Image and text by Rick McVicar
“Traditional learning programs helped my son, who has ADHD… with concentration and focus – but nothing helped him as much as music.”
Sharlene Habermeyer writes about the music program she developed for her son, Brandon, in “How Music Unlocked My Son’s ADHD Brain.” Habermeyer’s story was published on Sept. 13, 2021 by Attitude Mag.
After suffering a traumatic birth in 1982, Brandon was left with brain damage. At the age of 6, he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. His mother researched the condition and found that auditory processing was the key problem for Brandon. While Brandon could hear, his brain could not interpret sounds. That had implications for concentration and learning language skills.
Habermeyer’s research led her to believe that music strengthens the areas of the brain impacted by ADHD. Learning a musical instrument enhances the effect. Playing an instrument improves: “attention, concentration, impulse control, social functioning, self esteem, self-expression, motivation and memory,” Habermeyer writes.
The research seemed to confirm what Habermeyer already knew. She had her son listening to classical music since the day he was born. At age 3, Brandon was placed in group music classes and at age 5, he began learning the piano from his mother.
Habermeyer directed musical activities to help Brandon with schoolwork. She created songs based on his homework and clapped rhythm for learning arithmetic. Jingles were sung for spelling lessons.
The creative approach worked well enough for Brandon to attend college and earn straight A’s in film and philosophy. He now works in the film industry, Habermeyer states.
Music that is designed for people with ADHD can be found on YouTube, where several music videos have been posted by Greenred Productions. The videos feature calm, relaxing music with long sustained notes. Comments following the videos display a thriving ADHD community.
Meanwhile, an article on healthline.com sorts out the type of music that is either beneficial or harmful for people with ADHD. Besides music, white noise, which is steady background noise like a fan, is helpful as well.
For classical music, Bach, Vivaldi, Handel and Mozart are helpful. Other than classical music, instrumental music with clear rhythms that are not too loud is generally recommended. The healthline.com article, “Trouble Focusing with ADHD? Try Listening to Music,” suggests staying away from loud songs with lyrics.