Last week, I wrote a blog post about how being a parent has helped me become a better music therapist. (There were a few things that came up that even surprised me!)

This week, I want to share how being a music therapist has helped me become a better parent (oh let me count the ways!)

Here are just a few:

I used songs to bond with my babies – Using my training as a music therapist and with the encouragement from a sound birthing professional (more on that here), I wrote a special song for each of my girls. I sang that song: while I was pregnant with them, while we did skin-to-skin in the operating room, while in the hospital room after they were born, and of course throughout the day at home. Being a trained music therapist, I knew how important music was in bonding us during the first days and weeks of their little lives.

I use musical transitions and basically, music throughout the day – When my kiddos were really young, we used musical transitions at clean up time, meal time, and bed time. Using music during times of transitions is something I was very familiar with as a music therapist working with children, so it was easy for me to incorporate this into our everyday lives.

As they’ve gotten older, we’ve incorporated music in other really fun and laid back ways. Some days it sounds like an opera in our house. I’ll sing to my kids “Would you like some milk?” and without missing a beat they’ll sing back “Yes I’d like some milk!” It is so. much. fun.

We also do piggyback songs and they will chime right in when I start. It’s typically a piggyback to “Are You Sleeping?” because the melody is simple and they know it well. But sometimes we’ll use other song melodies and change up the words. I feel like my husband and I are training little mini music therapists!

My kids have access to all the instruments – I mean ALL the instruments – I have bins and bins with my music therapy materials. My girls have been known to run around with a duck quacker, rain stick, steel drum, ukulele, wind chimes, maraca, castanets. You name it, they’ve probably played it. I love that because I’m a music therapist, they have access to this wide variety of instruments.

Holiday shows on Zoom  – During the pandemic, I was feeling a little glum as 4th of July approached last year. In an effort to give us something to look forward to (and to keep my girls developing their musical skills), I set up a patriotic holiday show for our family on Zoom. We all dressed in red, white, and blue, and my husband, our girls, and I played a variety of patriotic songs. We led our families across the country in singing.

It ended up being a really special day, and we got a lot of positive feedback from our family about how it lifted their spirits. So, we followed our Patriotic Zoom Concert up with a Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day Zoom Show.  I used the skills I had developed while working as a music therapist at United Cerebral Palsy of Miami, where I planned many, MANY concerts and shows for the children and teens with special needs.

I would love to hear from you.

How has being a music therapist made you a better parent (or vice versa)? Leave a comment below to let us know.