Talented young Morecambe pianist speaks on how he performs with ADHD

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A talented young pianist and composer from Morecambe has spoken about his life in music and how it's affected by his ADHD.

Dominic Downs featured on the north west BBC news, discussing how music has become central to his life, from when he first asked for piano lessons aged three, and started learning formally aged seven.

Dominic's talent was obvious early on, with his first public performance taking place after he’d been learning for only 12 weeks.

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Dominic is now a popular recital pianist with a loyal fanbase in the north west, performing both classical and jazz programmes.

Dominic Downs.Dominic Downs.
Dominic Downs.

In the summer he did a jazz set for Morecambe Music Festival, and he has just performed jazz for a Black History Month event in Manchester.

The former Ripley St Thomas pupil studied at Chetham’s School of Music and is just starting his second year of a four-year programme at the Royal Northern College of Music.

Dominic has faced a range of challenges in working towards his ambition to become a concert pianist.

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He has ADHD, which affects concentration, and other neurodiverse conditions, including autism and Tourette’s.

In addition, he had to cope with the death of his dad when he was 16.

Dominic said taking ADHD medication is not really a solution for a musician.

"The tablets affect the way I play," he said. "If I take them my playing becomes almost robotic – very accurate but not very musical!"

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Learning lengthy scores by heart is a challenge, he says, and he keeps his focus by singing along in his head.

"If I am distracted and stop singing all hell breaks loose!" he said.

Music also provides a release for Dominic - when daily life overwhelms him, he crashes out something loud on the piano until he feels calm again.

Dominic has recitals coming up in Alderley Edge, Bury and Preston.

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And on November 3 he will be part of a concert at Lancaster Music Makers at the University of Cumbria.

You can follow him on Instagram at dominic_downs_piano, on his website www.dominicdowns.co.uk and can book him for a classical recital of between 45-90 minutes, or for jazz gigs, via [email protected]