The Benefits of Music Therapy
Music can work wonders on the ADHD brain, improving everything from language development toimpulse control. The following pieces of classical music were scientifically tested and found to help children concentrate and focus better. Think of these songs as background music — it doesn’t need to be loud for the benefits to shine through!
Ludwig van Beethoven: ‘Emperor Concerto for Piano, No. 5’
Listening to this complex and beautiful Beethoven concerto, you’ll understand why classical music is often compared to intricate Gothic architecture. The patterns, details, and mathematical structure of pieces like Beethoven’s build all portions of your child’s brain simultaneously — advancing speech and language skills, motor tracking, and more.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: ‘Symphony No. 40 in G Minor’
Mozart’s music is often used in the “Tomatis Method” of music therapy. It uses filtered versions of Mozart pieces — like this classical symphony — to stimulate the inner ear. By retraining the muscles in the ear, it strengthens auditory and motor functions, which can be helpful for children with learning issues, auditory problems, or even autism.
Johann Sebastian Bach: ‘Brandenburg Concertos’
Listening to these famous concertos by Bach has been shown to change the electromagnetic frequencies of the brain to 7.5 cycles per second, which is referred to as the “Alpha Mode,” or the Schumann Resonance. When your child’s brain is in “Alpha Mode,” he’llfocus, concentrate, and learn better.
George Frideric Handel: ‘Water Music’
Handel’s music is also great for getting brains into Alpha Mode, and this collection is a fun place to start. Since it takes about 20 minutes for the brain to change to this mode, this hour-long collection should be started before your childstarts her homework — you won’t have to change the music once she settles in!
Johannes Brahms: ‘Concerto for Violin, D Major’
Anyone who has heard this jaunty number by Brahms knows that it’s anything but calm — in fact, it’s quite lively! When your child’s brain goes into Alpha Mode, his body may appear relaxed, but his mind is still alert and picking up every note. This allows him to focus his energy effectively and get some of his best ideas — without getting distracted by his fidgeting body.
Antonio Vivaldi: ‘The Four Seasons’
This set of violin concertos by Vivaldi was used extensively by Dr. Donald Shetler, who was the first person to look at how listening to music in utero affected a baby’s speech and language development. He found that children who listened to classical music in the womb — for just 20 minutes a day — had stronger memories, more developed speech patterns, and greater clarity.
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: ‘Concerto for Piano No. 1’
Tchaikovsky’s 1879 piece is one of the best known of all piano concertos. Playing the piano — or any instrument, really — is a vital part of music therapy for children. Learning an instrument improves concentration, memory, and spatial reasoning skills — particularly for children with ADHD or LD. In these kids, it’s also been shown to improve impulse control, reading comprehension, and working memory.
Johann Pachelbel: ‘Canon in D’
If your child struggles to get to sleep every night, classical music can help with that, too. Check out this classic Pachelbel tune — it’s very meditative, and can help soothe overactive minds after a long day. If your child still has trouble, try adding in some ocean sounds — the repetitive sound of the waves, combined with the music, can work wonders.