Suzuki training for child with ADD

Christine said: Oct 5, 2006
 3 posts

Does anyone have any experiences teaching a child (their own or a student) who has ADD? Although I’ve always suspected so, my child was just confimed for ADD. She’s in book2, but I’m wondering about the long term…will she just become more frustrated as the pieces become longer and more difficult? I know “every child can” learn, but is the process ever more damaging than beneficial to self esteem?

Jennifer Visick said: Oct 6, 2006
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki Early Childhood Education, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
1069 posts

I have (and have had) several students diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, (and several whom I thought might have ADD, but were either not diagnosed, or whose parents didn’t give me the information).

Ultimately, no one can tell you how many different kinds of study will be too much for your child. However, my experience is that as a child gets older, they are able to pay more attention to the music, and they begin to enjoy it more (it becomes less of a “chore”)—(and this is especially true if the teacher is on board with the parent about how to treat the child at lessons, what to expect in terms of practicing, etc.)

Wow. I just read the paragraph and I could have written it about ANY child, not merely about those with ADD.

Music can only be good for a person; (if it’s not “force-fed”); but there are cases where too many good things are given to children who can’t handle them all. My advice is—in short—keep the music lessons if you can. Stick it out. Everyone needs a venue to express themselves artistically, and music is quite central in that area.

Does your child show more interest in some other type of art or performing art than in music?

I don’t think music lessons will necessarily be the conduit by which your child loses self-esteem; but they might be the outlet in which an existing problem shows itself (again, this all depends on the teaching and practicing environment, though). Also, because of the difficulty involved in practice, in muscle control, and in concentration, music might be the opportunity for your child to gain self-esteem.

Taking Dr. Suzuki’s ideas about review, listening, and being surrounded by a musical environment (including attending concerts) seriously will help “raise ability” in an ADD child just like it will in other children of varying abilities.

said: Oct 6, 2006
 21 posts

My daughters don’t have ADD, but the younger one is a typical kindergarten student. Her attention span has really increased since starting music lessons. I’ve heard other anecdotal evidence about Suzuki being very helpful for ADD students.

It seems to me, anything we practice, including the focus required for music lessons, will lead to improvement in the practiced skill.

Lynn said: Oct 6, 2006
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
173 posts

I have an 8yo student who was recently diagnosed with ADD. I’m sure his parents suspected long before they had him tested, and his mother wisely waited to start him until he was older and asking for it. (Not trying to imply anyting; just that this descision was definately the right one for this child! I’d already been teaching the older sib for several years, so Mom know what would be involved!) Lessons are still only 15 minutes long, and it has just been fascinating watching the evolution in mental focus, body awareness, and physical and mental organization, etc. Not only that, the change in his ability to conform to accepted group class conduct is exciting. This is the second student I have worked with with confirmed ADD, and in both cases it has been positive and beneficial. As RaineJen accurately observed, fundamentally, what these kids need is really no different from what evey other child needs. What always varies from child to child, student to student is what we have to do as teachers and parents to meet those needs. If your studio environment is positive and supportive of both you and your daughter, and has been a “good place to be”, I can see no reason why you shouldn’t expect that to continue.

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