The link between Music and Dyslexia

May 25, 2019

The link between music and dyslexia

by Marc Wilson / 09 March, 2019

Mick Fleetwood: distinguished drummer and dyslexic. Photo/Getty Images

Musical prowess has spinoffs for people with reading difficulties, not to mention video gamers.

There was a time when I wasn’t a slouch on the video-game front, but newer games are a different cup of bitter failure. Compared with my 15-year-old son, I’m embarrassingly slow at Rainbow Six Siege, for example, a game in the “tactical shooter” genre.

Nor do I shine at Beat Saber, a game that’s remarkably simple in concept. Blue and red blocks come towards you in time with a musical backing track, and your job is to use the controllers in each hand to wield lightsabers to cut the blocks in the direction of the arrows on their faces.

The format of block speed, height and direction is, I speculate, designed by a group of psychological torturers to make adults feel incompetent as they flail about trying to cross their hands and back again. My son makes it look easy.

Admittedly, he also has an advantage because he’s been playing the drums for more than five years and has excellent rhythm and co-ordination.It’s actually fun to watch him – it’s like a dance. It’s fair to say he gets at least some of this from his mother, whose family are so musically talented that her brother actually makes a living from it.

Segue to another drummer, Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac. His sometimes unorthodox drumming is a defining part of the band’s success.

According to his autobiography, Play On: Now, Then, and Fleetwood Mac, he is also dyslexic. Dyslexia is a label commonly used to describe difficulties in learning to read, and reading. In spite of its common usage, dyslexia is a little controversial. Some experts argue that it’s not a specific condition but that reading learning and ability is normally distributed on a bell curve and the people we may think of as dyslexic are those who are just normally at the left tail.

Dyslexia is not a visual problem – dyslexics don’t necessarily have a problem seeing letters and words. Often, their difficulty is in linking letters to sounds.

Language, like music, has rhythm and structure, and it seems logical to wonder if practising music might help people who experience the kinds of difficulties that are common in dyslexia.

One way to test this idea would be to take a group of people “diagnosed” with dyslexia, expose half of them to a musical therapy, then see how their reading is developing.

Or you can do what specific learning difficulties researcher and teacher Paula Bishop-Liebler and colleagues in the UK did. If learning to play music can help with reading, then we’d expect that people who have learnt to play music andpreviously identified as dyslexic should have learnt to read better than people identified as dyslexic who haven’t learnt music. So, Bishop-Liebler compared the abilities of about 20 musicians with a history of reading difficulty with similar numbers of musicians with no dyslexia history and age-matched non-musician dyslexic controls.

Dyslexic musicians proved to be more like “normal” musicians than non-musical dyslexics on tests of auditory processing, and particularly tasks that involved processing sound length and rhythm. This improvement extended to tasks relating to the rhythm of word sounds as well.

Musical training has been shown to be helpful for dyslexic youngsters and Bishop-Liebler speculates that music will be most helpful when it involves explicit links between music and language.

I’m not sure what my Beat Saber failures say about my own linguistic abilities.

This article was first published in the February 23, 2019 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

https://www.noted.co.nz/health/psychology/music-dyslexia-link-between/

 

Finland's Music Education System

August 21, 2018

https://musicaustralia.org.au/2017/06/finlands-music-education-system-how-it-works/?utm_source=Music+Australia+Newsletter+List&utm_campaign=3c7029d78d-Music+Australia+ENewsletter+7+June+2017&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f536243dd9-3c7029d78d-249700729


Finland’s Music Education System: How It Works

Graham Strahle
 | JUNE 6, 2017

In an earlier article, Music Australia presented an overview of the Finnish school system and how music teaching is delivered by a highly successful network of governmen...


Continue reading...
 

Children should have more experience playing music, say half of UK adults

August 1, 2017
CLASSICAL FM / 1 August 2017, 09:46 By Lizzie Davis In a survey carred out by YouGov, 47 per cent of people surveyed said more children should be inspired to learn an instrument and have experience playing music. The research, which was commissioned by Town Hall and Symphony Hall Birmingham, also found that 39 per cent of UK adults thought music should feature more prominently on the school curriculum. By contrast only 11 per cent thought ‘classical music is too often dumbed down’. ...
Continue reading...
 

Key of life: music gives children academic edge and social skills

April 3, 2015

By: Emma Cowing


IN THE summer of 2003, a community newspaper in Toronto carried an advert offering free weekly arts lessons to six-year-olds. For 36 weeks the children attended classes at the Royal Conservatory of Music in the city, where half were taught to play keyboard, and half were given drama lessons.


Before they started they were given IQ tests, alongside a group of six-year olds receiving no arts lessons at all. At the end of the year, their IQs were tested again. For the children learn...


Continue reading...
 

Let the Children Play music lesson campaign success

September 7, 2013
by EMMA COWING

ON 2 September last year, violinist Nicola Benedetti told this newspaper: “The last thing that should get in the way of children making music is money.”

Her comments were accompanied by exclusive Scotland on Sunday figures showing that a shocking 24 local authorities across Scotland were charging children between £95 and £340 per year to learn a musical instrument.

No fewer than 11 councils had increased fees for the new school year, while five local authorities were also ch...


Continue reading...
 

Instrumental Music Tuition in Scotland

September 7, 2013

A REPORT BY THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT’S INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC GROUP


June 2013


http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0042/00426360.pdf

Continue reading...
 

Scottish schools to get extra £1m for musical instruments

December 22, 2012

Schools are to be given an extra £1m by the Scottish government to buy musical instruments for pupils.

Ministers will also set up a working group to look at music tuition fees, which can vary across councils.

Among issues it will examine is the question of charges for pupils sitting SQA music exams.

The EIS teaching union, which has been campaigning for "fair access" to music education for pupils in all parts of Scotland, welcomed the announcements.

Minister for Learning Alasdair Allan said ever...


Continue reading...
 

Music for all: Scotland on Sunday’s campaign for free tuition

September 12, 2012
"TODAY Scotland on Sunday launches Let The Children Play, a campaign for free instrumental music tuition for every Scottish school child.

It comes after an investigation revealed 11 local authorities across Scotland have raised their fees for the 2012-13 school session – meaning children are being charged more than ever before to learn a ­musical instrument"


Read the full article from The Scotsman here

 
Continue reading...
 

Charging for musical tuition in Scotland’s schools ‘is extra tax on parents’

September 12, 2012
Music Tuition in Scotland is always a subject in debate.
 
How do we make it broadly available for all children independently of their family income?
How do we achieve a quality music education throughout?
Do we need a more consistent music education through primary and secondary schools?
When should a child start to learn music and an instrument?
Who should pay the costs of a proper education?

Read this article in the Scotsman:

http://www.scotsman.com/news/education/charging-for-musical-tuition-in-s...
Continue reading...