Function of My Dysfunction

A note on setting up a good practicing atmosphere.

Tonight I’ve been working on a few things: practicing music, writing music, setting up my website, working some blog ideas, browsing the internet, researching some music.

Believe it or not I have been getting a lot of quality production in ALL these areas. Herein lies the function of my dysfunction-I get bored easy.  When I get bored my mind wanders and I get sidetracked. However, if I set myself up in a good chair for playing guitar, a computer nearby, my phone nearby, the TV on etc,. when my mind wanders it locks onto another project I need to focus on.

Even as a kid I remember doing this. I would have my stereo cranking down the hall, cuz I wanted to hear music, the TV on to keep my mind busy, some homework cause I had to and a guitar in my hand because I wanted to. Hearing the music would give me inspiration, watching TV would give my mind a break and playing guitar was my active focus and the homework got done as I’d take breathers from practicing. I remember this driving my parents nuts sorry mom & dad!

Of course I would never recommend that my students play in front of the TV. Well actually I have recommended it at times for students to keep them focused as it does for me.  In all seriousness there are times that complete and utter focus is needed. When I was getting ready for my college recitals there were times I practiced up to 10 hours a day. Most of this time was spent in quiet solitude, focused without all the ‘distractions.’

So a note to my student’s parents perhaps knowing your child’s work and focus habits you can decide the best environment for your kids to practice. Does your child function better in a quiet room or with a few slight distractions, such as, TV on, siblings playing in the same room, you and your spouse conversing???? Maybe mute the TV during commercials over the course of an evening and let them practice in intervals.  Sometimes sending your child to their room for a perfectly quiet, focused practice could be sentencing them to a boring solitary experience and never be afraid to comment, ask a few questions and praise your kids as they are working on their new skills. A more social experience may be what they need rather than a solitary ‘ideal’ working area. Then as their interest and skills grow they can develop their own ‘best’ habits.


  1. Right you are, brother! Bottom line is, everyone learns differently, and parents and educators need to work together to discover what works best for each student. I’m fortunate enough to work at a school that specializes in differentiates according to learning styles and needs. It’s pretty easy to implement, and GETS KIDS TO ENJOY LEARNING! Check out this link for more info (the 411 doesn’t just apply to gifted kids…):

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