Reply To: Piano practice and ADHD

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I realized that that’s my actual, in-the-room practice strategy, but there’s another component that’s also useful.

Keeping track of what I’ve worked on can be really helpful. Even though I’ve been playing piano for sixteen years (fourteen with lessons), I’ve only really learned how to practice in the past three.

It’s useful to keep track of things outside my mind. So practice tracking can be helpful. Sticker charts are always great to remind you of what you’ve learned, what you’ve accomplished, what you still have to work on, etc. They can also help with motivation.

You can set some specific goals with your teacher in lesson. Write that stuff down! Write down suggestions in lessons. If I don’t write, I forget.

By the same token, after I’ve practiced, I write down what I perceive as the “next step.” If I get into flow, I’m actively engaged in problem-solving and I’ve learned to guess what needs help next. (for example, “Measure X, worked on right hand but keep tripping up on third note, practice that transition slowly,” or “pg 3, dynamics, practice the pp sections so I don’t keep dropping notes, m. 6 crescendo=get loud enough!”) Recording those thoughts right after practice can make it easier to get going next time because you won’t forget what needs help.

(RE: in-the-room practicing strategies, I forgot to say that sometimes I repeat what I did the previous day, but more often than not I do something new and then re-work the previous day. Since there is some memory gap between days, if I require myself to perform like I did at the end of practice before I move onto new stuff, I won’t move fast enough and I’ll get stuck in a whirlpool around the same measure since I have to re-work it all over. Thus, I start on the next part, make some progress, and only then review what I did yesterday.)