10 Engaging Piano Songs for the Neurodivergent Beginner

Image: one hand on the piano; article: 10 Engaging Piano Songs for the Neurodivergent Beginner

This article comes from Jessica Homewood at Not Your Mother's Piano Studio!

Neurodiversity encompasses various ways our brains process information, affecting sociability, learning, attention, mood, and other mental functions. Conditions like ADHD, autism, dyslexia, and more are part of this diverse spectrum.

Because it affects the way our brains process information, it is essential to understand the unique nature of a neurodiverse diagnosis when learning or teaching the piano. Although pianists with neurodivergent diagnoses share a lot of the same needs that neurotypicals have, furthering our understanding of their unique skills and mental processes will vastly improve their experience with music.

For example, being educated on neurodiversity will help guide a person when selecting quality piano pieces for individuals with neurodiverse needs. Certain criteria can make a piece more enjoyable and conducive to the learning process:

  1. Ample White Space: Songs with too many symbols and notes can be overstimulating. Opt for pieces with a simple and clean appearance.
  2. Large Notes in Large Measures: Tiny notes can be challenging to read, so prioritize songs with larger notation to facilitate learning.
  3. Clear Structure: Many neurodivergent individuals appreciate consistency and structure. Look for songs with clear musical patterns or repetitive melodies in each hand, as these can make learning the piece smoother and less frustrating.
  4. Realistic Page Length and Difficulty: Be mindful of the length and complexity of the songs you choose. Overly long or difficult pieces can trigger anxiety and overwhelm. Songs that are intended to be recreational for the learner should be shorter and easier compared to their current performing level.

By tailoring your approach and repertoire to meet the needs of neurodivergent pianists, you can create a supportive and enriching musical journey for everyone involved. Here are 10 amazing pieces that support the general neurodivergent learning style:

  1. "A Sky Full of Stars" by Coldplay
  2. "Beauty and the Beast"
  3. "Let It Go" from Frozen
  4. "He’s a Pirate" from Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
  5. "Hedwig’s Theme" from Harry Potter
  6. "Star Wars Main Theme"
  7. "Super Mario Bros. Main Theme"
  8. "The Imperial March (Darth Vadar’s Theme)" from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
  9. "Theme from Jurassic Park"
  10. "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" by Albert Von Tilzer

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