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Trouble Learning Guitar
#1 Print Post
Posted on June 14 2011 04:33 PM

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Hello! I'm new to the forums. I was googling if dyscalculia can cause problems learning an instrument and found this site.

I've been taking guitar lessons for a couple of months now and I'm starting to get really frustrated. I know I have a good teacher because he's corrected a lot of bad habits I built up on my own. There's no sight reading involved, only chord names. We've been working on rhythm, switching between chords, and and strumming patterns mostly.

I have improved a lot since I started. I'm just getting frustrated because everything is easy for me (except math haha!), and I'm literally getting headaches from practicing. I was really good at the flute when I was little, even though I couldn't read sheet music.

Can dyscalculia effect an ability to learn an instrument? I'm trying to figure out if its coming from that, or my horrible coordination from my sensory issues. If it is the dyscalculia, do you have any tips to help learn the instrument better? Is there a way I could work on it to make it absorb better?

I don't want to stop playing guitar, since I'm a musician. I already gave up on the piano because I can't read sheet music, but I really want to learn the guitar.

Any help or advice would be appreciated. Smile

#2 Print Post
Posted on June 14 2011 05:55 PM

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Check out the following link:

The article refers to dyslexics, but 40% of dyslexics have dyscalculia too.

Some instruments are more difficult to learn. The article suggests possible problems such as working memory and rhythm.
#3 Print Post
Posted on June 14 2011 10:22 PM

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I'm completely new to these forums as well, but your post intrigued me. I think that dyscalculia must have a huge correlation in terms of ability to play a musical instrument. I would love to know what a more experienced forum member can share.

I started playing violin at age 8 and became a relatively good, solid player. I was concertmistress for 3 years in high school, and played with a community symphony at various times over the past few years as well. I have a good ear, always knew when I or someone else was out of tune, but NEVER, NEVER got a grasp of how to properly read music. (Especially sight reading a difficult piece.) Once I knew how it should sound - great! But figuring out how to count a measure and determine the note all at once is soooooo frustrating.

When I last played with the community symphony a few years ago at age 30, I realized I still used the old Suzuki method of reading music. (Assigning a 1,2,3 and 4 to the notes.) I understand nothing of sharps, keys, scales - but I somehow made myself understand the Suzuki rules of a number for a finger placement. It is why I gave up playing again, because the music became too difficult and made me frustrated. Going to rehearsal brought back that same feeling I would get when my dad tried to tutor me in algebra!

Anyway, I think that, YES, you can learn the guitar simply because you have the desire and seem willing put in the effort. You just may need some creative teaching methods to get there. The method I learned for violin only took me so far, but it worked. Perhaps now that I'm trying to understand my difficulties with math I'll be able to tackle it again; you can do the same.

I'd love to hear what else you find about the connection. Good luck!
#4 Print Post
Posted on June 14 2011 10:41 PM

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Have you seen this?


It was designed by Hubicki and is touted as a multi-sensory approach for teaching how to read music.

Edited by heathermomster on June 14 2011 10:42 PM
#5 Print Post
Posted on September 16 2011 12:29 PM

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There are many guitar tutorial you can find in Practice makes perfect better practice more if you want to be good in guitar. What are you using is it electric guitar or acoustic guitar?
#6 Print Post
Posted on September 16 2011 06:43 PM
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christi-very interesting how you still use Suzuki. I am also a violinist (majoring in Music Ed). I can sight-read well enough, and I can read music no problem. I have a good ear. My problem is counting and not getting lost in all the rests. Since being diagnosed this summer, my prof has changed how she teaches me some, and that is helping.

As far as dyscalculia affecting your ability to learn an instrument, yes, I do believe that there are some issues because of the nature of our LD, but it is very possible for a dyscalculic to become a musician and even to do well at it.
I'm NOT lost, I'm just taking the scenic rout!
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