I was quite dyslexic as a child and struggled through elementary school where reading was concerned. However my math was pretty good so I had no trouble grasping rhythms and identifying scales as patterns on a piano which I learned to play by ear. Now as an adult I have been taking cello lessons and am really struggling with reading sheet music. Has anyone here had a student with similar issues or gone through this themselves? How did you manage to overcome this?

  • Just to confirm, are you struggling with resolving the order of the notes? Learning to read sheet music can be quite difficult for anyone, especially and adult, so it may not be the case that you are having particular difficulty.
    – user28
    May 21, 2014 at 3:40
  • Yes. Order of the notes is the main problem especially when multiple eighth notes are beamed together. It's hard to explain! Kind of like confusing between 'b' and 'd'.
    – crypton480
    May 21, 2014 at 18:52
  • There are software and notation-based solutions for the blind and visually impaired that may also be of use for someone with dyslexia. Please see this answer for more information.
    – Aaron
    Oct 11, 2020 at 6:01

2 Answers 2


One suggestion. I have no idea if this actually works, but if ever there were an occasion to try it, this is it: colored gel overlays for dyslexia. That article also suggests that highlighting (with a highlighter marker) can be helpful; I don't have dyslexia, but when I need to read a score where I'm reading an inner part of many, if I'm being all responsible and grown-up, I'll highlight or otherwise mark up my score so I can find my line reliably. I sometimes make photocopies of music I don't want to scribble all over (next time I might be on a different part, e.g.), so I have a copy I can write on.

  • 1
    I can confirm .. I have a student with dyslexia who has issues with written words and sheet music .. in both cases printing on pink paper almost eradicates the issue. May 15, 2014 at 17:40

Another suggestion to try:

Notation programs like Finale can color the note heads to any specified color. Perhaps the colors would help to keep the note heads in proper order.

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