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Old 08-25-2009, 01:52 PM
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220volt 220volt is offline
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Default ADHD/ADD and guitar playing

I have a friend that loves guitar and loves playing, but he has a trouble advancing his skills. He took some lessons, and he got little better but not much.
He is very frustrated, and is asking me for advices all the time. I gladly give him advices and show him some stuff as best I could, but most of the time he doesn't heed them properly. But then I noticed very strange thing. He starts working on a song but never finishes it. And that isn't just with the guitar. It was with pretty much with everything he does: movies, listening songs, speaking to you etc...
It looks like he cannot concentrate and finish one thing before moving on to the next. I am suspecting he has some form of ADHD or ADD.

I noticed in my own playing, that I have improved significantly once I started finishing songs I'm working on before moving on to the next one.

I think in day and age of Facebook, Twitter and iPhone we all suffer some form of environmental form of ADD that effects our guitar playing. I think we need to train/force our brain to concentrate on one thing before moving on to the next. It helped me tremendously. Even if I start reading crappy book, I will force myself to finish it.
This article I read today actually confirms that multitaskers underperformed singletaskers in pretty much all given tasks.
http://news.stanford.edu/news/2009/a...dy-082409.html

I would be very interested to hear if someone has similar experiences.

(please move it to the correct forum if this doesn't belong here)
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Old 08-25-2009, 02:15 PM
EucalyptusMint EucalyptusMint is offline
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I have a similar problem haha
I don't finish learning pieces very often... there's so much stuff that I want to play that it's hard to force myself to settle down and finish each piece one at a time. Still trying to change my habit!
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Old 08-25-2009, 02:27 PM
lofapco lofapco is offline
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I think I agree but can't remember what we were talking about......
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Old 08-25-2009, 02:33 PM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 220volt View Post
I have a friend that loves guitar and loves playing, but he has a trouble advancing his skills. He took some lessons, and he got little better but not much.
He is very frustrated, and is asking me for advices all the time. I gladly give him advices and show him some stuff as best I could, but most of the time he doesn't heed them properly. But then I noticed very strange thing. He starts working on a song but never finishes it. And that isn't just with the guitar. It was with pretty much with everything he does: movies, listening songs, speaking to you etc...
It looks like he cannot concentrate and finish one thing before moving on to the next. I am suspecting he has some form of ADHD or ADD.

I noticed in my own playing, that I have improved significantly once I started finishing songs I'm working on before moving on to the next one.

I think in day and age of Facebook, Twitter and iPhone we all suffer some form of environmental form of ADD that effects our guitar playing. I think we need to train/force our brain to concentrate on one thing before moving on to the next. It helped me tremendously. Even if I start reading crappy book, I will force myself to finish it.
This article I read today actually confirms that multitaskers underperformed singletaskers in pretty much all given tasks.
http://news.stanford.edu/news/2009/a...dy-082409.html

I would be very interested to hear if someone has similar experiences.

(please move it to the correct forum if this doesn't belong here)
Volt,
I was diagnosed ADD about 12 years ago and Ritalin has helped me immeasureably. I am also dyslexic, by the way.

Guitar has always been easy for me to concentrate, or hyperfocus on. This is the case with many who are actually ADD or ADHD.

It sounds more like a lack of real interest in your friend's situation...........I guess if the guitar would text him back, or play itself, he might find it more satisfying.......

Unlike texting, twitter, etc, guitar actually requires work to make it really pay off.

Regards,
Howard
http://www.howardemerson.com/
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Old 08-25-2009, 02:37 PM
dthumb dthumb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard Emerson View Post
Volt,
I was diagnosed ADD about 12 years ago and Ritalin has helped me immeasureably. I am also dyslexic, by the way.

Guitar has always been easy for me to concentrate, or hyperfocus on. This is the case with many who are actually ADD or ADHD.

It sounds more like a lack of real interest in your friend's situation...........I guess if the guitar would text him back, or play itself, he might find it more satisfying.......

Unlike texting, twitter, etc, guitar actually requires work to make it really pay off.

Regards,
Howard
http://www.howardemerson.com/
ditto.....

It manifests in a variety of ways and in different realms for everyone. Makes for outstanding improvisational musicians but, can also make for very real problems with memory.

Even this has advantages....its always "new".
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Old 08-25-2009, 02:44 PM
shawlie shawlie is offline
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I obviously don't know anything about your friend or those two conditions you mention (though I know a couple of people with adhd, or at least that what they've been told). Apart from that, it might be possible that age is a factor, too. I started playing in my teens, and up to around 30 I never really had the patience or drive to actually ever learn a real song from tab. It's hard work and it takes patience that I didn't have at that age. Playing guitar's tricky, and it's easy to give up (whether you have a condition like that or not, of course...).

But on the subject of "multi-tasking" - I've learned to realize that you should give the task at hand all of your attention and respect. Do only one thing at a time and do it with love. Very difficult to do, but it helps to calm a person down.
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Old 08-25-2009, 03:23 PM
Backpocketnj Backpocketnj is offline
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I don't have AD(H)D and I do that too. I start things, and then I stopped, but I might come back to it later. It depends on difficulties and time for me I guess as well as interest.

I have students, with attention issues, who pick up instruments, and some are much more focused than they are in the classroom. Depends on the person, we are all different.

Also, to Howard Emerson, I have mild dyslexia as well. I assume your situation could be more pronounced.
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Old 08-25-2009, 03:26 PM
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I don't have AD(H)D and I do that too. I start things, and then I stopped, but I might come back to it later. It depends on difficulties and time for me I guess as well as interest.

I have students, with attention issues, who pick up instruments, and some are much more focused than they are in the classroom. Depends on the person, we are all different.
My question would be, are we all different because of some chemical imbalance or is it maybe cultural or genetic? And can it be trained to overcome it? It certainly helpful to force yourself finishing things until you train your neurons to start firing properly. It's almost like muscle memory it seems.
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Old 08-25-2009, 04:00 PM
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i know several people who don't have ADD but don't finish things that they find difficult. they do finish things sometimes that are time-consuming but easy. i guess you'd call them slackers, really. and some people just expect that something they would only do as a hobby should be easier than something that would do for a living. on the other hand, i have a friend with ADD who also doesn't seem to finish up learning songs on the guitar.

btw, we don't know almost anything about your friend, and keep in mind that we're not doctors. we can't diagnose whether he has ADD. we can only share our own experiences and those of people we know.
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Old 08-25-2009, 04:03 PM
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btw, we don't know almost anything about your friend, and keep in mind that we're not doctors. we can't diagnose whether he has ADD. we can only share our own experiences and those of people we know.
That's exactly what I want.

Thanks
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Old 08-25-2009, 11:32 PM
Fingerstylist Fingerstylist is offline
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I don't have ADHD, as far as I know anyway. Starting another song before I finish the first is one of my main problems though. It's so difficult to stick it out sometimes.
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Old 08-26-2009, 07:50 AM
kwakatak kwakatak is offline
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Semi-OT, but FWIW I've heard great things about music being great therapy for special-needs kids with PDD, ASD, ADD, ADHD, SPD, etc. My 5yo son is PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Delay [Not Otherwise Specified] which we're told is basically on the highe functioning end of the autism spectrum of learning/behavioral disorders) with symptoms on undiagnosed Apraxia (low motor function/usage/planning of the muscles used in speech) and sensory-seeking behaviors and compulsions/obsessions that may be indicative of Sensory Processing Disorder. He's only just now beginning to have verbal communication skills and has shown no interest in even learning sign language. We've taught him life skills that he either forgets or ignores and frequently has explosive tantrums that we believe is centered around his inability to communicate his needs or wants. One thing that he does seem to focus in on are musical melodies. He sing-songs jargon under regularly recurring conditions and seems drawn in by music. He's even begun to show rudimentary sing-along skills. It gives me hope and I'm hoping that he takes a more active interest in music as he gets older.

As a hobbyist I never understood how some people could be so obsessed about achieving perfection of others' compositions. For me that also led to frustration until at one point I decided to step back and try to see the forest instead of the individual leaves on every tree, as it were. I don't play songs verbatum now, but now I can actually play entire songs instead of the old "I could only memorize up to this point" trap that I used to (and sometimes still do) fall into.

Going even further, I learned that by learning parts of songs and playing around with them I could come up with ideas (or at least different arrangements) all by myself. I'm trying to flesh that out into actually penning my own works. The only problem there is the frustration that I hardly feel as if I've truly written anything "original."

My point is, they call it "playing" for a reason. If it becomes frustrating at all I just put it away for awhile until I either feel refreshed or inspired.

EDIT: I had to go finish the first paragraph. I have adult-onset ADD. IMO it's hereditary: I got it from my kids!
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Last edited by kwakatak; 08-26-2009 at 11:22 AM. Reason: Forgot to finish my initial throught
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:29 AM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwakatak View Post
Semi-OT, but FWIW I've heard great things about music being great therapy for

As a hobbyist I never understood how some people could be so obsessed about achieving perfection of others' compositions. For me that also led to frustration until at one point I decided to step back and try to see the forest instead of the individual leaves on every tree, as it were. I don't play songs verbatum now, but now I can actually play entire songs instead of the old "I could only memorize up to this point" trap that I used to (and sometimes still do) fall into.

Going even further, I learned that by learning parts of songs and playing around with them I could come up with ideas (or at least different arrangements) all by myself. I'm trying to flesh that out into actually penning my own works. The only problem there is the frustration that I hardly feel as if I've truly written anything "original."

My point is, they call it "playing" for a reason. If it becomes frustrating at all I just put it away for awhile until I either feel refreshed or inspired.
Hi Neil,
Bravo to you for reaching the point of doing your own compositions! It's really
the ultimate expression of ones guitar-lifetime experience.

Of course it is not easy, and originality is hard to come by, but there's nothing wrong with mixing and matching snips of what you've digested over the years. It's a good excercise in the ultimate quest.

The trick is being able to avoid some of the pitfalls that come along with 'doing your own thing'.

People will always request something they've heard instead of asking 'Have you written anything of your own?' Stick to your guns.........

Just don't become easily satisfied with penning a catchy lick, and then surrounding it with lots of fluff...........or at least be able to tell when that's what you're doing.

People will do anything to 'finish something'..........Indeed I always have 3 or 4 themes that are in the process of being 'born' completely. Some have taken many, many years, but almost alway have been worth the wait.

Remember: No wine before its time:-)

Be well,
Howard
http://www.howardemerson.com/
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