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what is a good instrument for a dyslexic child?

Asked 2013-11-15T21:25:47.0Z by Pauline E1,576
  • Early Adopter
  • Teacher

 I have a dyslexic piano student with up and down difficulties,  what instrument is best for a student with this type of difficulty?


3 Answers

Date | Votes
Reply — Posted 2013-11-16T08:14:59.0Z
  • V.I.P.
  • Teacher

My wife and I discussed this at length today. She's studying speech pathology and has some experience studying dyslexia. We think that a good approach would be to pick an instrument that requires less written music. Piano music has much more notation than other instruments because there are 2 staffs to read. On the other hand, guitar, mandolin or other chordal stringed instruments require a student to read chord charts, which are much easier. Guitarists are famous for achieving high levels of proficiency without ever reading a written note.

Violin or other single note instruments also have fewer notes to a page and might be accessible depending on the severity of the disorder.

Good luck!


  • Thanks for your insight. I'm scheduled for a conference with the Mother soon.Pauline E 2013-11-17T01:50:40.0Z
Reply — Posted 2015-07-21T02:01:03.0Z
Todd P581
  • Teacher

I was identified as dyslexic as a child and I play and teach many different instruments now.  In my opinion the learning style is more the issue then the instrument.  

In general I would suggest focusing on practical learning (meaning more action and less thinking).   Drums can be a great instrument for this.

Here is a free quick introduction to the drum kit:



Reply — Posted 2017-09-02T14:53:49.220Z
Edwin K11

Actually this question cannot be answered for each child based on "dyslexia". Dyslexia is an umbrella term used by an archaic system. It's meant to be used for "can't read well at all". But the reasons for reading poorly in the complex human brain are quite varied. And we are just beginning to discover them.    Some kids have a visual issue, some kids Phonic processing, fluency processing, decoding, and many other issues.   I can tell you from years of experience that getting advice on this question will have to come from experts with special knowledge. Your average person on the street will have relatively useless information,  even teachers, pediatricians, and mental health care providers, are only going to have basic assumption knowledge.
The ultimate would be to get neuropsychological testing on your child and then some professional advice and observation on exactly how they process information.
The statements above about piano and guitar will not apply to every student, but in general, yes, processing less of the crazy musical scale is going to work for many kids.   The comments about guitar, are also generally somewhat accurate, I heard a few guitar people who had trouble in school point out that they did well just memorizing the "shape" of what they were trying to play.

But don't give up, because dyslexics are shown to be quite visionary and creative (look up the Yale Center for creativity and dyslexia) and have potential to make outstanding musicians.   


pediatrician and dyslexic parent/patient


  • Here's something I found.... This brings up another point: kids with learning disabilities often have a liberal mountain to climb in situations where other clinic kids are just attempting to stroll over a hill, metaphorically. So when they are giving you resistance don't assume they are lazy and misbehaving. You may not comprehend the task you are pushing them through, or exactly how miserable it is for tEdwin K 2017-09-02T14:56:03.827Z

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  • 2013-11-15T21:25:47.0Z
  • 2017-09-02T14:59:23.30Z

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