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The influence of music lessons on the socio-emotional wellbeing of children with cleft lip and/or palate

A Correction to this article was published on 24 March 2023

This article has been updated


Introduction There is a dearth of psychological interventions for patients with cleft lip and/or palate (CL/P).

Objective To evaluate the influence of music lessons on the socio-emotional wellbeing of children with CL/P.

Setting This study was conducted at Asociación San Lucas (Moyobamba, Peru), which has a multidisciplinary programme for children with CL/P. Recorder lessons are offered to all patients aged 6-8 years. From age eight, the children can switch to flute, clarinet, violin, viola or cello.

Materials and methods The Glasgow Benefit Inventory (GBI), a post-intervention questionnaire, was administered to all 26 children participating in the music programme.

Results Mean GBI scores per question ranged from 59.62 (SD: 31.68) to 92.31 (SD: 23.21), showing an overall positive effect of the music lessons on the patients' socio-emotional wellbeing. Playing a musical instrument gave the children satisfaction and self-confidence. The children lost much of their shame, became less shy, and participated more in social activities. In a non-significant numerical trend, boys, flute/clarinet players and orchestra players had higher mean GBI scores than, respectively, girls, string players and children who did not play in the orchestra.

Conclusions Quantitative and qualitative analysis indicated a positive influence of music lessons on the patients' socio-emotional wellbeing.

Key points

  • There is a dearth of psychological interventions for patients with cleft lip and/or palate.

  • Music lessons can enhance the self-confidence and social skills of children with cleft lip and/or palate.

  • Participation in an orchestra may have an extra beneficial effect.

  • Learning to play a wind instrument might have a larger effect than a string instrument.

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The authors are grateful to David Alexander for his support while preparing the manuscript and editing the English language usage.


This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or non-profit sectors. For this study, no funding was accepted.

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Authors and Affiliations



Laura H. van Essen and Fawn N. van der Weijden conceived the ideas; Edgar M. Hernández, Laura H. van Essen and Fawn N. van der Weijden collected the data; Fawn N. van der Weijden analysed the data and drafted the manuscript; and Laura H. van Essen and Percy E. Rossell Perry critically revised the manuscript. All authors gave final approval and agreed to be accountable for all aspects of work ensuring integrity and accuracy.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Fawn N. van der Weijden.

Ethics declarations

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest, besides being a member of Asociación San Lucas Peru (LHE) and San Lucas Foundation the Netherlands (LHE, FNW).

The questionnaire as presented in this paper was part of a regular internal evaluation (by Asociación San Lucas) of the music programme. Informed consent was provided by all children, parents or caretakers who were approached to complete the questionnaire. The parents were asked for their permission to use the answers for quality and research purposes. The questionnaire was analysed by the first author using a fully anonymised dataset. As the data were retrospectively procured, ethical approval was not applicable.

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van der Weijden, F., Hernández, E., Rossell Perry, P. et al. The influence of music lessons on the socio-emotional wellbeing of children with cleft lip and/or palate. Br Dent J (2023).

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