How to teach students with ADHD

What do you do when a student shows so much enthusiasm for making music at the piano but has trouble controlling that enthusiasm?

How do you say “yes” to parents who want to enroll their child in lessons when you don’t feel equipped to deal with someone who fidgets and lacks focus?

What method books and sheet music work best for those who are easily distracted?

Pam Simpson is a fellow piano teacher and lives just down the road from me. She has the answers to these and many more questions. Pam is not only a teacher of students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder but, is parenting one as well.

I won’t waste any more words. Watch the interview video below, download her extremely helpful and concise handout and help those those with ADHD unlock their musical voice at the keys.

Click here if you can’t see the video.

Pam’s FREE handout can be found at the store.

The freebie includes tips, resources and strong pedagogical advice that is ideal for any student regardless of where they are on the “spectrum.”

Follow this link.

A HUGE thank you to Pam Simpson. She is an unsung hero, teacher, wife and mom who works tirelessly for a local teachers’ association and is the chair of our local National Federation of Music Clubs festival.

Pam quietly and effectively organizes and leads many events in the piano teacher community.

I am grateful for her ongoing service, her expertise on teaching piano and teaching those with ADHD and her friendship.


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Leila Viss

Creative Pianist, Piano Teacher, Organist, Blogger and Author of The iPad Piano Studio

6 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Thank you for sharing these very helpful tips! When my teenage daughter begin teaching a child with ADHD, a friend who has some children with ADHD mentioned how important it is to set the expectations at the beginning of every single lesson (no doodling on the keys, follow directions quickly, attention to fingering etc.) The chance cards from musikopoly worked wonderfully with her student and the student really looked forward to a little extrinsic reward (prize) at the end of each lesson.

  • WOW. Thank you for this interview! This just opened my eyes to what’s going on with one of my students. Everything makes sense now.

    The good news is that I do a lot of these things with my students anyway: separating reading from repertoire; separating technique from repertoire; giving wiggle time with off-bench activities; improvisation; etc. But now, I’ll be implementing the lesson itinerary card with this student. That’s going to be a game changer for her.

    • yahoo! I’ve had a graduate student say the same thing about a student she is teaching. The checklist is gold.
      And you’re right all of these tips are good for any student.

      Thanks for sharing your success!

  • Thank you so much for this video Pam and Leila!! I have a ADHD/Aspergers student and I have learnt a lot on how to structure his lesson. I also liked the comment that the parent may also have the same ‘condition’, as this child’s mother does not support him at home at all!!! No practice, doesn’t print off music for him, doesn’t answer emails or texts. I have been wondering why they bother with lessons at all. The student does enjoy his lessons and is making progress, so perhaps it is just a case that the mother cannot organise herself to help him.

    • You are welcome and ditto. Pam had so many insightful things to share. I’m glad to hear they were inspiring for you and perhaps shed some light on “mom.”

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