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adult ADHD and learning songs

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by ezpickins, Oct 30, 2020.

  1. ezpickins

    ezpickins TDPRI Member

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    A while back I realized I’d been struggling with ADHD all my life. Long story short part of my problem is remembering sequences. So as a result I’ve always had a very difficult time learning songs , especially the melody and lead parts - and so instead spend most of my guitar time just noodling. Which is fine , at 50 years old I’ve accepted that I’ll never be a rock star.

    So for a while I was taking Concerta and it corresponded with an effort to improve my playing , I was actually making progress and getting a lot better. Well I stopped taking the concerta because it was causing unacceptable mood swings.

    when I stopped the Concerta my guitar progress stalled ...

    anyway since then I’ve been wondering if the connection between the ADHD and difficulty remembering songs was all in my head or if other folks have ever experienced a similar issue and if so if they have come up with any tactics to help them
     
  2. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Don’t know, but that’s interesting. Mybuddy , who is the most ADHD person I’ve ever met, is a classic noodler. That’s all he does.

    Tried to play with him many times but it always ended with me playing backup to his weedely-deedely bend-y noodling.

    Good luck in your struggle though
     
  3. P Thought

    P Thought Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    :) I have the attention span of a hummingbird with rabies. It takes me a long time to learn a song, and not very long to forget one.
     
  4. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yeah, I have various issues including ADHD. There are some things it's just not worth my time trying. For example, I'll never read music or understand notation. I just see this big scrawl of random stuff I don't care about and can't focus on.

    I can noodle for Britain but learning a song is a struggle. It's like I can run but can't walk. My brain is in another place.

    Disciplining myself to write and record my own material is great, because I somehow manage to learn something about song structure.

    Rehearsing with band is always tricky, though. They hear me noodle and think, wow, this guy will be fine. Then they say "start that lead break on B."

    . . .

    "?"
     
  5. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    Hard to say.... ADHD can definitely be a barrier to getting immediate info into long term memory. Kinda like a big filter. But ADHD is not the only thing that does that. There could be a myriad of reasons for difficulty learning something.

    Much of playing guitar is muscle memory. Not just cognitive. I learn best by repetition. A challenge I have being scattered attention-wise is maintaining a regular routine, whereby I can go over something enough for it to become muscle memory.

    Let's just say I'm the type of guy who needs a routine imposed on me. Not very good at establishing routines, if you know what I mean. But I've definitely come aloooooooong way over the years. More so out of necessity, than anything else.

    The last year or so I've been woodshedding tons, making sure I take the time to go over specific licks and scales over and over again, every time I sit down to play. I have definitely improved, in many ways more than I have in decades. at 49 I still suck, and will never be a rock star. But I'm also becoming much more excited with the progress I've made for myself. The basement is my audience nowadays, and I'm totally ok with that.
     
  6. johnny k

    johnny k Poster Extraordinaire

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    If you get a software like guitar pro, you can read the tab and play them along the backing track, if the song is not too complicated. I don't think i have ADD, but i tend to skip from one song to another quickly, without really learning it the whole way through. I get bored easily i guess.
     
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  7. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    Yes. This. Once I think I get a gist of something, I'm done with it. Not just a problem in guitar for me. Pretty much explains my entire existence.

    Jack of all trades.....
     
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  8. johnny k

    johnny k Poster Extraordinaire

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    I know what you mean. I will try jazz for 3 days, then death metal, then classical.
    If i focus, i notice that i have an easy time learning new stuffs really quick.
    The hard part is to focus.
     
  9. Jeremy_Green

    Jeremy_Green TDPRI Member

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    I don’t suffer from something like that, so I’m kind of speaking out of my ass here. What if you try to determine the length of time you were able to concentrate for. For example if you can maintain focus for seven minutes say, then design a series of seven minute blocks of study. If you had a bunch of different blocks of things to work on that might help move you forward.

    Maybe if you used a timer it started at five minutes. And work to focus for five minutes. Then change it to six minutes, every time you’re successful move it up by a minute. Try to maybe push that threshold. I don’t even know if this is possible or not With that condition. Just some ideas
     
  10. thesamhill

    thesamhill Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I'm the classic ritalin responder. Straight Fs to straight As. Changed my life.

    I'd say try a different Rx if you can. IMO it's worth it.

    Attention deficit isn't the total inability to focus on anything, it's the inability to force your brain to focus on what it doesn't want to focus on. For me, I can sit rapt for hours un-Rxed on certain things but only things that hold my interest.

    Learning entire songs is pretty classic ADHD failure zone, IMO. Its tedious and the end result is the ability to play something exactly like you've heard it played a million times before. Yawn :)

    I'd say, find specific turnarounds, note progressions, etc. Work on them and think of them as your "tool box." For me, I learned bits of songs by Metallica, Herb Alpert, ZZ Top, etc. They live disconnected in my brain and come out in weird and interesting ways.

    I also work up covers however I want. I don't have too many recordings but @JayLeonardJ (I think, sorry if wrong person!) posted this vid as a similar thing- a song that appeals, played different than the original but in a way that makes sense to you.




    Edited for clarity and to attempt to get the correct "Jay"...
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020
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  11. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Afflicted

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    I've been told I have AAADD- age advanced attention deficit disorder. My short term memory has become challenged like a lot of people my age. I've read several places that keeping the brain challenged with solving problems, puzzles, etc helps keep it fresh. One of the things I started doing a while back for recreation is sight reading jigs and reels and playing them fast on the mandolin. It takes total, intense concentration to do. Wood carving with chisels takes the same amount of focus.
     
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  12. stormin1155

    stormin1155 Tele-Holic

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    You have described me to a T. I've never been diagnosed with ADHD, because they weren't doing that when I was growing up in the '60s. My son pointed it out to me just a couple years ago. I did poorly in grade school and HS (did great in college), and if I hadn't forced myself to follow the Franklin/Covey method I probably would have failed in my career. I have a terrible time sitting down and learning a song. I can pick things up quickly, but get bored within a few minutes and move on to the next shiny object. My boys joke about me being the king of the intros, because that's about all of a song that I ever learn.
     
  13. drumtime

    drumtime Tele-Holic

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    I don't have ADD, but a bandmate does. He's got a huge bunch of covers memorized and has written a lot of very good songs. At least in his case, ADD is not holding him back.

    I have a hard time learning songs. A lot of it is lack of motivation. As the previous poster says, "Its tedious and the end result is the ability to play something exactly like you've heard it played a million times before. Yawn."

    Maybe focusing on developing cool rhythm parts rather than lead & melody for a while would keep you out of the noodle zone. Or maybe just try to learn the leads and melodies without worrying about the whole song. This can help you build an arsenal of nice licks, and get more comfortable with the fretboard.

    Also, really learning to improvise - different than noodling, and best done with others, but backing tracks can be a big help.

    Creating your own music might be the answer. That's what the people whose songs you're trying to learn did.
     
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  14. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Telefied Ad Free Member

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    The one advantage to that malady that no one can decide on the proper acronym for :rolleyes:, is that in fact most things are boring and not worthy of our complete attention and/or paying attention to for any great length of time ! :lol:


    You know it’s true (but a lot of you aren’t paying attention anyway... “Look ! Squirrel !” )
     
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  15. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    Yup. I believe in general that meditation training is the best way to build up the voluntary attention muscles. But still for some of us, at least from a biological standpoint, it's still not enough to completely manage the interest part. :oops:

    I have a PhD in my career field. I'd rather spend my workdays posting on TDPRI. Far more interesting and fun. :D
     
  16. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    I would typically agree with this. If it weren't for the fact that I get burned out on making my own music, too. Thank gawd the bass guitar exists, or I might have got completely burned out on music altogether. Sometimes there is just nothing better than just being whatever groove a song demands, and nothing else. I rarely play bass at home alone. It's totally a band thing. When I'm alone I can noodle on the guitar to my heart's content. Or work on amps.

    I haven't written or recorded one of my owns songs in.... months? Starting to lose track. Whatever. I'm sure the bug will come back eventually. It always does.
     
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  17. tubegeek

    tubegeek Friend of Leo's

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    Well put. Exactly my experience too. You should see my (pre-diagnosis) college transcripts. All over the map. The worst was the required distribution classes in subjects where I wasn't very interested - I'd try to choose easy ones but that didn't work. In retrospect I should have looked for harder ones that were more interesting in some way.

    The good news is, when I got into a Master's program that I found compelling (and once I had been diagnosed and medicated - and stopped self-medicating) I got through with a 4.0 GPA. That really boosted my self-image as a learner, let me tell you. Getting an A was a lot easier than I ever knew back in college. (Pro Tip: don't lose your copy of the syllabus the first day of class.)

    The OP @ezpickins mentions "sequencing." Sequencing difficulties are a very specific symptom and they can be a part of a Learning Disability that may not exactly be ADD or ADHD. Sometimes that symptom is related to a working-memory issue, sometimes it is related to attention/focus/distractibility.

    Unfortunately it can take sophisticated and expensive testing to unpack this stuff sometimes. You are your own best observer and advocate for help.

    @Whatizitman 's advice about meditation training is very pertinent in my experience, it can help a lot with a variety of struggles. Including not struggling!
     
  18. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I’ve always said, if the police needed a reliable witness to a traffic accident or a crime, my wife would be worthless and I would be invaluable.

    I am classic ADD and she is whatever the polar opposite of that is…

    If she’s reading or on her computer or looking at her phone that’s all she’s doing. Laser-like focus.

    sometimes I have to clap my hands or speak really loudly to get her attention if she’s into something.

    Two garbage trucks could have a head-on collision directly in front of my house and my wife might look up.

    I could tell you what each trash dude was wearing down to their socks, the license plates of the trucks, and what type of bird was flying by at the time of the accident...
     
  19. Gardo

    Gardo Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    ADHD can be a dividend rather than a disorder. It can make one very creative if you can think of it that way. You can imitate what someone already did or you can originate something new.
    Explore different styles of music until you find one that grabs you then go with it.
    I’ll never be a Clapton or a Hendrix but I can be the best Gardo this world ever saw. Take a chance on something new
     
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  20. tubegeek

    tubegeek Friend of Leo's

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    To be fair, those guys always wear excellent socks.
     
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