Music for Dyslexics





Introduction: Music for Dyslexics

If you've been defeated by music notation in the past, give this embarrassingly simple method a try.

I've tried to learn to read music repeatedly over the years, but always got stuck trying to figure out which line or space a note is on. It’s not a matter of not knowing which note goes with which line. ( I know Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge, FACE, Grizzly Bears Don't Fly Airplanes and All Cows Eat Grass.) The problem is not knowing which line I’m looking at. Adding color actually helps to sort it all out.

Step 1: What You Need

What you need:

Sheet music - your own copy. The musicians in your life will be much happier if you don't do this to their scores.

Six or seven colored pencils of easily distinguished colors.

Test how well you can see them in the lighting where you play. If two colors are difficult to tell apart, try using a clearly darker shade for one of them.

Prismacolor pencils are soft and fairly transparent.

Time required: it depends on how long the piece of music is.

Step 2: Choose Your Colors and Go for It

Assign one color to each note ABCDEFG

If you only use six colors, you will have one note left (for me that's G) that gets no color. If you can distinguish seven different colors easily, you could color all the notes.

Once you figure out what color assignments work for you, don't change them.

It helps to write the letters in their given colors at the top of the sheet of music the first few times

Color all the A's one color, all the B's another and so on.

That's it.

If you don't know what a piece sounds like, the process is a little like doing a Dot to Dot picture. Once the score is colored, you can try it out to hear what you’ve got. You may even find that you recognize what you're playing. Bravo!



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    I'm dyslexic, and I did this for years... my band master hated it, said if i could read the colour I could read the notes :( he was horrid, I finally left (and got him sacked) when he said dyslexia was an excuse for being stupid, and therefor I was stupid... A school tacher should never say that to the PTA and school governers chairman's son lol

    4 replies

    Wow! You were a kid and came up with a practical solution - so you could read the music - so you could play in the band? The guy should have been commending you for your effort and sharing your insight with other music teachers! Think of all the other kids who could have been helped but gave up on music because dyslexia turned the scores into a tangle of lines and dots.

    I cant read sheet music and play at the same time, the colours let me do that. Since my brain works in patterns it really worked for me. The reason he thought I could read music, was I was able to memorise a 3 minute peace, and play from memory for a performance. But it really exhausted me...

    I'm totally impressed! What instrument do you play? I'm using an electronic keyboard, have a book of 198 Bach chorales, and am still at the dot to dot stage...enjoying this sound followed by that sound. (Time is still way beyond me) I don't read German and haven't ever heard the chorals performed. Fortunately, I have an in house musician to explain what all those non-note marks mean. ;)

    I used to play brass... I started on a cornet, then a tennor horn, then onto a brass base... But I could play just about anything in a brass band, just not the trombone (could never get my head around the slider...) That was 8 years ago now though... I havent played since I went to uni. Although, I have recently started to laern the guitar...

    Thanks, Chanti0!