Music and dyslexia:
Recent information, greetings and links
From the British Dyslexia Association Music Committee
No 2. November 2012
The contents of this newsletter can be summarised as follows:
The committee – including new people
Our baby – a book!
Dyslexia Friendly Good Practice Guide
Information: a booklet
Contact with the Music Publishers’ Association
Accessible formatting
Courses supported by BDA Music
Music Expo 2013
If this sounds as if BDA Music is doing a lot – it is!!
Which leads to the apology…
That this 2nd newsletter is nearly 10 months after first one! Just too
busy, both with work and BDA business!
The BDA Music Committee
has recently been joined by a new member, Rosemary Hodi.
There are also 2 other new people, currently observers, who, it is hoped will
become full members of the committee shortly:
Dan Jones &
Anna Pitt
This is us at the Dyslexia Teaching Centre, having a meeting (& biscuits)!
Plus Katie who wasn’t at this meeting in June 2012 
Some information about us:
Paula Bishop-Liebler is an additional support tutor and assessor working
with students from various institutions including the Royal College of Music,
Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Royal Academy of Music and the
Dyslexia Teaching Centre. She is completing doctoral research in music and
dyslexia within HE
Sally Daunt is a support tutor at The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts
and Liverpool Hope University and previously also at the Royal Northern
College of Music and the University of Manchester. She taught music and
performing arts at secondary and FE level, plays piano and is a choral singer.
She is currently Chair of BDA Music.
Rosemary Hodi is a music graduate of the University of Birmingham. She is
a solo singer and a primary teacher with class teaching experience including
music work using Kodály principles. She has written reviews & articles for the
Musical Times & Music Teacher. She is an individual dyslexia teacher at
primary level and delivers training in dyslexia for school staff and parents.
Dan Jones attended York Minster School and Leeds College of Music after
which he spent many years teaching in primary, secondary and further
education. In 2008 he was awarded the National Music Teacher of the Year
Award at the Royal Albert Hall. Dan is now Managing Director of The Mix
Music Education.
Margaret Malpas is joint Chair of the B.D.A. and also a volunteer in which
capacity she uses her previous professional training (Chartered F.C.I.P.D.)
and specialist teacher A.M.B.D.A. (F.E.) to act as workplace lead for the
organisation. Her music interests include playing the piano, singing and
attending classical and jazz concerts.
Karen Marshall is a practising classroom, peripatetic and private music
teacher in York, working with students of all abilities and ages, from 5 to 70.
She specialises in multi-sensory teaching and is a Kodály practitioner. Karen
trains music teachers nationally to work with students who have SpLDs. She
has had a book published for adults returning to the piano and writes for the
Music Teacher magazine.
Christine McRitchie Pratt has always been, and still is, involved in music
teaching and music making in Cambridgeshire, working in a wide field of all
ages and instruments. She is a founder member of the Cambridge Youth
Music Competition and lectures on music and dyslexia to schools, music
agencies and on the A.B.R.S.M. Certificate of Teaching course.
Katie Overy is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh with research
interests in the potential effects of music on other areas of learning, including
dyslexic children’s language and literacy skills.
Anna Pitt is a postdoctoral Research Psychologist at the
University of Oxford and Chartered Psychologist for the Dyslexia Research
Trust. Her main research interests are in the auditory deficits of dyslexia, and
how different levels of education impact on dyslexia. She helps people of all
ages to fully understand their own individual form of dyslexia and create
strategies which will help them.
So – we have a wide ranging base of interests and expertise, but we are also
quite a fun group of people!
Our baby – a book!
The BDA has recently published a set of 10 new books, one of which is:
Music, other Performing Arts and Dyslexia. It is available from the BDA shop
@ £15 and is currently selling well. Contact: http://www.bdastore.org.uk/
Chapters in it are:
‘What is dyslexia’
Margaret Malpas
‘Issue and strategies that can be applied to most areas of the performing arts’
Sally Daunt
‘A bank of ideas for classroom teaching with the dyslexic pupil in mind’
Karen Marshall
‘You are never too old to learn: instrumental teaching for all ages’
Christine McRitchie Pratt
‘Music in Higher Education’
Paula Bishop-Liebler and Sally Daunt
‘Dyslexia and sight-reading for actors’
Deborah Leveroy
‘Dance: an overview’
Sally Daunt
‘Difficulties in drawing, music and dance: common areas and the development
of The Creative Mentor Foundation’
Qona Rankin
‘Assistive technology: improved learning for those with dyslexia’
Dan Jones
‘Reasonable adjustments in performing arts examinations’
Sally Daunt
If you haven’t yet had a look at it (or bought it, or persuaded a local school,
library or college to buy it), please do so!
Everything in it was thoroughly researched and peer reviewed and, as far as I
know, it is the only book of its kind in the UK, certainly – possibly the world!
As you can see, most of the material in the book is by members of the
committee. Additionally we had invaluable help from Deborah Leveroy, who
trained as an actor at Drama Studio London. She is currently involved in a
practice-based PhD at the University of Kent which looks at best practice for
dyslexic learners in the acting profession and in training. She is an associate
lecturer in acting at the University of Kent and runs ‘The Dyslexia Toolbox’ at
the Actors Centre in London.
Another contributor is Qona Rankin. Qona is currently the dyslexia coordinator at the Royal College of Art. She studied three-dimensional design
and design education and for many years taught on a Product Design B.A.
It was great to have them ‘on board’ with this project and also to have the
support and advice from Edel Quin, the Programme Leader in MSc Dance
Science at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. It is good to
explore links with other performing arts and we look forward to more such
collaboration. It can only be positive.
Dyslexia Friendly Good Practice Guide
This is a chunky guide which has been produced by the B.D.A. for distribution
to schools (and others). There is a small chapter (2 pages and a bit) about
accessible music teaching, based on material in our book and information
booklet. [Ch. 12 ‘Dyslexia Friendly Music Teaching’]
Information – a booklet
As a further initiative in the important area of communication, BDA Music has
produced an information booklet:
Music and inclusive teaching: information from the British Dyslexia Association
Music Committee.
This is sent by email to people who enquire.
It will be available to buy as a small, low-priced booklet.
It has been available on the Music Teachers.co.uk website:
This site, in conjunction with the Musicians’ Union, is well worth looking at,
even though our information booklet is not currently on it.
The aim of the booklet is to help anyone – student, teacher, performer,
parent or anyone interested in music, who may be curious or concerned
about the implications of dyslexia…
Contact with the Music Publishers’ Association
B.D.A. Music has had some very positive contact with the M.P.A. in the last
few months. When writing the book, we found ourselves having to
recommend repeatedly, that, if people want to copy music on to tinted paper
or enlarge it for public performance, including exams, this needs to be done
with careful consideration of the law as such a practice is, at present, illegal,
except in very particular circumstances.
We contacted the M.P.A. about the situation.
They are revising their Code of Fair Practice and asked for our advice. The
revised Code will include references to the various adjustments available to
people with a ‘cognitive impairment’ such as (but not limited to) dyslexia. The
advice is likely to be that copying on to coloured paper and/or enlargement of
music (for example) for the purposes of accessibility will be OK as long as the
original copy is in the person’s possession. Good news.
Accessible formatting
Sally Daunt has been co-opted on to a new music subject area group formed
by the United Kingdon Association of Accessible Formatting (U.K.A.A.F.). This
is an organisation which is ‘passionate about the right of all individuals to be
able to read independently, and that all accessible formats should be of the
same standard as the equivalent print information’.
This group has only just been formed by Sally Zimmermann of the R.N.I.B.
with a view to looking at modified stave notation, large print music, talking
scores, Braille music and modified Braille music.
Although there will be an emphasis within the group on the accessibility of
music for blind and visually impaired people, the difficulties encountered by
dyslexic people and others with SpLDs will be explored. The development of
modified stave notation is particularly good news for dyslexic people as this
format is far better than merely enlarging music.
Watch this space for more news.
Courses supported by BDA Music
Karen Marshall has been extremely busy working on 2 music courses, both of
which emphasise accessible music.
Level 4 Certificate for Music Educators
is in its final stages of development.
BDA level 2/3 qualification
This course should be ready for approval by the end of 2012 – for
accreditation by OCNCredit4learning. Delivery is then planned from May 2013.
It will be possible to do a Level 2 qualification first. This will involve 3 days of
work, including one on music. A Level 3 qualification will include 3 days on
It is aimed at music teachers in the following categories:
Secondary music teachers; peripatetic music teachers; those at private
schools and music specialists of other kinds.
It will cover teaching work with ages 5 to 18 and will be based on practical
strategies. There will be no pre-requirement for the course. Karen Marshall
and Cyrilla Rowsell from the British Kodály Academy will provide the input.
Music Expo
The Music Education Expo will be held at the Barbican Centre, London on 20th
– 21st March 2013. This event has superseded ‘Music Live’ and is cheaper: the
event will be free for teachers. It is, according to the Musicians’ Union, ‘the
largest conference and training event for music teachers ever to be held in
the UK’. It will include a ‘fully comprehensive exhibition and trade show – as
well as over 50 seminars and workshops for primary, secondary and
instrumental teachers’ (see the Musicians’ Union web page:
http://www.musiciansunion.org.uk/news-events/2012/09/25/musiceducation-expo-20-21-march-2013/). BDA Music will be there throughout,
offering chat and advice and copies of the book and the information booklet
(as well as other material) will be available for sale. We are hoping to have
striking T-shirts. We will be sharing the ‘Music-Mix’ stand and are very
grateful to Dan Jones for this help. Come and talk to us!
Contact us
Please contact us if you have queries, ideas or suggestions for new contacts.
Sally Daunt: [email protected] or via the BDA: [email protected]

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