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Old 03-07-2017, 07:18 AM   #1
3D Piper
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Default Dyslexia

I have a tenor student who is dyslexic. She can read books fine, but has problems reading scores and memorizing them from paper. She also can't march and play- it's either or (and sometimes neither).

We have been very patient. We have moved her hands for her, moved her hands and feet for her, and even specifically made videos for her to learn from (flipped so she can mirror the TV screen). But so far, after a year, she can't play anything from memory by herself. If she watches another tenor she can kinda fumble through a set, but it is painfully obvious she just doesn't know the score (always a bit behind, or caught off guard, etc).

We do not compete, but still do our best to have high standards. The "oh, look at the cute beginner tenor!" sentiments can only take you so far.

Any other ideas?

-Matthew
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Old 03-07-2017, 05:36 PM   #2
Klondike Waldo
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Default Re: Dyslexia

Matt, how old is this beginner? I'm not a clinician, but I believe dyslexic has to do with reading and writing problems. ( I'm notorious for typing "the" as "teh", BTW).

I'd want to know what her motivation was for joining up. It could be that she's not cut out to be a drummer at all. If she's dead set on being part of the band, is there another capacity she could fill, especially a non-playing position, such as flag bearer or such?

At some point, it may be a kindness to tell her she's not making it and help her find something else that she'll find fulfilling

If she's clinically dyslexic, maybe her school/ Special ed teachers have some strategies you could employ?
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Old 03-08-2017, 01:06 AM   #3
Paul M Burke
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Default Re: Dyslexia

My daughter is dyslexic and reading music is the same as reading words for her. She cant follow the lines and every Time she sees a word or note it is line the first time she has seen it.

Memorizing from playing and copying is easier. Coloured transparent sheets that change the contrast helped in the beginning. Small amounts of very regular practice helped her, instead of half an hour she just has to play every time she passes the room with the piano.


If you had not mentioned dyslexia I would have thought that she was just not practicing.

Paul
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Old 03-08-2017, 06:03 AM   #4
3D Piper
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Default Re: Dyslexia

Thanks guys,

She is 10 and also has an older sister who is also a beginner snare.
They are new to the school this year. They both seem very happy to be in the band.

I've spoken to their mother and she confirms that the younger sister has dyslexia while the older sister does not.

Paul: we've also done colored parts, and they do seem to help. With tenor scores, you have 'piano' and 'forte' movements, which also help in memorizing (I can just say "play your piano" and she knows what to do).

While not practicing at home may very well be an additional variable, another problem is what most of my new drummers do: they think they are doing everything perfectly. In fact, I will routinely ask students how they think they did and this particular student says "perfectly, no problems!". After awhile, I lined everyone up and took a video and then played it back for them to see. There was no denying the non-partisan eye of the camera lens- I just let it play and they can see for themselves.

The only thing simpler than tenor would be bass, and it is way too big for her.

I'm hoping something 'clicks' soon. My lead tenor is graduating this year, and when she isn't there the midsection isn't confident and kinda falls apart..

-Matthew
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Old 03-10-2017, 04:41 AM   #5
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Default Re: Dyslexia

People with dyslexia often find remembering sequences very, very difficult. My daughter is severely dyslexic and learned Irish dancing and Tae Kwon Do for a while - both of which required her to remember sequences of steps. Basically, I learned them too then practised with her at home doing it with her. Walking beside her doing the dance steps or the TWD pattern. How keen is she or more practically - how keen are her parents?
Regarding drumming while marching - it needs to be broken down into very small steps and each learned before adding the next bit so it becomes muscle memory. It is tedious - but does work! My daughter plays cello which requires her to look at the music then coordinate both hands. It took a while but she got there (she still does not read music after learning for 5 years- I work out the fingering for her and write it on the score). Coloured overlays may help her to read the music but it is only continual practice after breaking into steps which will get it memorised. (and memorised for a short time - do not expect it to stay there without repeated practice. It is a really frustrating condition)
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Old 03-10-2017, 08:09 AM   #6
bob864
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Default Re: Dyslexia

I have mild dyslexia. My brother has severe dyslexia.

I have noticed my dyslexia isn't as bad as it was before I started piping, so maybe learning to read music has helped it.

I'm not sure that dyslexia always results in difficulty memorizing. My brother wasn't diagnosed until fourth grade. Since he couldn't read he memorized everything. I'm under the impression that dyslexia is primarily a visual thing. Perhaps memorizing from recordings would work better.

If she can play back a phrase and repeat it 10 times, then can she still play it an hour later? If so, then she can memorize, and it's just a question of putting in the time. Build everything from small phrases and connect them up.
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Old 03-10-2017, 08:52 AM   #7
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Default Re: Dyslexia

I think that the term "dyslexia" is used as a simple label for a whole load of issues. It is easier for my daughter to say she is dyslexic than explain she has slow processing, working memory issues, sequencing problems etc. And all these issues vary between individuals. So one person with dyslexia may be able to memorise things easily - another will not.
My daughter said that her brain is like a load of filing cabinets - but the files inside them are all messed up and some of the papers are all over the floor. She might manage to get the information sorted out but it's going to take her a lot longer than someone else whose files are all stored neatly in alphabetical order!
Repetition, repetition, repetition - and doing it by copying someone else, not direct from the score is probably the best way.
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Old 03-11-2017, 05:41 AM   #8
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Default Re: Dyslexia

Quote:
Originally Posted by Forebank View Post
My daughter said that her brain is like a load of filing cabinets - but the files inside them are all messed up and some of the papers are all over the floor.
Sounds like my office

My office is a reflection of my brain. Stuff is scattered everywhere, but fortunately I can remember where it all is. As you say, we're all different. If I couldn't remember where everything was it would be a disaster.

For me, the ADHD is a much bigger issue than the dyslexia. My brother had ADHD too. I wonder if the two things (ADHD and dyslexia) commonly run together. ADHD definitely makes it harder to memorize things, and easier to get distracted and make mistakes. "You need to work on memorization." "No, I have it memorized." "Then how come you're still making mistakes?". Sigh.
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