Could music help treat children with attention disorders?

New study reveals potential benefits of music on childrens' ability to focus

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A new study has found that music could be used to treat attention deficit disorders, reports The BBC.

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Researchers in San Diego, California, undertook a year-long- study to explore the theory that learning to play musical instruments can help us focus attention and improve our ability to interact with the world around us.

The study looked at eighty-five children who were introduced to Gamelan, a percussion style of ensemble music from Indonesia. Sensors attached to the instruments were used to measure the children’s ability to hit the beat precisely. This was then compared to the results of behavioural and cognitive tests, and assessments by teachers and parents.

“So far, we’ve found a correlation between their ability to synchronise and their performance on cognitive tests,” says Alexander Khalil, head of the research project.

“What this could mean, is that learning to time in a group setting with other people musically, could improve your ability to focus attention,” he said.

“It is possible that music practice could become a non-pharmacological intervention for problems such as ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder). We haven’t tested it yet but it’s a possibility – and an exciting possibility,” he said.

“The ability to keep time, to synchromise with others underlies all face to face communication,” he explains. “By learning music, one of the things you learn is rhythm and how to be aware of the temporal dynamic of the world around you and how to keep your attention focused on all of these things while you do what you do.”

Fascinating stuff! Does your little one enjoy making music?

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