Music Therapy & Williams Syndrome

Williams Syndrome is an interesting developmental disorder. Genetic and present at birth, it affects many parts of the body including distinctive facial features, varying degrees of intellectual disability or learning problems, cardiovascular disease, and unique personality characteristics. Individuals may also show Hypercusis or a high sensitivity to sounds. While these may be seen as areas of weakness for individuals with this disorder, there are also great areas of strength these individuals show too!


For example, those with Williams Syndrome exhibit striking verbal ability, highly social personalities, and interestingly enough, a great affinity for music! Classical music playing on the radio may move an individual to tears, while the playing of upbeat music may energize and excite an individual, making them laugh and dance for joy! The ability to remember lyrics and a great sense of rhythm are also noted characteristics of those with Williams Syndrome. Some even argue that because of these enhanced musical abilities, many with this disorder have “perfect pitch” and might even be considered a “savant” as in the case of singer Gloria Lenhoff.


This makes Music Therapy a wonderful modality to assist individuals with Williams Syndrome to overcome areas of weakness. Below are some great benefits:

  • Facilitates increased engagement in learning, especially in areas such as math and other difficult concepts.
  • Aids in helping the child to remember important things.
  • Motivates the child to attempt and complete difficult tasks.
  • Assists in communicating things that are difficult to express.
  • Fosters social ease when confronted with new and uncomfortable social interactions.
  • Alleviates anxiety and stress which can lead to a higher quality of life. 

Of course, like other therapies, Music Therapy may affect individuals differently, so it’s important for the child to have an initial assessment with a Board-Certified Music Therapist to assess the efficacy of this particular therapy in relation to the child’s overall treatment plan. Please feel free to reach out to me at (509) 979-4357 if you or someone you know would benefit from Music Therapy!


Kim McMillin

RN, MA, MT-BC, LMHC, LMFT (CO) Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Board Certified Music Therapist

I am passionate about helping others to find the goodness within them and to heal the barriers that prevent them from embracing the light of goodness inside. Each of us comes into this world as a magnificent sun. What often trips us up is that we learn to identify with the clouds — ugly things…