Helping ADHD students through music learning

Music processing uses something called top-down and bottom-up processing. Think about when we listen to music, we can appreciate the whole sound at the same time as identifying individual parts of the sound. With ADHD this processing, which requires synchronised timing inside our brains, is disrupted and leads to problems with attention and inhibition.

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Here is a brilliant summary of the research into the typical neural development of a person with ADHD and the corresponding neural developments that have been found in musicians. This research connects the areas in ADHD conditions where there are deficiencies (such as cognitive function) and difficulties (such as sensorimotor timing) with ways that music training enhances these areas. This might be why interventions that use musical rhythm have been found to help children with ADHD 🧠🎶🥁

This summary could be very helpful for understanding the learning challenges faced by ADHD students in your music ensemble or classroom but also give you ideas on specific activities for focus or to help improve their skills.

Everyday human behavior relies upon extraordinary feats of coordination within the brain.

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