Don’t Blame it on My ADD
Most of us listen to music regularly, and I’ve played music since I was a young child. I often tell the story of being five years old, standing with my cousin on my grandmother’s front porch. I was dressed as Kenny Rogers, she as Dolly Parton, guitars in hand, singing to the world. As I grew up, I learned to play a little guitar and piano, but drums became the instrument that spoke to me.
In 2015, I was officially given a diagnosis of ADD. Suddenly, my school career struggles and many other things in my life made sense. As I began to look at how to manage it better, I became focused on how music and drumming was meditative to me. I started seeing how I have unconsciously used it for most of my life to bring myself into a mindful state. As I explored further, I saw the profound difference in focus and productivity in times that I was allowing music to pace my thoughts so I could better manage the important ones and prioritize the less important.
I focus on an instrument. Sometimes it’s the drums (I’m a bit biased), other times it might be the guitar or vocal melody. From beginning to end, I try to follow that instrument. I listen intently to every note it makes, and immerse myself in it’s rhythm. At its most basic form, this IS meditation.
Notice I didn’t say lyrics. My suggestion with lyrics is to focus on the melody, rhyme scheme or syllable-patterns, or even the subtle vocal inflections. When you focus on the words, your mind will instinctively begin to pull you in other directions. For this exercise, we want focus on minute details.
Now, often times before I begin my day, I’ll intentionally listen to or play along with music that allows me to get in the right state. For me, it’s usually a mix of indietronica and indie-folk music. The intentional focus of melodies and patterns settle in and I allow myself to align with it. Once I’m there, I get to work. I find that I am much more focused and relaxed, increasing my productivity and overall positive state of mind.
The next time you have a project you need to focus on, or if you’re just having one of those chaotic days that you need to reset, try listening to music with the intent to lock into it’s groove so that you can find yours!