[Smt-talk] Dylexia and music theory/aural skills

Deborah Stein dstein36 at comcast.net
Sun Oct 16 07:25:48 PDT 2011

There are several resources to be found on our website.  Check out the Ad
Hoc Committee on Disabilities Issues (under Administration) and the special
interest group DISMUS (under Societies and Interest Groups). The latter
offers a panel of experts you can talk with directly.

I've taught dyslexic students and it's a challenge.  But it is possible,
once the student understands the problem, to make great strides and even
overcome the difficulties!


Deborah Stein
Music Theory Department
New England Conservatory
290 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

(617) 469-2490 


From:  Kris Shaffer <kshaffer at csuniv.edu>
Date:  Fri, 14 Oct 2011 06:50:21 -0400
To:  SMT Talk <smt-talk at societymusictheory.org>
Subject:  [Smt-talk] Dylexia and music theory/aural skills

Dear Colleagues,
I have a freshman music theory and aural skills student who is demonstrating
signs of dyslexia. While she is pursuing testing and an official diagnosis,
I'm searching for ways to help her through some of her specific struggles.
So far I've found some helpful lists of musical problems often associated
with dyslexia, many of which are true for this student, but nothing in terms
of helping an adult learn music theory, dictation, or sight singing. Do any
of you know of specific resources for music theory instructors in this
regard? Or have you found types of practice techniques, assignments,
accommodations that were helpful for a dyslexic student in your charge?
Until we have an official diagnosis, we can't make any testing
accommodations, but I'd like to start tutoring as soon as possible (she
needs tutoring help whether dyslexic or not!), or she may fail the course.
So I'd really appreciate any suggestions for training/practice techniques
that we can try right away.

She is currently in the first semester of theory (finishing up 2-voice
species counterpoint in a week or so and moving on to basic chord
structures) and aural skills (just started a unit with first substantial
focus on melodic dictation, using Karpinski's
protonotation-to-musical-notation method). Any suggestions specific to that
would be amazing. But anything relating to dyslexia and musical notation,
musical instruction, solfege, dictation, etc. would be a big help. And if
any of you with insights want to talk over coffee at SMT, that would be


Kris Shaffer
Assistant Professor of Music Theory
Charleston Southern University

Prof. Kris Shaffer
Charleston Southern University
Horton School of Music
9200 University Boulevard
P.O. Box 118087
Charleston, SC 29423-8087
(843) 863-7964
kshaffer at csuniv.edu

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