Although the belief that music has the power to promote well-being has ancient origins, adding music therapy to the standard clinical repertoire is a relatively new practice. Nevertheless, the inclusion of music therapy curricula at educational institutions worldwide is evidence of its efficacy. Children with ADHD are among the many beneficiaries of music therapy — this article shared by Apprise Music takes a closer look.
Why Is Music Therapy Helpful for ADHD?
Music therapy helps children with ADHD by addressing deficiencies in multiple brain regions affecting motivation, spatial-temporal perception, impulse control, attentiveness, organization, and the ability to socialize. It also mitigates hyperactivity and sensory overload reactions.
For example, ADDitude notes that the limbic system’s hypothalamus secretes the neurotransmitter dopamine, which controls moods, impulses, focus, motivation, sleep, memory, and other functions. However, evidence indicates that excessive dopamine transporter activity may deprive the brain cells of dopamine and compromise these functions. Listening to or playing music may reverse this effect.
Music affects the brain’s reticular activating system, which filters sensory input and regulates sleep, arousal, and alertness. It also provides a predictable structure the brain craves for calming hyperactivity and resetting the circadian rhythms that play a vital role in helping children regulate their emotions.
What Is Receptive Music Therapy?
Receptive music therapy involves the therapist playing an instrument or recording while the child listens. Verywell Mind points out that many therapists prefer to use classical music to create soothing and distraction-free environments and allow children to perceive the music’s melody, rhythm, and tempo easily.
While following the music, children learn to tolerate change and express themselves in socially appropriate ways. For instance, therapists may encourage children to channel their excess energy or strong emotions by dancing and moving their bodies to the music they hear.
What Is Active Music Therapy?
The active approach encourages children to sing or learn to play a musical instrument. Numerous studies confirm that instrument-playing promotes better coordination, decision-making, memory, mood, and empathy among neurotypical children and adults.
These benefits can be life-changing for children with ADHD. For example, learning to play segments of musical pieces, then piecing them together helps children sustain their focus for more extended periods. As a result, they develop the self-confidence to complete once impossible tasks. As a bonus, this is a wonderful way to spend quality time with your kids. Also, playing music with a therapist promotes social cue recognition, healthy and appropriate interactions, and patience.
Helping Your Child Pursue Music
Your child may respond so well to music therapy that they may want to pursue playing music as an avocation. You can support their dreams by converting a room in your home to a practice space with some soundproofing materials. Such an upgrade could even improve your home’s value. Just be sure to document your work with receipts and before-and-after photos.
If you encounter sheet music in your day to day life that you want to share with your child, it can be difficult to know how best to do it. One easy tech-based solution is to take a picture of it with your smartphone. Then you can print it out at home so your child can play along with it.
How Can Children With ADHD Incorporate Music Into Their Daily Lives?
Children with ADHD can benefit from using music to improve various aspects of their daily lives. For example, those who learn to recognize an oncoming bout of anxiety can listen to or play soothing music that targets the amygdala of the brain’s limbic system, responsible for emotional regulation.
Also, listening to a favorite type of music while eating, bathing, or falling asleep can increase dopamine levels that promote a sense of well-being. Finally, playing background music while doing homework and singing on the way to and from school can improve the concentration necessary to complete assignments and optimize learning and classroom experiences.
How Can Parents Find a Music Therapist for Their Children?
Parents hoping to explore music therapy for their children can start by seeking referrals from their pediatricians. The American Music Therapy Association is also a valuable resource for finding qualified professionals, and the website for the certification board of music therapists offers lists of the therapists it vets.
Music is an excellent tool for relieving children’s ADHD symptoms and developing skills to help them realize their long-term goals and achieve healthy relationships. So, encourage them to discover the healing power of music, and help them appreciate the joys of learning an instrument. What’s more, you can use all of these opportunities to spend more time with your kids.
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