Recommendations for musicians with dyslexia

Learning a musical instrument is fantastic. But some people can find it more difficult than others to access written music. Here are some ideas that might help.

Dyslexia is often characterised by difficulties with reading and writing. This includes reading and writing music. The same recommendations that we make for literacy should apply to music. 

Use colours

When you are first learning different notes, use different colours to represent them. For example, B = Blue. Look for the patterns in the music and highlight similar phrases in the same colour. 

Be creative

Music is fantastic for people with dyslexia because it is multisensory by nature. You need to HEAR the music, SEE the notes, and MOVE to make sound. Create images in your mind, or draw pictures to help remember phrase structures.

Take a break

Give yourself time to rest, especially when learning a new piece. Try starting at the end of the piece and work backwards, slowly adding bars as you master them. That way, once you get to the beginning you already know the end.

Listen and watch other musicians

Watch videos on YouTube or better still, go to see some live music. Watch how other musicians perform and get some tips. 


Being a musician is not just about learning pieces. Listen to your favourite music and play along. Feel your way around the notes and make some beautiful sounds without looking at anything.

Reasonable adjustments

Talk to your music teacher about accessing reasonable adjustments for your grade examinations. For example, it is possible to have additional time for sight-reading and aural tasks. 

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