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Children and young adults with emotional disturbance and behavioral issues with following challenges may need individualized care and educational support. 


  • Difficulty to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.

  • Difficulty to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.

  • Inappropriate types of behavior (acting out against self or others) or feelings (expresses the need to harm self or others, low self-worth, etc.) under normal circumstances.

  • A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.

  • A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.


Addressing the emotional state or mood of these clients is important because it affects diverse functions including cognitive processing and decision making, interpersonal relationships in social situations, and the motivation to engage in diverse physical or social activities.


Music has been effective means of treating people with emotional or behavioral problems by eliciting appropriate expression, regulating the emotion, and enhancing positive emotional experiences.


Music is often described as “language of emotions” in that music serves as a nonverbal medium to let out the emotions which cannot be fully described verbally.


As clients express themselves by creating music with diverse pitch, rhythm, tempo, or timbre, music therapists can identify the emotional properties, range of emotions, and the energy level of the children. This in turn enables the music therapists to apply various activities such as improvisational instrument playing, songwriting or lyric analysis to facilitate the emotional expression of children in music, and help identify the emotional experiences.


In music therapy, clients can also manage their emotion and learn to regulate the impulsivity. Improvement in emotional regulation can also lead to social competence, academic success, and positive emotions.


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