Does Dyslexia Affect Learning Piano?

reading a book

For a person with dyslexia, learning piano can either be more comfortable or more stressful. It depends on the person’s ability and their interest in the art of creating sound and music. The disorder can be frustrating for people as they take their time to read and understand. There is a phase when a child finds it more accessible to learn music than reading a text. Other times, some kids struggle with reading. They also find it challenging to read musical symbols.

The positive impact

However, that doesn’t mean dyslexic people cannot learn to play the piano. Many strategies can help a person with dyslexia overcome surmounted obstacles and learn music in their distinct signature. Researchers have shown that learning musical skills has a positive impact on reading and speaking skills for dyslexic people.  

While learning the piano, the person with dyslexia must know the keys and notes. Recognizing sound patterns and mapping them to symbols helps in building the skill. The phonemic awareness helps children with dyslexia learn with the sounds of spoken language. 

Technique of learning

While playing the piano, a dyslexic person tends to listen to sounds intricately. It helps them learn to memorize and perform. The tactile method, such as pressing the keys, is another way that excites them. It’s also another way that allows them to recognize and learn. The key to music helps them understand which sounds relate to which key. This is called the multisensory technique. The multisensory method has shown great results in persons with dyslexia. It’s an impactful technique that engages the person to learn more than one sense at a time. Sight, hearing, touch, and movement are how a dyslexic person connects with what they are learning. Many music teachers have found this technique very powerful while teaching music. 

While implementing this technique, one must also be aware of specific needs and learning styles. The dyslexic person should experience musical sound and notation while learning the piano. In the process of building skills and learning one note at a time, it provides a source of self-motivation. By learning to play the piano, someone with dyslexia can show incredible motivation and persistence. 

Furthermore, learning to play the piano may boost the auditory perception skills in a child who has dyslexia. Assorting the keys and listening to each key’s sound takes the mind far away from their disorder. 

Role of multisensory technique

Multisensory techniques help the person with dyslexia learn piano and read musical notation. Very often, music teachers are aware of the incoherency of the brain motor that uses these techniques. Multisensory can help kids recognize rhythms and make sense of musical notes.

So how can multisensory teaching techniques stimulate and accelerate the process of learning the piano? These methods are often delivered to children and adults with dyslexia and learning differences. The teachers encourage kids to use some or all of their senses; they often engage children on multiple levels. Most usual techniques use either sight or hearing – visual and auditory. 

Strategies for tutors

  • Some of the ways that can be used by teachers include: 
  • Stimulating visual reasoning and learning.
  • Understanding and interpreting sequences of symbols.
  • Assorting keys by use of color for highlighting the notes.
  • Use of visual imagery on signs.

It can also be a great way of getting children interested in learning the piano. Projecting video learning piano tutorials does help in accelerating the process of understanding the notes and keys. 

The auditory techniques convert characters into sounds. It also combines words into speech without even acknowledging the detailed brain processes. This technique helps in recognizing the distinct sounds of each note and also differentiating the sounds from multiple notes.

Role of the brain

The brain’s left side is in charge of administering the right side of the body and vice-versa. The right side of the hemisphere (halves) is the brain’s artistic and creative side. Each hemisphere has four sections called lobes. These are the frontal, parietal, temporal lobes, and occipital. Each lobe has its distinct functions. It processes sensory input, including auditory. Listening to music involves auditory cortices. Matching the beat of music involves the frontal lobes, subcortical structures that are part of the cerebellum. Dyslexia is the result of understanding problems in the phonological part of the language. 

Dyslexic musicians and pianists are hard to come by. However, there are handfuls of notable pianists, musicians, and artists attributed to this condition. The artist Cher is one of the examples of successful musicians with dyslexia. Learning music and musical notation doesn’t need to begin with reading it. It’s often better to start listening to music. This is especially true with dyslexic people. Additionally, scientific research states that listening to music releases a chemical known as dopamine, a neurotransmitter necessary for more tactile pleasures associated with profits such as food, drugs, and making love. 

Dopamine, a ‘feel- good hormone,’ is released every time you play on the music apps or instruments. Listening music with a friend or family member can also release the hormone prolactin that bonds people together. When you sing while playing piano, you release oxytocin, a chemical that develops trust.  

Final mechanism

Yes, dyslexia can indeed affect learning piano. But it also depends on the dyslexic person. Some may understand the process more slowly. However, once they start to understand the mechanism of notes, keys, and pitches, there is no stopping to what horizons they can achieve. Dyslexic kids tend to be slower in learning piano than those who don’t have dyslexia.

Some may refuse to learn piano before they even get around to it. Understanding the keys and compositions can be tough for them. There are still challenges and struggles faced by the tutor and the student while learning piano. Patience is a must for someone teaching piano to a dyslexic person. And finally, it helps to understand the dyslexic person’s motivations first. It helps them focus on what they want, instead of what we think they want.

With all the above taken into account, dyslexia shouldn’t keep anybody from pursuing their dreams. With the right learning materials to guide you along the way, playing piano is absolutely feasible.

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