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Parents of ADHD Children

Music Therapy

Hi there, I am new to this group and after reading the article on Music Therapy, I was wondering if any of you have tried music therapy for your ADHD children and is so, how did it work for them?  My daughter loves music and tries to find ways for us to allow her to put music on while she does her homework, she is 8, but I have always said no.  Perhaps some soothing music will help?


Music always sets a mood for us - so when rock music is on my son is more active (great for getting him out of bed in the morning!).  At night I play soothing music as I wash the dishes.  I don’t usually allow music to be played while he does his homework unless it’s classical.

We tried piano lessons but that totally frustrated him.  He wanted to play music but reading music and practicing was difficult for him.  I think each child is different so it’s a “trial and error” sort of thing.

Posted by staypositive on Oct 30, 2013 at 5:57pm

My son is doing music therapy, or listening therapy, right now. He has been using his CD for about 3 weeks now.  I do not know if it has made any difference yet, but there are certainly no negatives!  I will report back on it later, as they say it takes a few months to see a real difference.

Posted by JAMurphy on Oct 30, 2013 at 6:07pm

I was thinking too after reading the same article this morning exactly what is music therapy?  Like what would we do and when?  My son loves music and I’d love to strengthen that relationship.

Posted by ericabaylor on Oct 30, 2013 at 6:30pm

I used music therapy myself when in my thirties (before being diagnosed with ADD) so that I could block out annoying and distracting conversations in the office.

I used a portable CD player with ear buds but I could still hear the chatter in the background.
Then I put great big, yellow, industrial, ear muffs over the ear buds.  Excellent!

Now I could hear only my music, which was classical piano.  And for some reason, other people didn’t interrupt me.  I wonder why?
My work output more than doubled immediately.  I was working as a computer programmer.

The only problem was that I could not hear my phone ringing, so my colleagues would throw scrunched-up balls of paper at me.  So kind of them!

My favourite piano music was anything played by Vladimir Horowitz.
Flute music sometimes worked, but it could put me to sleep.
Singing was distracting because I would listen to the words.
Rock’n'roll or anything with a beat would be distracting as I subconsciously tried to work to the beat.

Posted by Bob from Cootamundra on Oct 30, 2013 at 6:33pm

You might try the music of Steven Halpern. He has a lot of music that is for healing and focus.  I use his music with my son while he is doing homework or when he gets frustrated.  Steven Halpern has a web site where you can buy his music.  Check it out.

Posted by americangothic95 on Oct 30, 2013 at 7:52pm

I am a professional board-certified Music Therapist.  I can attest to the positive effects of music with ADHD/ADD individuals.  I would highly recommend finding a music therapist in your area to meet with.  They can help you identify the specific types of music that work for your child and the appropriate times to use different styles for different purposes.  You can go to and find a list of board-certified music therapists in your area to contact.  This website can also give you resources to look at and research to read to further educate yourself on the positive clinical effects of music on the brain and behavior. I encourage you all to at least contact a music therapist and get some basic information.  You will see amazing results in most cases!

Posted by Jenmbirch on Oct 30, 2013 at 9:09pm

My son has used music as therapy for several years now.  He started playing piano 4 years ago, at age 7.  He still plays and he enjoys it.  When he gets a little too wound up, I ask him to go sit & practice his piano lesson.  After 10 or 15 minutes, he’s like a different person.  If he’s having trouble falling asleep at night, we have a CD especially created for nighttime, (not lullabys, he’s too old) and it helps him wind down.  He has even had music on while doing homework.  It can’t be the radio; too much talking. I have some classical CDs that he is allowed to use. For him, it seems if his environment is too quiet, he can’t focus.  So I guess it depends on the child, but for us it works.

Posted by Machelle B on Oct 30, 2013 at 9:34pm

I am not a parent with an ADD/ADHD child, but am an ADD/ADHD adult talking from experience.  Ever since I was a child, I always used music as therapy for two different reasons.  First off, I strongly believe in having your child listen to “soothing” music when trying to fall asleep.  The reason this works for some with ADD/ADHD is because it helps “shut off” your brain.  All you hear is the “soothing” music rather then all the other thoughts that tend to run around in your mind.  For me, I tend to think about whatever went on that day or “dream” up stories in my mind.  I also tend to think up things I could do later.  Meanwhile, an hour goes by before falling asleep.  I wouldn’t say I have insomnia because it’s not like I am starring at the wall all night long.  Eventually, I will fall asleep.  It just takes about 30 minutes to an hour.  Music helps me fall asleep a lot faster.  My brain just shuts off for the night!  Now, I also use music during the day to help with my focus and concentration.  I do take medication, methylphenidate ER 36 mg, once daily along with Vitamin B Complex, Zinc, and two fish oil pills (about 5-10 minutes after eating and taking the other pills so that it follows the methylphenidate ER rather then going at the same time) along with drinking Mio Energy Mix that I add to a G2 drink in the morning and one Magnesium at night.  I also drink a G2 with the Mio Energy mix in the afternoon to boost the effects of the stimulant.  The morning pills and G2 drinks seem to work fairly well for my focus and concentration while the magnesium gives me that calm feeling at night.  However, I still feel like the music helps shut my mind off completely when it comes to doing my chores around the house.  I love music and it’s always running in my head.  But, this is that extra boost to help with my distractions!  I can remember, when I was in the medical assistant program, I used to put “soothing” music on while I did my homework or had to study.  For some reason, it just helps me remember things better.  I guess it has to do with my mind being free and clear of “clutter” which helps everything else “stick” rather then the “clutter” pushing it right back out!  It is relaxing too which I think also helps with my short-term memory.  It definitely worked for me!

I also play the piano and find that it is calming.  I feel like I am in a “happy place” when I play!  Growing-up, I think it also helped me fight my fear of being up on stage.  I think I am the person that I am today because of all the piano recitals and competitions I have been to.  It helped my self-esteem and confidence level as well.  If it wasn’t for the competitions and winning a couple of them (2nd and 3rd place), I think my confidence level and self-esteem would have been pretty low.  It reminded me that I can be successfull at things if I put my heart and soul into it and that I did!  By the way, I will most likely be listening to music tonight to fall asleep and used this trick last night too.  I’ll probably be using this therapy for the rest of my life.  Truth be told, music is my life.  It is pretty high up there with God and my family (including my husband).

Posted by tinalunior83 on Nov 01, 2013 at 6:44am

Let your child listen to music while doing homework on a trial basis. As an adult with ADD, I find that I need lots of stimulation *in order to* concentrate. I mean, I generally do crossword puzzles while I’m watching TV.

I have a lot of trouble doing work without some other stimulation—music in the background, TV if I’m doing something that doesn’t require accuracy. And I’m a teacher, so I have homework, too.

Start with baroque music—Vivaldi, Handl, Telemann, Bach. If that goes well, let your child pick music. Keep track of how long something like math homework takes and check the problems for accuracy without music and then with music to see if it hurts or helps. If it doesn’t hurt, and your child likes it, I say use it.

Posted by todd0813 on Nov 02, 2013 at 3:35pm

Yes - use music.  I listened to music with headphones from Jr. High through college.  I would not have been able to concentrate had I not done that.  I also always studied in my room or facing the wall because the visual distraction is worse for me than the sounds. 

At work, I always have headphones or music playing low depending on if I have to answer the phone.  I don’t use classical because of the variations in volume.  I use new age or now on youtube they have a lot of music for concentration which I find excellent. 

At my first job, everyone had headphones because our desks had short dividers.  Many people put up an “office door is closed” (intern thought that was funny) sign so people knew they had the music on and could not hear them. 

On another topic, I could never go to sleep easily or get into restful sleep.  Therefore, I could not get up in the am or feel refreshed most of my life.  I remember having this problem in 2nd grade on.  My sisters could lay down and be asleep in 2 minutes.  A few years ago, I found a louder than usual fan that I used in my room at night.  Perfect solution.  I can fall asleep now if I have a constant sound of a fan.  I also started writing down everything I was thinking about that kept my mind active so that I was able to put it off until morning.  I bought a cd (before the internet) called Fan to take with me if I was somewhere without a fan.  Someone made a lot of money by recording a fan for an hour and selling it as a cd.  grin

Posted by Myle on Nov 02, 2013 at 8:38pm

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