The Benefits of Music Therapy for Kids with ADHD

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ADHD kids need structure. Music and rhythm could help.By Charles Carpenter

ADHD kids need structure. Music and rhythm could help.

While it is an alternative treatment method, music therapy offers many benefits for children with ADHD. Even if your child is not musically inclined, they can still incorporate stimulatory sound into their lives to help them focus more on everyday tasks. Here’s why music therapy may be able to help your child, and how they can use it to live a successful, happy life.

Music, for so many people, affords the opportunity to express themselves and communicate with others. Thus, it comes as no surprise that it can also help build social skills and even reduce anxiety. Studying music theory, for example, can teach listening skills, patience and the ability to pick up on cues.

Not only does music get one’s brain moving, but it also helps with physical coordination as well. Everyday Health notes that “Several small studies have found that rhythmic exercises improved attention, motor control, and academic skills in children with ADHD.”  For many kids with ADHD, there is simply too much going on at once that they can’t tune out. However, a little background music may be able to help drown out everything else and allowing them to concentrate. According to ADDitude Magazine, “Music is rhythm, rhythm is structure, and structure is soothing to an ADHD brain struggling to regulate itself to stay on a linear path.”    Simply tapping along can be calming to the mind.

You’ll find music can easily be incorporated everyday life. Together you and your child should make playlists tailored to specific moods and time periods within the day. More upbeat and inspiring tunes may help during a morning, commute or exercise, while softer sounds could be enjoyed before bedtime and during seemingly mundane activities like homework or chores. Consider even asking their teacher if he or she will allow your child to wear headphones during certain times of the school day so they can sing or tap along as they please. It could result in them being more productive at school.

Give your child the opportunity to collect music through multiple platforms such as digital, CDs, or vinyl records. Push them to attend concerts, dance or even perform. Because music exercises the brain just like a muscle, learning how to develop an interest in different genres can help them improve at school.

If your child expresses an interest in learning how to play an instrument, these tips may help. When it comes to buying instruments, there may be used ones available that are easier on the budget. If their school has a band program, you can ask if they can purchase or rent instruments. Also, look within your community for private lessons or ask the school’s band director for recommendations so they can further cultivate their skill set. There is a multitude of online videos, lessons, and workbooks they can utilize that will help them learn to play as well.

It’s important that your child picks the right instrument for them so they stick with it out of passion, rather than seeing it as a chore they have to complete. Before you make a decision, consider the quality of the instrument, your child’s playing style, budget, and intended use.

If they’re quieter and prefer alone time, perhaps select a gentler instrument that allows them to practice or perform by themselves like the clarinet or saxophone.

Percussion and more complicated instruments such as a trumpet are best utilized in an orchestra or band-like atmosphere. This could be a way they bond with others and challenge themselves to contribute in a group setting. Either way, they should set aside a small amount of time each day to practice in order to fully reap the benefits of playing and keep a solid routine.

Although it is commonly thought that classical music is most beneficial in terms of relaxation and IQ, there isn’t a specific type of music that works best therapeutically. Instead, let your child’s interest lead the way and encourage them to pursue music as a method of self-care.


About the author: Charles Carpenter is the father of a son with ADHD. He created Healing Sounds because he believes in the healing therapeutic power of music, and wants to spread the word.



(Photo courtesy of debspoon/ Modified on Canva