillars of our “Music to My Ears” curriculum.
Many of our students wear hearing aids – an assistive technology that helps to amplify sound. But even in the most severe cases of hearing loss, cochlear implants can help capture audio signals sending information directly to the brain for processing and allowing students to better understand the world around them.
As such, listening forms a fundamental component of our music education. We teach our students to actively hear the words, rhythms, melodies and patterns. We also train them in the importance of listening to each other.
Another important aspect of our “Music to My Ears” curriculum involves speech recognition and control. For this, we focus on:
- Voice quality and timbre
- Breathing and articulation
- Pitch and volume
- Rhythm and tempo
All of these are vital skills that allow our students to communicate more confidently with others – via the spoken word.
The songs we choose are directly related to whatever subject matter the students are studying at that very moment. This selection makes the material both topical and relevant.
However, we also dissect, repeat and interpret song lyrics throughout the program. Focusing on the underlying language greatly facilitates (and complements) other aspects of learning – like reading, writing and speaking.
There’s a reason why most children in the English-speaking world learn the same nursery rhymes. Repetition of familiar songs helps with audio recall, memory and cognitive development.
At CCHAT, we take this repetition to the next level.
Not only do we revisit the same songs again and again, but we also repeat key patterns and verses as well. Like any language, music follows a well-defined structure with its own syntax and grammar. And repetition helps familiarize our students with the underlying rules so that they become fluent in this universal, natural language.
The final component of our program involves dancing and actually making music – whether with instruments or voice.
Our students are actively learning throughout the entire process. But movement, dance and song all help to make the experience more enjoyable for everyone. This involvement also offers opportunities for creative expression, which is yet another benefit of making music.
How to Involve Your Child Who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing in Music
Support for our program has enabled us to continue offering “Music to My Ears” to all of the students who come through CCHAT. Previous sponsors of our music education curriculum include:
Given this level of support, we’re confident that “Music to My Ears” is a critical steppingstone that can help your child master the essential language and communication skills they’ll need for lifelong success.
As with many of our programs, we actively encourage CCHAT parents to attend “Music to My Ears” with their children. For in addition to being a learning experience, making music and dancing are fun activities that facilitate bonding.
To see if CCHAT is a good fit for your child, schedule a visit with us today.