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Currently, physicians use prescription medications to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children known to have low levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. ADHD children commonly have low adherence to medications used to treat their condition because there is no known dosage to produce the optimal attention span for motivation and focus. The safest method of dopamine production is through natural techniques, which could reduce medication intake and thus side effects. Listening to classical music dominant in consonant sounds has been shown to increase dopamine levels in children with ADHD through the dopamine “reward” pathway in the brain. Because all children exhibit some increase in dopamine while listening to consonance-dominated classical music, educators can introduce this music into the classroom to improve overall academic performance and help treat ADHD children simultaneously. Instructors could rotate music playlists weekly to avoid memorization and monotony. Music could be played in quiet environments when focus is key—not during playtimes or group work. Music treatment is a cost-effective method that—with extant classroom technology—can increase overall focus and work production, proving a worthwhile investment. Physicians should turn to incorporating music in ADHD treatments rather than solely prescribing medications in order to expand the possibilities of discovering more efficient treatment plans. Though consonance dominated classical music is known to increase dopamine, further research should be conducted in order to better define appropriate ADHD treatment plans in the classroom.

Publication Date


Subject Major(s)

Psychology, Public Health, Music

Current Academic Year


Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Mary Boyes


Virginia Commonwealth University. Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program

Is Part Of

VCU Undergraduate Research Posters


© The Author(s)

Using Classical Music to Increase Productivity in Elementary School Students with 
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder