Sally Daunt, Chair of B.D.A. Music Committee, has contributed to a UK Association for Accessible Formats (UKAFF) publication about meeting individual needs for large print music, Modified Stave Notation (MSN).
One of the British Dyslexia Association books for its 40th anniversary was “Music, other Performing Arts and Dyslexia”. It includes a whole chapter and several other references about Assistive Technology for music by members of the B.D.A. Music committee.
Chapter 9. Assistive technology: improved learning for those with dyslexia. Dan Jones. Pages 123 to 133.
- Free Bandplayer offers a great starting point for all students. Its tracks are pre-recorded and limited in number. They are also based solely around rock and pop music.
- R-Mix software by the Roland Corporation allows tutors to take any music stored on their PC, Mac or iPad and manipulate it, in ways similar to ‘Bandplayer’.
- Notion App is an iPad application available from the App store.
- Progression is a PC or Mac based notation. This is an ideal stepping stone following on from the ‘Notion App’.
- Notion 5 is a PC or Mac based notation program which feels and operates very much like the iPad application which helps transition tremendously.
- The assistive technology recommended within this chapter is just the tip of the iceberg.
Chapter 3. A bank of ideas for classroom teaching with the dyslexic pupil in mind.
- Notion 3 music software [as above] to demonstrate the timbre of different instruments.
- You Tube videos which can provide visual representations of activities. Examples include Child’s play music. You can also search for clips showing, for example, how to play a clapping game called Tic Tac Toe.
- A case study mentions a student using Sibelius.
‘Luke’ was extremely dyslexic yet a super musician with a great voice and a wonderful musical tone on his violin. For his GCSE music he wrote a piece of music based on Handel’s Passacaglia in G minor. We took the chord structure from the Handel, which he inputted into the music writing program, Sibelius, and he then improvised over the top with his violin and recorded this to come up with several variations. He notated into Sibelius what he thought he had played, constantly checking this against his recording, until he had an entire piece of music: his own set of variations based on Handel’s beautiful harmonic bass line.
Chapter 4. You are never too old to learn: instrumental teaching for all ages.
- The electronic keyboard is an alternative but it is important that a good teacher is found who can not only teach the correct way to use the instrument but also teach improvisation, for example using the automatic chord functions. Electronic keyboard exams are available from Trinity College, London, amongst others.
Contact the B.D.A. Music Committee.