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Music Therapy: 3 Benefits for ADHD

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Music Therapy: 3 Benefits for ADHD
“Music therapy” involves the wide range of benefits that occur when people listen to music. “There are few things that stimulate the brain the way music does,” says one otolaryngologist (an ear, nose and throat doctor). And music has many benefits for individuals with ADHD, too. Music therapy can enhance concentration, improve mood and boost brainpower. And that’s just the beginning!
As you may know, the benefits of listening to classical music are well-documented. In trials, songs like Handel’s “Water Music” and Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” have shown remarkable results. Greater clarity, stronger memories and more developed speech patterns are just a few significant effects of listening to classical music.
But music doesn’t need to be in the classical genre to benefit its listener. Music, in general, stimulates the mind, eases the senses and sparks creativity and concentration. For children with ADHD, listening for even a few minutes a day can yield impressive results.

Music Offers Structure

ADHD brains can have difficulty with regulation. A solid structure is a welcome companion for the unregulated ADHD mind. That’s why music fits so beautifully.
If you think about it, music is all about rhythm, measures and beats. It’s organized and structured. This organizational structure and rhythm soothe and ease the ADHD mind.
Also worth noting, a song has an anticipated start, middle and finish. Your child might take great comfort in the predictability of their favorite music. Becoming familiar with songs helps them anticipate what’s coming next.   

Music Boosts Mood

We’ve all been there! A song comes on the radio or our playlist and we’re transported to another place. Our cares melt away, the beat makes us get up and move, and we have a whole new outlook on life just four minutes later.  
As it turns out, there’s a scientific explanation for all this. When we listen to music we love, we experience increased dopamine levels. And dopamine is a neurotransmitter that encourages feelings of motivation, satisfaction and pleasure.  
For children with ADHD, listening to their favorite tunes is a safe, healthy, positive way for them to experience a quick mood boost that can take a bad day in a brand new direction.        

Music Can Enhance Brain Power

You’re probably noticing a theme by now: music is good for the brain! Scientific studies have shown that music can affect brain waves, positively impact memory recall, and block unwanted disruptions. This last benefit is especially great for kids with ADHD because it replaces unpredictable auditory input with something they know and love.  
To maximize brain benefits:                
  • Try both high and low energy music–experimentation is key
  • Consider a combination of familiar songs and new songs
  • Pick certain pieces to go along with specific tasks for even more structure
  • Try to pick music appropriate for the mood–higher energy in the morning, softer and more soothing in the evening or during quiet times
Helping your child create a playlist is fun and rewarding! They will have a great time picking songs, seeing how they feel while (and after) listening, and adding new songs along the way. Enjoying music and using it as a brain-boosting tool is a habit your child may keep for the rest of their lives.


If your child has ADHD, you know that they have unique needs, talents and abilities. Their mind functions fascinatingly and responds beautifully to the therapeutic properties of music. Consider keeping a journal that marks progress as you experiment with music therapy.  
You can make a note of your child’s favorite songs, preferred genres, lyrical content that is beneficial, and artists that speak to them in a special way. Don’t forget to talk to your child about the music YOU love and why–it’s a great bonding exercise!
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