Author Topic: I'm dyslexic, is it possible for me to learn guitar?  (Read 11052 times)

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Offline Arcanum101

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I'm dyslexic, is it possible for me to learn guitar?
« on: January 24, 2015, 04:02:04 pm »
Hey there Justin, and all you guys,

I'm dyslexic and have a lot of trouble with my recall and learning in general. Am I wasting my time trying to learn to play something as complex as a guitar?

When I was at school I tried to learn to play the Saxophone, I got to a certain point and simply couldn't progress any further.
The same seems to have happened with the guitar. I've tried to learn on three previous occasions.
Firstly I found a local tutor via the internet. I had a good number of lessons, all of them with me feeling quite self conscious. After a while of feeling I wasn't really learning much I asked the tutor right out if he thought I was as bad as I thought I was. His reply was, 'It's not my place to say.' I stopped going to those lessons.
The second was a little while later with a tutorial pack I bought called 'Learn and Master Guitar with Steve Krenz. I hit a sticking point very early on and gave up.
A couple of years later a guy I knew revealed, quite by chance, that he taught guitar. I told him my predicament of not being able to learn and he insisted dyslexia wouldn't hold me back. I had around 10, 1 to 2 hours lessons with him but I didn't think any progress was really made beyond the second lesson, so I quit again.

I'm by no means saying the methods I've tried are not good, I'm sure they are very good. I feel like I'm the one with the problem here and I was hoping you might be able to tell me, once and for all, if dyslexia is a restriction when it comes to guitar and would hold me back. I'm also quite old, 47, I'm guessing this will slow down my progress too.

I don't want to give the impression that I'm a quitter, I did but a lot of time and effort into trying to learn, I just never seemed to move forward.

Thanks very much for taking the time to read this, I very much appreciate it.
All the best,
Rob.

Offline TheCasual

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Re: I'm dyslexic, is it possible for me to learn guitar?
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2015, 04:15:43 pm »
As someone who was diagnosed with dyslexia when I was about 6 I know how tough it can be.

I've just learnt to deal with it and doesn't effect my day to day life.

A fair few talented people have dyslexia. Steve Jobs, Noel Gallagher, Orlando Bloom, Tom Cruise, Steve McQueen, Guy Richie and countless more in all different types of industries.

I believe if you follow Justin's courses and have determination you can learn.

 
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Offline Borodog

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Re: I'm dyslexic, is it possible for me to learn guitar?
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2015, 04:21:46 pm »
You keep saying you are stuck. Where are you stuck at? What can you do now on guitar, and what would you like to do next but feel you can't?
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Offline Majik

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Re: I'm dyslexic, is it possible for me to learn guitar?
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2015, 04:27:56 pm »
Sorry if this seems a bit brutal but, my personal view is that I don't think your perceived problems are anything to do with your dyslexia. I'm sorry, but it just seems like an excuse.

Learning the guitar is difficult.

Everyone who has ever learned the guitar has reached plateaus and struggled to move on. This is the reason there are so many unused guitars under beds and in closets. Do some searching on this forum and you'll see that what you are experiencing isn't unique to you... far from it: it's very common.
And a lot of it is mental.

The problem is you seem to have got it into your head that you are somehow disabled or majorly disadvantaged when it comes to learning the guitar. That thought is what is stopping you from moving on.

I do appreciate there are challenges with accessing some of the training material, especially with written courses and reading music scores/notation, but with video lessons (especially on Justin's site) this can mostly be avoided. There are plenty of people I know with dyslexia who play the guitar fantastically.

I do appreciate that you need to check if your experiences are abnormal or not. It is not abnormal. It is totally normal. Now you know that, my suggestion is you can discount it as a reason/excuse and start moving forward.

Instead of thinking that you cannot do it, start thinking that you can.

Because, if you really want to, you can!

Cheers,

Keith
« Last Edit: January 24, 2015, 05:12:24 pm by Majik »
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Offline shadowscott007

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Re: I'm dyslexic, is it possible for me to learn guitar?
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2015, 04:29:06 pm »
Short answer:  Yes.

It may not be the instrument itself. I would think it is probably more related to the teaching methods used to learn. 

Playing the guitar is all about fingers, ears and sound. 

Learning guitar is often about diagrams, dots on paper, charts, etc.  Just because that is what usually works.  Stuff gets written down as a aid to remember stuff, until the fingers and ears have it down.

So the stuff to be taught would remain the same, but the methods to teach that stuff might have to be modified based on the specific issues dyslexia presents.  An average run of the mill teacher may not be inclined - or capable - of that adaptation. 

Not sure exactly where the roadblocks occur; but I suspect there is a way through, around, under, or over said roadblock - although creativity may be required.

Shadow


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Offline H M Murdock

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Re: I'm dyslexic, is it possible for me to learn guitar?
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2015, 05:05:33 pm »
My girlfriend, my brother, and several others I know have dyslexia and in each of them are good with their hands, they are all practical people in their own ways but they can learn things which involve using the hands faster than I can. Maybe that's just the way we compensate one talent for another as humans?

It's fair to say that dyslexia may well affect the learning curve in terms of written material however it doesn't affect the hands.

As hinted at by others confidence is a key factor. My girlfriend said she couldn't do her healthcare qualification online due to dyslexia and I told her she could. On the first module of her course I told her she wouldn't get any help from me no matter what and although that may sound harsh she learned she could do it when she achieved a score of 97% under her own steam. I'm not saying it was easy for her and she does have to work hard at such things but she learned she can do it and is now far more confident in herself.

Be confident in your own abilities, as said use the diagrams. You made the decision to learn the guitar, you have the desire, so follow that desire and use it to your advantage.

And never forget you have a world of support too, we're all here to help each other :)
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Offline BartNL

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Re: I'm dyslexic, is it possible for me to learn guitar?
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2015, 10:12:41 am »
I don't think I would be qualified to answer your question in the way you asked it. I do not have any professional knowledge about dyslexia, and the same would hold for many on this forum. What I do know is that in my professional life (in higher education), I sometimes meet dyslexic students, and with a bit of help, they can do everything that the non-dyslexic students can.

Two pieces of advice:

1) As already suggested earlier in this thread, tell us what are the specific problems that you ran into in your earlier attempts. Why did you think you were no good? What are the things that you can do? What are the things you tried doing? What are the things your teachers would let you practice at home?

2) Have you asked professionals in the healthcare system what they think about your question?
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Offline close2u

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Re: I'm dyslexic, is it possible for me to learn guitar?
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2015, 10:16:51 am »
Welcome to the forum.

The answer you seek is:


YES


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Offline TB-AV

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Re: I'm dyslexic, is it possible for me to learn guitar?
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2015, 03:56:22 pm »
I had a guitar teacher that was dyslexic. He could play the strings off the guitar and banjo. He was friends with and taught many of the old country and bluegrass acts in VA. He also help establish the electronic music school at the local university. He played keyboards as well. I know he taught a State champion banjo player and he taught Roy Clarke's nephew the banjo as I saw that first hand. I believe he taught some violin lessons as well.

I don't know much about dyslexia but I don't think it impacts your hearing. Music is about hearing to a great degree.
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Offline Arcanum101

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Re: I'm dyslexic, is it possible for me to learn guitar?
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2015, 07:54:02 pm »
As someone who was diagnosed with dyslexia when I was about 6 I know how tough it can be.

I've just learnt to deal with it and doesn't effect my day to day life.

A fair few talented people have dyslexia. Steve Jobs, Noel Gallagher, Orlando Bloom, Tom Cruise, Steve McQueen, Guy Richie and countless more in all different types of industries.

I believe if you follow Justin's courses and have determination you can learn.

I too try just to get on with life when it comes to dyslexia mate. Glad to hear you're coping with yours so well.
Thanks for the encouragement about trying Justin's course.

Since you suffer from dyslexia and you've been learning guitar since 2013, can I ask how you're coping with the process of learning, and how far on you've managed to get in your playing? I know there are many different levels of dyslexia so I can't really measure your experiences with my own, but I would be very interested to know.
Thanks very much for commenting.

Offline Arcanum101

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Re: I'm dyslexic, is it possible for me to learn guitar?
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2015, 08:17:44 pm »
You keep saying you are stuck. Where are you stuck at? What can you do now on guitar, and what would you like to do next but feel you can't?

Hey there mate, thanks for taking the time to ask.

I guess the main and consistent problem is progression.
For example, my tutor would give me a short piece of music to practice. Obviously on the first night of practising I'd be quite slow and clumsy, but I'd get just a little better on that night. But for the rest of the week of practising I wouldn't progress past that point. I wouldn't gain pace, wouldn't get less clumsy on fingering the strings, wouldn't pluck the strings any more accurately. I've tried as little as 15 minutes to as much as 2 hours of practice per night and there doesn't seem to be any gain.
I'm not expecting to play the piece like a pro in a week, but I would think there would be a noticeable gain within seven days. And that's not just with one piece of music, that's with everything I've been given from two different tutors and one video course. Obviously my frustration levels got quite high. That's why I came here to ask the question about my dyslexia.

Believe me, no one wants my dyslexia to have nothing to do with my sticking problem more than me. I am sincerely hoping this is just a mental thing and that I can solve it, hopefully with the help of this course and you guys on the forum.

What can I do now on the guitar? Very little really, consider me a complete beginner. I haven't picked one up in a couple of years so I'd be starting a complete new.

What would I like to do next? I just want to move forward. I want to start a complete new and build, push past my problem. I would just like to be shown a learning proses I can get to grips with.

Thanks very much.

Offline Arcanum101

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Re: I'm dyslexic, is it possible for me to learn guitar?
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2015, 08:28:22 pm »
Sorry if this seems a bit brutal but, my personal view is that I don't think your perceived problems are anything to do with your dyslexia. I'm sorry, but it just seems like an excuse.

Learning the guitar is difficult.

Everyone who has ever learned the guitar has reached plateaus and struggled to move on. This is the reason there are so many unused guitars under beds and in closets. Do some searching on this forum and you'll see that what you are experiencing isn't unique to you... far from it: it's very common.
And a lot of it is mental.

The problem is you seem to have got it into your head that you are somehow disabled or majorly disadvantaged when it comes to learning the guitar. That thought is what is stopping you from moving on.

I do appreciate there are challenges with accessing some of the training material, especially with written courses and reading music scores/notation, but with video lessons (especially on Justin's site) this can mostly be avoided. There are plenty of people I know with dyslexia who play the guitar fantastically.

I do appreciate that you need to check if your experiences are abnormal or not. It is not abnormal. It is totally normal. Now you know that, my suggestion is you can discount it as a reason/excuse and start moving forward.

Instead of thinking that you cannot do it, start thinking that you can.

Because, if you really want to, you can!

Cheers,

Keith

Brutal or not, this is actually what I wanted to be told!
I truly want this problem to be something outside my dyslexia, because then I know I'd have a better chance of getting past it.
It's quite strange you would say 'Instead of thinking that you cannot do it, start thinking that you can." because my wife has actually used that very phrase with me before. Maybe it's more accurate in reference to me than I thought.

Thank you very much for this great and encouraging comment, it's very much appreciated believe me!

Offline Arcanum101

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Re: I'm dyslexic, is it possible for me to learn guitar?
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2015, 08:43:15 pm »
Short answer:  Yes.

It may not be the instrument itself. I would think it is probably more related to the teaching methods used to learn. 

Playing the guitar is all about fingers, ears and sound. 

Learning guitar is often about diagrams, dots on paper, charts, etc.  Just because that is what usually works.  Stuff gets written down as a aid to remember stuff, until the fingers and ears have it down.

So the stuff to be taught would remain the same, but the methods to teach that stuff might have to be modified based on the specific issues dyslexia presents.  An average run of the mill teacher may not be inclined - or capable - of that adaptation. 

Not sure exactly where the roadblocks occur; but I suspect there is a way through, around, under, or over said roadblock - although creativity may be required.

Shadow

Thanks very much for the yes vote mate.

I think you've probably hit the nail right on the head there mate.
I learn far quicker and absorb far more by watching things being done than I ever do reading instructions. Both the tutors I had did use very similar methods to teach, even though their theories were quite different, and those methods didn't change even when I voiced the fact I was struggling. Maybe Justin's course is the approach I need.
Thanks very much for taking the time to let me know what you think mate.

Offline Setneck Tele USA

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Re: I'm dyslexic, is it possible for me to learn guitar?
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2015, 08:49:18 pm »
I think you can learn, if you truly want to.  I wish I could get you for a month because it seems you may need some special type formatted instructions.

The problem I have seen with so many teachers is they teach certain things, sometimes it gets out of order and to many times they don't set goals, and to many times they don't explain the why behind things.  And way to many times they know how to play guitar, but don't have a clue how to teach.  Teaching is a skill you're born with, it just doesn't happen because you decide to teach someone something, and the teaching has to be rewarding for the teacher, or they suck at it.
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Offline Arcanum101

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Re: I'm dyslexic, is it possible for me to learn guitar?
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2015, 08:56:14 pm »
My girlfriend, my brother, and several others I know have dyslexia and in each of them are good with their hands, they are all practical people in their own ways but they can learn things which involve using the hands faster than I can. Maybe that's just the way we compensate one talent for another as humans?

It's fair to say that dyslexia may well affect the learning curve in terms of written material however it doesn't affect the hands.

As hinted at by others confidence is a key factor. My girlfriend said she couldn't do her healthcare qualification online due to dyslexia and I told her she could. On the first module of her course I told her she wouldn't get any help from me no matter what and although that may sound harsh she learned she could do it when she achieved a score of 97% under her own steam. I'm not saying it was easy for her and she does have to work hard at such things but she learned she can do it and is now far more confident in herself.

Be confident in your own abilities, as said use the diagrams. You made the decision to learn the guitar, you have the desire, so follow that desire and use it to your advantage.

And never forget you have a world of support too, we're all here to help each other :)

I've heard it phrased that dyslexics think in three dimensions instead of the normal two dimensions. Mybe that's why our thought processes can get so lost but we are a little more aware of physical space, like using our hands.

I appreciate your comment about confidence being a key factor, I'm not the most confident bloke, to be honest. Even when I was practising guitar at home during my past attempts to learn I would actually try to play as quietly as possible so no one could hear my mistakes.

Thanks very much for the offer of help mate, it's already being a great benefit and is boosting my willingness to try again.

 

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