Piano and Music Therapy for the Gifted Child:
ADD, ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome, Autism
and High IQ Children
|Student having fun Christmas time
|Having fun Christmas Time in Studio
|Student enjoying antlers at lesson
|Christmas time lesson main studio
of the Academy’s students are Gifted and Talented (attend Pineview School for the Gifted, IB and AP). This is NOT a
requirement for admission. Approximately half of the students have learning disabilities including ADD, ADHD which is typical
for high intellect individuals and 15 percent have been diagnosed with Autism, and Asperger’s Syndrome. Piano has been
credited with increasing the individual IQ by up to 10 points. In addition, piano is one of the top qualities colleges look
at in student admission based on: discipline, perseverence, analytical ability and patterns, and creativity.
Piano and Music Therapy is perhaps the best forms of assistance for gifted children with autism, ADD, ADHD, and Asperger’s
Syndrome. Additionally, gifted and talented, high intellect children, also benefit significantly.
Piano and Music Therapy assists children with social skills, language comprehension, memorization,
organization, self- confidence, and most importantly, for school – focus.
Autism and piano
may not seem be a fit, however, so many children with autism tend to have amazing musical abilities and piano talent. The
same hold true for children with ADD, ADHD, Asperger’s, and dyslexia. There is in fact a solid connection between these
gifts and piano.
Gifted, autistic, ADD, ADHD, and Asperger’s children will find the piano is the best outlet
for their expression. These children tend to adore both the sound and the musical theory behind the piano. These children
tend to be fascinated at the idea of numbers on the piano keys, as well as the understanding that music theory and the piano
are built on patterns. Theses gifted children love finding and comprehending the patterns. This is fundamentally due to the
fact that these children live for patterns, as this is the one thing a child can be certain of, in their perhaps uncertain
The study of chords, scales, and technical drills are all comprised of patterns, and make up the fabric of music.
Piano is immensely
beneficial in supporting and enhancing children’s focus. Problems in the classroom and socially tend to develop so often
due to issues with a lack of focus. This can also become a source of teasing of peers, and unacceptable behavior in the classroom,
resulting in teacher’s “pegging” the child as an underachiever, which then becomes a self- fulfilling prophesy.
These children are not guilty of being incapable of concentrating. Instead, these kids simply cannot find a way to get interested
in their school work or activities unless the teacher makes extreme attempts to reach them on their own level. And based on
classroom sizes, most teachers do not have the time to reach out to those children who do not “fit “the mold.
These children, therefore, often get “lost”, and fall behind in the classroom, which later impacts their self-confidence,
and ultimately, their adult lives and careers.
While it is up to the teacher to bring the learning to these kids, despite the fact that most teachers
do not have the time to devote to these student, the other issue is, these children will not step up and ask the teacher for
instruction unless they feel secure. And children with these gifts do not feel secure. This is perhaps due to the fact that
they feel insecure from all the other things that are more difficult for them, from reading to following directions.
What is required
is a teacher unconventional and patient enough to find ways to deal with the tremendous energy of ADHD children, and then
find a useful channel for it.
Our music academy has developed games, and systems in both fun group and individual sessions which
have proven results in assisting gifted children in their development – socially, and educationally in a classroom setting.
According to the Foundation for Universal Music Literacy Research Materials.. there are many beneficial
attributes children acquire from learning to play including raising a child's IQ and assisting with certain learning disabilities
such as autism; the following are five of the most prevalent:
1. Piano Lessons Help Children in
The most talked about benefit children receive from piano lessons is that
it also helps with their school lessons. Numerous studies available show children who play an instrument, score higher on
both standard and spatial cognitive development tests alike. There are also findings that show kids who play piano in particular,
scored higher in math, especially on problems dealing with ratios and fractions. In one particular study conducted by Dr. Frances Rauscher (a psychologist at the
University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh) and Gordon Shaw (a physicist at of the University of California at Irvine) tested preschoolers who received piano instruction. They found that
preschoolers who received piano lessons scored 34% higher than their nonmusical counterparts in tests measuring spatial-temporal
reasoning, which is the brain function used to understand math, science and engineering.
2. Piano Lessons Raise Self Esteem
Learning to play the
piano is hard work and takes dedication. Not only does each song mastered increase a child's self-esteem, but showcasing their
newly learned talents at piano recitals can boost their self esteem as much as winning a game in a sports competition. Lessons also help kids to learn how to keep a positive
outlook when facing difficult tasks. The understanding that mastering a new skill is a process that requires patience helps
children to approach tasks with confidence, and not become discouraged or frustrated.
3. Piano Lessons
Increased eye-hand coordination is almost a given for children that learn
to play the piano, but there is more than that. Kids who play the piano have improved fine motor skills and, unlike other
instruments, the piano requires both hands to work independently of each other, one moving fast while the other may be moving
at a slower rate. All of these things help to increase a child's overall dexterity and complex thought processes.
4. Piano Lessons Help Children to
Reading a piece of music takes a great deal of focus, causing a child
to interpret a note and a rhythm, translate it into hand movements on the keyboard and then immediately go on to the next
one. Reading and playing music allows them to think both critically and creatively, which is a skill that will assist them
in anything they choose to undertake in the future.
5. Piano Lessons Help Children to be Well-Rounded
of whether a child plays the piano for a short time or for a lifetime, the long-term affects of their piano pursuance are
many. Through playing the piano, children are exposed to classical music that they may otherwise have never heard. Kids may
develop an appreciation for composers like Bach or Mozart that stay with them for life. In addition, the skills and knowledge
they learn in piano may help them easily pick up another musical instrument later.
How Music Can Dramatically Effect Your Child's Development and Life-Time Success. 18 Oct. 2005
makes the grade. . .
For years elementary teachers have decried the music pullout
program (students are taken out of class to receive music instruction once or twice a week) because of "lost instruction"
time. But according to many studies these fears are unfounded.
Researchers in Hamilton, Ohio, documented that students participating in a string pullout program scored higher on the reading, mathematics and citizenship
portions of the Ohio Proficiency Test (OPT), than their non-music peers.
This study paired string and non-music students based on their verbal Cognitive
Abilities Test (COGAT). Four groups of string students were released two times a week for instruction. Two of those four groups
scored significantly higher on the reading and mathematics portion of the OPT than their non-music peers. Additionally, 68%
of string students scored at grade level or higher on all four sections of the test compared to 58% of the non-music students.
For more information (Michael D. Wallick, Ohio City Schools)
In high school, the results are also convincing. Every year juniors and seniors
take the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT) for college admissions . These scores reflect several years of education and are
intended to judge a persons over-all education.
The College Board, Profile of College- Bound Seniors National Report for 2001.
Music and Achievement by George "jorge"
Over the past several years, research has finally begun shedding light on the critical nature of arts education
in human development. "In a study of the ability of fourteen year-old science students in seventeen countries, the top
three countries were Hungary,
and Japan. All three include
music throughout the curriculum from kindergarten through high school" (Dickinson, 1993, p. 1). Royer (1991) lists several correlations between music education and academic achievements. He found that:
Music students tend to have higher grade
point averages than non-music students;
aids in the development of academic achievement skills;
Learning to play a musical instrument advances the physical, mental, emotional, and social development
Learning music improved
- including music - was a factor in raising the I.Q. of second grade students;
Studying music improved reading for meaning;
Musical activities aid in the development of the intellect;
Instrumental music students learned to write faster
that have arts programs experienced fewer and less severe discipline problems; and,
Music majors (college) account for the majority of
those admitted to medical school. (p. 20)