How Music Can Help Children with ADHD

I am excited to present this guest post by Charles Carpenter about utilizing music for children with ADHD. As a speech language pathologist, I have seen first hand the benefits of music therapy and how it can change lives. To learn more about music therapy and to learn about how it can benefit many individuals with varying disabilities, click here.

Thank you Charles for your informative post and your informative tips and insight!

How Music Can Help Kids With ADHD

Parents of ADHD kids have access to many therapeutic tools which can help manage their child’s symptoms. Some of these, such as medication, counseling, and environmental changes, are standard forms of treatment. Less known, however, is the role that learning and practicing music can play in ADHD therapy, as noted by Psychology Today. Let’s look at how this works.

Tapping Into the Power of Neuroplasticity

Year ago, researchers believed that mental functions corresponded to specific regions of the brain so that damage to one area would forever eliminate the person’s ability to perform certain actions. This theory is now discounted, thanks to the overwhelming evidence that the mind can literally rewire itself. Doctors refer to this astounding ability as neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity’s enormous potential was revealed in the high-profile case of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who suffered a gunshot wound to the left side of her brain in 2011, becoming unable to speak as a result. During her recovery, therapists used music to restore her ability to talk. Intensive intervention with musical therapy taught her brain to relearn the missing verbal skills by forging brand-new neural connections. This dramatic result underscores the power of music, not only to inspire our hearts, but to help our minds.

A Boon for Kids with ADHD

A 2003 study showed a direct correlation between music therapy and positive benefits for kids with ADHD, according to Health Central. Similar findings from New Zealand studies back up these results. Other research reveals that studying and practicing music helps young learners to develop the so-called “executive functions” that underlie future academic performance. This mounting evidence from multiple streams of research reveal that music education and therapy can play a significant role in enabling ADHD sufferers to maximize their innate abilities and secure for themselves a brighter future.

How to Use Music as a Therapeutic Tool

  • Encourage your child to not only listen to music but to interact with it, either by learning to write music, move in step with the tune, or play an instrument (more on this below).
  • While any type of music offers benefits, many authorities believe that classical music is of particular use, due to its calming and focusing effects on the mind.

Choosing an Instrument for Your Child

While instrument choice depends on many factors, there are sound reasons for parents to consider brass instruments like the trumpet for their kids. These include:

  • Overall coordination: Brass players must learn to modulate their breath while manipulating their fingers, boosting not only dexterity but timing as well.
  • Core muscle conditioning: The actions involved in playing brass instruments like the trumpet help to strengthen muscles in the abdomen.
  • Individuality: Brass instruments, unlike more common choices like the guitar and drums, help children to stand apart in the musical world, fostering a sense of individualism that can strengthen their willpower and independence.

Getting the most benefits from musical training means choosing a quality instrument that will give the player many years of value. Here are some tips on buying a trumpet:

  • Buy a plastic instrument. Yes, we know this sounds wonky. But manufacturers have developed a number of excellent plastic trumpets that rival their brass cousins in terms of music quality while saving the purchaser big bucks.
  • Start your child out by learning the cornet. This is a sort of shortened trumpet that’s easier for young hands to handle. Playing the cornet is excellent preparation for moving on to a full-sized trumpet.
  • Consider buying your child a backpack specially made for his or her instrument. Known as a “gig bag,” these products make carrying the instrument easier than lugging around a heavy hard-shell case.
  • Stick with new products unless you or a trusted friend know how to assess pre-owned instruments.

For more information, check out this trumpet buying guide to help you in your search.

The Final Note

Music therapy and education can open up doors for kids with ADHD that might otherwise stay closed. So talk to your child’s teacher and/or therapist about the idea, then prepare to help him or her discover the wonders of music. Who knows? It may just change your child’s entire world for the better.

About Charles

 Charles created He believes in the power of music and sound as a healing tool.

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