Dyslexia is a Specific Learning Difficulty *(SpLD – an umbrella term which also includes Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, and ADHD) which affects the way information is learned and processed, but does not affect intelligence.
This is why it can be hard to diagnose (and sometimes can be misinterpreted as laziness).
People with Dyslexia often report the following problems with music:
- reading of music, particularly sight-reading
- aural tests, particularly those involving memory, such as dictation
- understanding and pronouncing written material (text/language and music).
- music theory: understanding and de-coding information; organising exam answers
- analysing and evaluating music and performances, using examples in written work
- sequencing, deciding what is important/relevant; choosing wording for answers, both verbal and written
- organising timetables of lessons, rehearsals, concerts and relevant material: music, strings, reeds etc, as well as personal practice
Each person with Dyslexia will have their own individual profile and challenges, so if you are working with a young person who you know has Dyslexia, it’s worth asking them or their parent what they struggle with and how to support them.
At least one in ten people have Dyslexia, but many are undiagnosed so some say the statistic is nearer one in five.
* The term ‘Learning Difficulties’ is generally applied to people with global (as opposed to specific) difficulties, indicating an overall impairment of intellect and function. See also the Learning Disabilities section.
- What strategies can be employed to help? Music and inclusive teaching booklet, British Dyslexia Association
- Top ten tips for dyslexia-friendly music teaching – British Dyslexia Association
- Dyslexia, music and exams - ABRSM
- Tips from Luke Pickett, music tutor from Wiltshire’s music education hub, Wiltshire Music Connect
- Music syllabuses for students who are dyslexic or neuro-diverse – Music & Dyslexia blog
- Dyslexia – a pianist’s story - British Dyslexia Association
- Dyslexia and Music - Understood
Webinar: Music and Dyslexia – definitions, difficulties, strengths and strategies – Incorporated Society of Musicians