Having interests outside education and work is important for many dyslexic people in giving them the opportunity to really show their strengths and to build their self esteem. Here are some general tips.

  • Research has shown that dyslexic people often are more successful in sporting activities that depend on physical strength or determination, rather than activities with lots of rules. So, swimming, sailing, running, walking, rugby and netball have all been shown to be popular with dyslexics.
  • Where you have an interest that does require reading or writing, or good memory skills, remember that the same coping strategies for study or work, can be used for hobbies too. Many actors use coping strategies for learning their lines, for example.

B.D.A. has a particular interest in Music and Dyslexia, and has a committee that has been working on this for over 20 years.

Music and Dyslexia

You’re musical and you’re dyslexic?

Do some people say you’re just thick?

Oh no! Not at all!!

It’s not a downfall –

There are things that can help you real quick!


Yes! Dyslexia can affect music. You/your student/your family member or friend may have difficulties with things such as:

  • Sight reading music.
  • Remembering instructions in lessons and/or aural work.
  • De-coding information – in music theory or exams, for example.
  • Organisation of things like attending instrumental or voice lessons, going to rehearsals, having the right stuff, practicing alone…

However, some people don’t have any of these problems, but may react to dyslexia in their own unique ways.

But – there are things that can be done!

For example:

  • Find a teacher who understands dyslexia.
  • Look at alternatives such as different (or no) exams; choice of instrument etc. Is music reading really necessary?
  • If exams are necessary, there are ‘reasonable adjustments’ that can be made to make life easier.
  • Use multi-sensory approaches in as many areas as possible. For example: use colour, pictures, demonstration, listening to explanations, recordings, discussion, written text (yes – some dyslexic people like it!), hands-on exploration and so on. Music is good for this as it involved DOING. Decide what works for you or your student.
  • See whether there may be a problem with seeing music on the page. If text or music seems to swirl around, ‘visual stress’ could be a problem.
  • It can be important for some dyslexic musicians to get a whole picture of a piece before working on it in detail.
  • There are various books available e.g. Music, other Performing Arts and Dyslexia published by the B.D.A.

Further resources

Music and Dyslexia Blog

Finding a dyslexia aware music teacher

Reasonable adjustments in music exams

Music and inclusive teaching (information booklet)

Top Ten Tips

A Pianist's Story

Webinar: 'Music and dyslexia: definitions, difficulties, strengths and stragegies' - a link to the Incorporated Society of Musician's website. The webinar can be accessed with sound and slides or as a pdf.


Practical Solutions for Music Learning course

The BDA also run a Practical Solutions for Music Learning course, for professionals wishing to gain a better understanding of the area. For more information please contact: training@bdadyslexia.org.uk.

Contact us

For further information and help, please contact: bdamusicdyslexia@gmail.com