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adult ADHD and learning songs

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

  1. hmemerson

    hmemerson TDPRI Member Vendor Member

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    Hello EZ,
    I've been taking Ritalin since 1996. I SHOULD have been taking it since 1966, but I digress....

    I have NO issues with remembering all the songs I write, or the lyrics to songs I learned when I was 6-7 years old.....It's probably why I can't remember what I had for lunch yesterday.

    Starting on Ritalin was the best thing I ever did because it replaced the 'rush', or euphoria, that impulsively saying/doing stupid things used to give me.

    I've always been very, very good with music when it came to mechanical & musical aptitude/good ear/sense of rhythm.

    I could not, on the other hand, read music. I needed to have the teacher play the stuff for me and I'd play it by ear. I am also dyslexic. Reading a book requires a lot of concentration, so the subject matter makes a huge difference.

    I write all my own material, and I've taught fingerstyle, open tunings & bottleneck since 1970......so it hasn't held me back. I just work to my strengths. I teach via demonstration and explanation. Personalized Youtube videos for the student are a tremendous help!

    It's a work in progress, of course, and I'm 69 years old.

    My upcoming CD is entitled The Rhytalin Kid.

    It helps to avoid spam traps.

    I hope you can find something else that helps find a middle ground between a good mood & a good groove!

    Best regards,
    Howard Emerson
     
  2. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I think you're on to something there, when I do try and learn, or in my case relearn something, I work on it for a while, then let it gel. Then I come back to it in a few days. I'd better not wait too long though, or I'm back at square one!
     
  3. rstaaf

    rstaaf Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

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    Both of my kids are on the autism spectrum and I am fairly certain that I am most likely the source of that. The wife contributed anxiety to the mix ;) Lucky kids :(

    It can be a curse, but it usually makes up for it with people that tend to be pretty gifted, my daughter has a natural talent for art and music. She is graduating this year with a BFA. She has consistently made the dean's list throughout her college career.

    She is taking an intro to Jazz Guitar course this semester and it is all online through Zoom. She constantly amazes me how easily and quickly she picks things up musically.

    I find what works best for me is fewer repetitions over a longer period of time. Trying to cram too much into one sitting always leads to frustration and noodling rather than productive practice.

    I also am a firm believer that practice should be fun or you won't do it, especially if focus is an issue to begin with...
     
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  4. beanluc

    beanluc Tele-Holic

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    ESPECIALLY.
     
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  5. ezpickins

    ezpickins TDPRI Member

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    Run but not walk is a good way to put it ... trying to play with other folks really brought it to the forefront for me too
     
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  6. ezpickins

    ezpickins TDPRI Member

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    Practice does help for me with the fundamentals for sure , scales , chords and all - even playing over the changes rather than just scales, a lot to be said for the muscle memory that comes with practice ... but it has never translated to being able to remember songs for me. I guess it's not fair to say it doesn't help at all - it does a bit to get better at the fundamentals and apply it to songs , not as much as I would hope though - but I guess it's a thing I need to accept and be okay with
     
  7. ezpickins

    ezpickins TDPRI Member

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    For me focus on things like scales or learning chord voicing isn't an issue - I can play scales for hours a day - but ask me to remember an 8 bar melody ... and I'm suddenly an idiot. I'm sure there is some focuses involved because of the frustration level causing me to stop more quickly than if I was just doing scales or whatnot. So it may be an interesting thing to try , make myself work on melody and lead lines for as long as I do scales, etc... I'm sure I don't do that
     
  8. ezpickins

    ezpickins TDPRI Member

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    When I finally do learn a song it's gone in about a day
     
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  9. ezpickins

    ezpickins TDPRI Member

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  10. ezpickins

    ezpickins TDPRI Member

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    I'm 50 now - and there sort seem to be some age related part to the puzzle too for me, I can remember songs that I learned 30 years ago but not so good at remembering one I learned last week
     
  11. beanluc

    beanluc Tele-Holic

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    Songs are funny - They're super easy when I already "just know how it goes," from start to finish. Typically these are ones which I've just heard over and over, and then learning how to play it just puts a veneer of muscle memory over the progression playing out between my ears. It still takes practice but there's only this one dimension.

    Learning a new song, on the other hand - it's complicated by needing to learn multiple dimensions. It's hard to learn what the song sounds like, well enough to recall it effortlessly, at the same time as learning to physically play it and/or learning to remember its chords and notes.

    Practicing till all of those dimensions are wired takes FOCUS. Which is hard to come by, for us.
     
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  12. ezpickins

    ezpickins TDPRI Member

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    King of the Intros ! Ha - sounds like me for sure
     
  13. tubegeek

    tubegeek Friend of Leo's

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    Crucial, in my experience. Trying to do things the same way "normies" do can be a recipe for frustration, while doing things in a way that works for me is often far superior to the "normal" way. And completely ignoring lots of things I suck at is not always a bad idea.
     
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  14. P Thought

    P Thought Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I think of it more as "high practive". That seems to help.
     
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  15. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    My former post didn't suggest much but many mentioned working with your strengths.
    The one thing I said that IMO cannot be over stressed is to first learn the song as music you hear and sing, for as many days as it takes to get it in your soul.

    Then instead of the idea we get from normal folks who memorize as their learning method, just play it as if you wrote it, drive it like the owner, play whatever you feel like playing withing the songs basic chord & melody structure.

    What this kind of mind is good at is making stuff up on the fly, and remembering the soul and bones of a thing once we absorb the essence however our mind chooses.

    Breaking a song down into names of chords and names of notes, or making a sort of living thing that a song is into a wax museum science specimen, that's not what we do best and also not the best way to serve the music.

    Obviously you need to know the basics, but you don't need to reenact history.

    Seems to me the ADHD mind is often a creative mind, but due to our not fitting well into society where we are expected to memorize and recall like robots, we may have confidence issues and a history of being admonished, essentially for who we are.

    My understanding of the ADHD mind is that we think sideways and three dimensionally, rather than in a linear narrative.

    We do better as managers than as pawns. My thinking on a construction site is that I see all of that microcosm in space and time.
    I see a sort of 3d image of the whole building and the sequences of what subs did and will do all the aspects that need to synchronize in time, and may need to occupy space already occupied.

    Tell me to go hang a door and close in a wall, I go into thinking about what electrical, plumbing and end user issues might come into play. Let me talk to the client and all the subs, I can then problem solve and synchronize many things in ways that initially take longer but later remove all need to go back and change things.
    This is sight supervisor work, not subcontractor work.

    The analogy is I think useful because in other jobs there is management that has a blueprint or cad program like big picture grasp, who then direct others who only know small picture and are great with memorize and regurgitate thinking.

    Sort of the same with music though, where if it's fully absorbed into your soul you can adapt on the fly and create new parts if the band changes something. If you can only repeat what was on the record, you will be lost when the song changes, and to some degree alienated from the music because instead of listening and interacting, you're regurgitating a memorization.
    Songs are big picture more than sequence of small parts, even as they are both of those things.

    Embrace your mind and nurture its strengths!
    Note that you may be able to do some things far better than the majority of average mind types.
    Nothing wrong with the majority but there are places for those of us who process differently.
     
  16. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I was viewed as a mystery kid, seen by some teachers as naughty because they lacked the imagination to sort out the fact that i was smart and knew the material from the fact that I was bored out of my mind and physically unable to sit still or focus on stuff I'd learned days or years prior, when there was tons of actually interesting stuff happening.

    They didn't know what was wrong and they could tell I was not a bad kid, but one teacher moved my desk into the hall, while another teacher moved my desk into the corner of the classroom under a window.
    The had my mother come in and asked hew how to teach me, but her style didn't fit institutional education.
    They considered holding me back a grade or moving me ahead a grade.
    I think they had the term "hyper kinetic" then?
    And they must have had a med because they wondered if I needed to be drugged.

    A big problem was and still is that kids who cannot be just like the rest are seen as trouble makers, punished, lumpedin with real troublemakers, possibly publicly humiliated and given bad grades despite in some cases excelling.

    I sometimes got the highest test score in the class on math tests, but my number grade was reduced because the teacher couldn't understand my work, because much was done in my head.
    Another problem was that I would ask legit questions that were beyond the point in the material. That can be seen as disruptive, but should not be seen as negative.

    Hilariously, kids like us might have noticed that institutions put the slow kids and the fast kids together in a group of institutional inconveniences.
    As far as before the 1960s I can't really comment, but there was a time before the GI Bill when it was a safe assumption that only a few kids went to college while most went to a trade, so maybe the "improved" education that moved past the old three R's was having growing pains.

    I also wonder if the dietary changes stemming from the food industry discovering chemical preservatives, creating a myth of white purity, (interestingly coinciding with the civil rights movement) where they claimed that after removing the nutritional parts of the wheat and bleaching the non nutritive part, they could make a tasteless starch food with a limitless shelf life and at a higher profit.

    Along with the white bread myth came the sugar cereals that mom didn't have to cook, so instead of eggs, meat, potatoes, orange juice and oatmeal, kids went to school high on sugar smacks or cocoa puffs, then crashed off the sugar at 10am.

    Food for kids changed right about the same time as ADD/ ADHD got prominent.

    I think another factor for me was that the broader social environment of the civil rights movement, native americans being sterilized by govt, questions about the vietnam war, and the whole set of infowewere fed in grade school being brought into question; all that put me in a state of cognitive dissonance.

    And intelligent kid could see that there was an information war happening, that youth was rising up to challenge the aging ideas and ideals, and that facts were simply NOT facts at all any more.

    How do you memorize Columbus and the Indians when you know that info is so damned wrong?

    Cognitive dissonance is abit like the fight or flight response.
    Not asying that's what ADHD is, but i'm saying the times they were a changi' in many many ways when institutions first recognized ADD and ADHD.

    We could even look at Masters & Johnson making some ground breaking discoveries!
    OMG she has a what?
    And she can what?
    But we won't go there here.
     
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  17. bendercaster

    bendercaster Tele-Afflicted

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    Well, that's one opinion. But try having a child that has ADHD -- a sweet, smart, kind kid that just doesn't yet have a fully developed frontal lobe -- and then tell me it is a discipline problem.
     
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  18. bftfender

    bftfender Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have 2 songs going at all times...until one has the drums fully recorded & in Reaper ready to go. Seems once i know its total commitment time..really focus in..but must basically finish the guitar..bass & vocals before i leave it. have all tracking done..don't go back after that.
     
  19. Jeremy_Green

    Jeremy_Green Tele-Meister

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    This is hard to respond to without knowing your level. But do you find just the act of playing the part difficult? Where I am going with this is, think of your mind like a computer. The CPU is managing a lot of things in the background while doing a simple task. What we are always working with is: REMAINING CPU - the unused part of the process, the RAM if you will. When a computer gets filled to the brim, all sorts of stuff gets dumped. So maybe it is not a memory issue or and ADHD issue at all. Maybe, you are just trying to do complicated parts before your have them down fully. Maybe you need to begin with really internalizing the melody first.

    Here's an interesting test: Try singing the melody. Learn it as best you can and only sing it - no guitar. Do you have the same forgetting issue? Because if the problem is gone - then it is not your memory at fault. The issue lies somewhere else.... Likely no CPU available.
     
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  20. Texsunburst59

    Texsunburst59 Friend of Leo's

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    I'm an adult 60 yr. old who's ADHD.

    I played in working bands for 28 yrs., and I had to work hard to get my parts down.

    I had to put songs on a CD and listen to them constantly for a few days and then spend a couple of days working up the parts.

    I still had to go over the parts quite a bit to get them ingrained into my memory.

    The good thing, was we were playing every weekend, and I got to plays the same songs over and over.

    I stopped playing in 2009, and if the band had a gig in 2 weeks, I'd have to work on all 4 sets with hours of practice,and still have a problem remembering all my parts.

    My son on the other hand is also very ADHD, but he's an AMAZING guitar player, singer who can learn rhythm and lead on 3 pretty hard songs in about 1 hr. and won't for them.

    My son has amazing recollection of songs and all the chord structures and leads.

    So I'm not sure ALL ADHD people are all the same when it comes to learning and retaining the songs to memory.
     
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