Attention deficit disorders and performing


I’m having ADHD and sometimes it’s quite hard to be focused on what’s happening on my screen. Do you have ADHD or any other attention disorders ? If yes, how do you deal with that while performing ?
I use the stack function a lot on Tidal Cycles to have different parts so I don’t get lost in the code. What are your techniques?



My trick for resetting my attention is to place a drink out of reach, which forces me to walk over to the drink and take a small break. During that time I try to enjoy the music and engage with the audience and when I come back to the code I have new ideas of what to do next.



Nice one, I really need to try this. I tend to be tense during shows because I only stay focused on my screen so my back is killing me after the performance.

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Yes, I think getting back into your body for a moment really helps :slight_smile:

This is also why I never perform sitting down; your breathing and blood flow is completely different when standing up.



I have super ADHD but once performing its like a high point in focus. I think you might have to look at the distractions differently, what’s actually distracting you besides the code and the performance? - The back pain might be your crutch - make sure you get a laptop riser for longer sets and maybe a wireless keyboard mouse combo for more casual posture so you can stretch out and breath and maybe dance a bit? That aspect of live a portable standing desk mode makes a huge difference in performance and focus.

I mean if your super QWERTY mode you could get a ergonomics performance tool aka Kinesis Advantage2 :sweat_smile:



The crowd and external events (a door opening, what’s happening near me…) are a huge distractions to me, since I am pretty shy and sometimes not confident (I had to organize the latest show I played at, I was so stressed out). As you said, I should reconsider my setup, take a break from my computer screen and take a drink (nice tip from @jarm). I’m using my laptop keyboard which is pretty ergonomic (but a bit small). I used to play seated, now I’m playing standing up, it feels less “worrisome”.

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I would also recommend considering what you do in the ~30 minutes before you play. If you’re anxious before playing it can be useful to structure this time, by listening to recordings of your music in headphones, or going outside, drinking some water, doing breathing or attention exercises, visualising your performance, etc.

While it’s completely natural to feel anxious before or during a performance - some people have this their whole careers - it’s also useful to realise that after playing 10-20+ shows you might find that these issues fade away as you become more experienced and have a variety of memories (in terms of bad, good and great) under your belt to relate to.