Friday, July 11, 2014

The benefits of learning to play a guitar on the ADHD mind

If you are dealing with ADHD or are the parent of an ADHD child you maybe wondering if learning to play the guitar is something you want to take on. I won't sugar coat it, we have a unique set of challenges when it comes to learning to play music. But if you can learn to push through and work around those problems it can give you so much more.

It increases your mental capacity- Studies show that playing an instrument activates more parts of our brain than almost any other activity. The more you do it, the more you can handle.

It's like learning another language- Seriously? Yep, all of the cognitive benefits of learning another language like increased math skills and problem solving are shown in students that learn music.

It teaches you fractions- I mentioned math skills above, do you hate fractions? Music starts with easy stuff like 4/4 time and then gets more complicated. Ok so it won't teach you complex algebra type fractions but you or your child will have a better understanding of them.

It teaches you to listen to others- Music is a social medium. At it's best your part becomes subconscious as you listen and react to the other people in the band.

It teaches you to be a team player- When the band is nailing it, the timing is perfect and everyone hit's their ques it's an amazing feeling. When they aren't, it's just awful.

It teaches you how to persevere- As with most things you have to work at it to get good at it. And as with somethings you have to practice all the time. If you want to get into sweep picking arpeggios you have to constantly work at them or you won't be able to do it.

It Improves reading comprehension- Ok hold up, you don't have to learn to read music to play guitar. I've known a few guys that can sight read while playing but not many. But I learned to play the trombone before the guitar, you have to read while listening to others while playing your instrument. That's a learned skill that is useful for a lot of things.

It opens you to other forms of music and culture- When I started to play guitar I wanted to play Rock-N-Roll! Cut to a year later and I'm taking classical and folk lessons from a 70 year old grandmother. Music leads you to other things. I've dabbled in Jazz and Country and of course Blues. I've also sat down and read and listened to stories of musicians from other places and other times. It's amazing and you'll see the work differently because of it, that's a good thing.

It teaches you discipline- The say if you want something bad enough you'll make it happen. In the guitar world that means you'll practice. If you don't, you don't get better. Period.

It increases hand and eye coordination- This one is obvious but for a young teen who might be feeling a bit clumsy it really does help. Plus there is a confidence boost of being able to stand there strap on a guitar and pull of a song (even simple ones).

It gives you a sense of achievement- What I said in that last one also applies here, sometimes it's getting a passage down that you've been working on. Other times it's nailing the whole song with a band. And it feels amazing.

It is it's own form of meditation- Whenever you see something about meditation being good for you think about this. An ADHD person can't clear his brain. It just doesn't happen, or at least I haven't been able to do it. But I can run scales or do picking exercises and the whole world just disappears. It's good for you.

Learning to play an instrument like the guitar is challenging and fun. It's one of the few things in this life that has given me more than I've put in it. Learning to play when dealing with ADHD is even more challenging but it CAN be done. Click the Random ADHD tag under Post on Topics to see other post on ADHD


  1. Guitar learning is a step by step procedure. No one can learn it by night. It needs good lessons with patience. Guitar Lessons

  2. I'm 30 and just found out I have ADHD. I don't know a single entire song but I know the scales, all the chords, I can jam for hours and play with other people. It's been the only real therapy in my life. Rock on.

  3. At 59 being diagnosed with ADHD learning Difficulties I was good at music at school & that was all, I trained as a accordion repairer with hohner, then went on to be roadie for some famous names, swopping from instrument to instrument never getting to learn one properly, I was told by a named guitarist, I should be great at playing as I have so many friends in the business
    My only claim to fame is I did get a Bass lesson at 11.30 at night in a Pub from Nick Simper (Deep Purple). it does take patience & being taught the way you need to learn.

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  5. Loved your article. My daughter wants to learn playing guitar. I was just searching for the benefits of playing guitar. I am glad that I have found your article. Now I understood that I should allow her to play guitar. The great part is it will teach her discipline. I have budget problem, I can’t purchase a brand new guitar now. So I can arrange a second hand Gibson guitar from my friend. If needed I will buy some ( for Gibson guitar. Well is Gibson guitar suitable for beginners?