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Challenges to Learning

Sometimes, however much you try, you feel


held back,

pulled back.

It’s like wading through treacle;

all your attempts are thwarted,

and you decide there must be something wrong with you,  so you quit.



Well, it might not be all your issues you know.

There may be things you can put in place to help you succeed.



Challenges to Learning  (not hindrances)


1. Bad teachers

We’ve all either experienced or heard of the type of teacher

Who puts you down, instead of encouraging you.

Who wants to show off.  Ego problems.

Who tries to big themselves up, by confusing you with complicated techniques and jargon phrases.

Who makes no attempt to understand you, or your language, or the way you learn.


Pick a teacher who you gel with.

Someone who you feel safe with.

Someone who challenges you in a healthy, inspiring way.



2. Black Strings on a Black Fretboard

Who’s idea was this?!

Nylon strings used to be white, and fretboards used to be brown.

What chance do visually impaired people have when confronted with black-on-black?

Bad idea.



3. Long Nails

A challenge to guitarists and pianists alike.

I start all my students off using the tips of their fingers.

It’s a cultural and social habit, that some people like to have long nails.

But it may get in the way of your learning to play an instrument.



4. Dyslexia

This is lethal for numbers, for words, and for reading sheet music!

The digits appear the wrong-way-round.

Who made sheet music so small anyway!

Let’s have bold stave lines and big dots.


I have come across a kind of Visual Dyslexia, where the hands appear blurred.

So telling students to focus on their hands is sometimes counter-productive.

Perhaps closing their eyes and visualising their fingers would be more helpful.

This also applies to drumming, where it’s difficult to concentrate on so many things at the same time. Counting, which drum to hit, each limb doing something different.  Closing eyes may help.



5. Dyspraxia

I have had students who play an entire piano piece correctly once.

Then they play the same piece again, in a completely different place on the keyboard.

I look at the side of their head with love and fascination, wondering what they can see and hear.

Other students play the correct chords for a song, but again in a completely different place on the guitar.

This also applies to Djembe drums, people hitting the middle or the edge, wondering why they don’t sound like me.



6. Irlen Syndrome

This is interesting, because it can cause so much stress, frustration and headaches, but can easily be solved with overlays and coloured glasses.  If it’s recognised, that is.



Of course there are many other challenges – let’s overcome them together!

I am fascinated with how people learn, and it is my greatest joy to find a way for people to excel and succeed.

Understanding our challenges,

acknowledging them,

owning up to them,

is half-way to conquering them.


If you would like to know more about Music Lessons in Colwyn Bay/Llandudno area, please contact us.