How Music Benefits People with Special Needs

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Music has been proven to have numerous benefits for people of all ages and backgrounds, including those with special needs and autism spectrum disorders. At Music Works Academy, we believe in the power of music to transform lives and improve the well-being of individuals, especially those with unique challenges. In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of music for special needs children and autism spectrum children.

Improved Communication and Social Skills

One of the primary challenges for children with special needs and autism is communication and socialization. Music has been shown to improve these skills by providing a nonverbal and creative outlet for self-expression. Playing music with others can also promote social interaction and cooperation, and music therapy can help children learn to recognize and respond to social cues.

Enhanced Cognitive Function

Research has shown that music can enhance cognitive function in children with special needs and autism, including memory, attention, and problem-solving skills. Learning music can also improve executive functioning skills such as planning, organizing, and multitasking.

Increased Self-Esteem and Confidence

Learning to play a musical instrument or to sing can be a rewarding experience that can boost self-esteem and confidence in children with special needs and autism. Music provides a safe and supportive environment for children to express themselves and to feel a sense of accomplishment. Performing in front of others can also help children overcome shyness and anxiety.

Emotional Regulation and Stress Reduction

Music has a powerful effect on the brain and can help regulate emotions and reduce stress levels. Listening to calming music or playing a musical instrument can be a soothing and therapeutic experience for children with special needs and autism, helping them to manage emotions and reduce anxiety.

Improved Motor Skills and Coordination

Playing a musical instrument requires precise motor skills and coordination, which can be beneficial for children with special needs and autism who may struggle with these skills. Learning to play an instrument or to sing can help improve fine and gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Overall, music has the potential to be a transformative experience for children with special needs and autism spectrum disorders. At Music Works Academy, we offer specialized music programs and lessons that are tailored to the unique needs and abilities of each child. Our experienced teachers are trained in working with children with special needs and are committed to providing a supportive and inclusive learning environment.

We believe that music can play a critical role in improving the quality of life for children with special needs and autism. By providing opportunities for self-expression, social interaction, cognitive development, and emotional regulation, music can help children with special needs and autism reach their full potential and achieve their goals.

If you have a child with special needs or autism spectrum disorder, we encourage you to consider the benefits of music education and to explore the music programs and lessons available at our music school. We have a class called “Little Explorers” for children grades 1 -3 that meets once a month. We are here to support you and your child on your musical journey and to help you discover the transformative power of music.

music works academy beatrice Heather Korn director

Heather Korn is a master teaching artist with a career of over 25 years teaching music students full time and preparing students for professional careers in music and the arts. She owns and operates Music Works Academy in Beatrice, Nebraska.

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Learn about Music: How Playing An Instrument Benefits Your Brain

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Teaching Kids to Practice: 3 Things Parents Can Do…Today!

Music lessons are an investment into your child’s future. The benefits of learning music and playing instruments will help your child succeed in all aspects of their lives. What is the number ONE reason kids stop music lessons? PRACTICE!!

How’s it going over there with your music students’ at home Practice? I’ve been doing this a long time and I know that there are always times during the course or music lessons when at home practice starts to fall by the wayside.  

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The biggest “reason” is time management (also known as “we’ve been too busy“). Who are the biggest players in making sure practice is happening outside of lessons? PARENTS!!

Let’s formulate a plan TODAY to get your music student back on the track of making more progress in their weekly music lessons.

In my full time career as a professional private music educator for over 25 years I have taught hundreds of kids and parents how to achieve success in music lessons and how to successfully practice at home. It’s not a magic formula but it does require one piece of magic which I like to call “CONSISTENCY“.

The number one question I get from parents about lessons is “How much should he/she be practicing?” I expect from my beginning private students 15 minutes a day 5 – 6 days a week. That amounts to a MINIMUM  of 1 HOUR a week of at home practice between lessons. 15 minutes seems like a long time to kids especially today when they have so many “fast” distractions. Starting with a 15 minute time block is achievable and helps kids to establish daily consistency.

Think about the time and money “investment” you are making in lessons. An “investment” in lessons mean you should be seeing a return on your investment and in music lessons a “return” on the “investment” means steady forward progress, EVERY week so that the next “building block” of music can be put in place.

3 things you can Do today that will immediately IMprove your child’s at home practice routine

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Kids in music lessons are building new brain neural pathways when they learn music. To make these pathways “stick” so that they can continue to move forward they must be looking at their lesson materials everyday.

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Choose 1 or 2 days when you know that it’s not going to be a great day to get it in as your “OFF” days. This can vary each week or stay the same, it’s up to you! On school days, practice ideally should be as soon as possible after school.

Practicing music is a TERRIFIC “brain break” from school work and will engage your child’s brain with high firing neurological activity which will help with attitude, focus and attention, finishing homework, reading and memorizing.

Keep a spare calendar set aside just for recording practice time if that is helpful for your child. Some kids really love to keep “track” as they go.

*Avoid saving music practice until the last thing of the day – this is very unproductive. Try to schedule it as a “break” activity from other studying earlier in the day – you might really be surprised at how it improves other things.


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Younger kids especially have a hard time with “TIME”. If you say “practice for 15 minutes” that is hard for them to understand. The best way to solve that problem is with the TIMER.

The “Practice Log Timer” in your student portal is a great tool to use because you can use the timer feature or enter the time manually. Using the Practice Log will also give you a running total and stats as you go. There’s no “so-so” guessing, your Student Portal Practice Log will keep track of it for you and all you have to do is log in and use it.

It’s really that EASY!! and Before you know it that 15 minutes is going to be turning into 20, 25, 30 minutes because it becomes “do-able!”



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Yes parents, you heard me correctly – we have to implement SOME kind of rewards plan. Kids NEED to work towards something – that is how they operate (but you already know this!)  

If your child is having a hard time with daily at home practice, it’s time to bring in the BIG CARROT!! Set up a rewards plan. This needs to be something your child loves and will work for and it HAS to be attainable. Aim for every 10 – 14 days to achieve the reward – 30 days to a kid is TOO LONG!  Finally, you’re going to have to change the reward system as they grow. One thing may work for 6 months and then it starts to fizzle. Be prepared for changing things up! It has to be a goal that they can view as easily reached if they just put in a little bit of work every day. 

Some ideas:  
Every 14 days of practice goals met receives:

  • Ice Cream treats
  • Trip to the Dollar Store
  • Activity with Friends
  • OTHER Special rewards – you know what your child loves and what motivates them!

Let me know how it worked for you in the comments!

music works academy beatrice Heather Korn director

Heather Korn is a master teaching artist with a career of over 25 years teaching music students full time and preparing students for professional careers in music and the arts. She owns and operates Music Works Studio and Music Works Academy in Beatrice, Nebraska.

Want to get our newsletters, blog post and enrollment information? Sign up for our mailing list here:

Music Works Expands to a NEW Location in Beatrice – NOW OPEN!

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Music Works Academy Beatrice 2920 E Court Street - Music Lessons and Classes.

Heather Korn has expanded her Music Works Studio to a NEW Location in Beatrice to meet the needs of the Southeast Nebraska Corner of the State.

he Mission of the Music Works Academy is to provide Music and Performing Arts Education to our community in Southeast Nebraska.

We strive to provide services that help all ages of people to bring music and performing arts into their lives. We aim to provide positive educational experiences for our students and instructors. We focus on connecting great students with great teachers. Some of our classes and lessons will be traditional but we also offer more creative options if you are looking for fun music activities or if you want to try out an instrument and see how goes!

Music Works Academy – 2920 E. Court Street – Beatrice is now open and enrolling for group classes and private lessons!