Weekly Roundup: Dysmusia

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Dysmusia – how dyslexic research and therapy can overcome difficulties in reading music notation

This week the news outlet The Strad presented a lesser known disability – dysmusia. Dr Elizabeth Morrow, a former professor of cello at the University of Texas, Arlington, has been involved in making learning music easier for people who have difficulties to read music. This problem seems to be common in classrooms, often leading children to drop out and abandon their interest for music. As a Certified Academic Language Therapist, Dr. Morrow was able to detect similarities with children with language disabilities, such as inconsistency, hesitation and lack of retention not being improved by standard teaching. Dr. Morrow conducted an informal surveys and, 96.5% of the 84 teachers said that they had an experience with a student who could not read music. 50% confirmed that some children have dropped out of their classes for this reason.

Dr. Morrow has been studying cases of dymusia and developed a list of tips to make learning to read music easier for people affected by dysmusia. Here are some of them:


  • Using discovery learning to build understanding, beginning with the staff (stave), its history, structure, and meaning.
  • Learning notes (one at a time) by following the alphabetic principle – beginning with A!
  • Beginning duration instruction with the whole note (semibreve), which has the added feature of being different from every other duration, as it has no stem. The whole note cannot be confused with another duration, and the learning of additional durations proceeds in one direction only.
  • Practising handwriting notation, as dyslexia research shows ‘the effort of manually holding a writing instrument and forming letters engaged the brain’s neural pathways.’


To read more please click here.

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Next Weeks events:

Adult Network  – Glasgow, UK

April 24th 2017 –  18:30 to 20:30

Branch meeting – Perth & Kinross, UK

April 24th 2017 – 19:00

Free College Skills Course for Young People with Dyslexia – Glasgow, UK

April 25th 2017 – 10:00 to 12:00

FREE Catch Up Clubs for 16-19 year olds – Durham, UK

April 25th 2017 – 16:00 to 17:00

FREE Catch Up Clubs for 16-19 year olds – Darlington, UK

April 26th 2017 – 17:30 to 18:30

Branch meeting – West Lothian, UK

April 26th 2017 – 19:00

FREE Catch Up Clubs for 16-19 year olds – Stockton, UK

April 27th 2017 – 16:30 to 17:30

Branch meeting – Lochaber, UK

April 27th 2017 – 19:30

Free Parent Awareness Course – Swansea, UK

April 29th 2017 – 10:15 to 12:45