Shot in the Dark: 9yr old aspie/dyslexic violinist

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lacklustermom
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11 Dec 2012, 1:15 pm

I'm seeking some outside perspective for some trouble my 9yr old son (dx with aspergers/dyslexia at age 6) is having with his violin playing.

The background: He's been playing for 2 1/2 years with the same teacher and has been doing suzuki method for 1 1/2 years. He is on suzuki book 2. He's tried not playing for a month last summer but ended up playing the violin in his head anyway so he went back to it. He has what seems like undue stress and upset when practising any new song, anything he cannot play without mistakes. His new song involves a new bowing technique- he has to play several notes on the same bow stroke and he is having trouble doing it and is getting upset by the effort and is unwilling to try the action over-and-over (the traditional way to practice a music piece, "do it until you get it right") because, I presume, making the mistake feels very "wrong" to him.

So, we are at an impasse, it's been a month and he's made progress on the rest of the song but can't seem to get the new bowing down and even though he can try it briefly with success in his lessons he does not want to try it in practice.

I'm wanting to understand more about this experience he is having. I read in the book "Gift of Dyslexia" about how it can be really upsetting to dyslexics when two senses disagree, something about how their brain is "wired". In this case, from what I can get out of my son, he has the song in his head and when he makes a mistake with the violin in his hands, the two songs disagree and that is very unpleasant for him. Unpleasant= wrong=emotional upset, tension, some stimming etc.

I would like to know if there are any Aspergian/autistic musicians out there who can maybe share their similar experience with us? There must be a way through this, but I don't know what it is. Social stories, a different style of practice, maybe adding awareness from a different perspective- attempting to normalize what he is feeling? :?: :?: :?: Or maybe the teacher is wrong or the Suzuki method is not right for him, or it's not being interpreted correctly for him?

I think I'm feeling desperate for some information about how people on the autism spectrum learn music. Is anyone looking into this?


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MakaylaTheAspie
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11 Dec 2012, 1:24 pm

I had a lot of trouble learning how to play the guitar because I could never get the notes to sound right. I would have the guitar perfectly tuned, I would know all the notes like the back of my hand, but strumming has always been something I could never manage. I can easily form the notes, my left hand is somewhat dominant, but I have to keep a close eye on my right hand so I don't strum the wrong strings. It used to make me so aggravated, to the point where I would just put it away.

I don't know how I got over it, but it is possible.


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lacklustermom
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12 Dec 2012, 3:34 pm

MakaylaTheAspie wrote:
I had a lot of trouble learning how to play the guitar because I could never get the notes to sound right. I would have the guitar perfectly tuned, I would know all the notes like the back of my hand, but strumming has always been something I could never manage. I can easily form the notes, my left hand is somewhat dominant, but I have to keep a close eye on my right hand so I don't strum the wrong strings. It used to make me so aggravated, to the point where I would just put it away.

I don't know how I got over it, but it is possible.



also From animalcrakers who posted on the same thread in the parents forum: "I sometimes get extremely frustrated when I can't get a piece of music to come out right. When the frustration becomes too much, I need to stop trying for a while (take a break), or try to play something else (something easier) until the frustration passes.

In my case, the problem is that sometimes when the notes I hear on the outside don't match the notes I hear on the inside, the whole pattern of the song gets interrupted and falls apart. I lose my place: Suddenly I can't find the next note and I've forgotten the one that came before it. It's a bit like the floor suddenly dropping out from under your feet ... when it happens over and over and over and over it can get to be intolerably frustrating."

YES! I know music is frustrating for everyone. I do feel though that there may be a unique intensity of feelings and maybe even sensations which are activated when an autistic person is having difficulty learning a new piece of music or new music skill. It's this intensity which I feel I needed to understand better so I could figure out appropriate strategies to manage it.

What I am learning here is so important and this is what I have gotten so far: It seems the truth is that intolerable frustration moments 1)are part of a common experience and so can be see as an accepted part of the process 2) are disorienting and upsetting in a deeply significant way which has to be acknowledged by the student parent and teacher 3)these moments can be dealt with by taking breaks, this is a point where strong words of validation and reassurance are needed.

I hope others will continue to share their unique experiences with learning music. I find it fascinating and am already working on some things with my son based on input from members of this forum. Thank you!


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