At least a few times a week, there will be a post like this on a piano teacher Facebook group:
I need some serious help with a student. I'm at a total loss. He's been with me for a year, and he still can't count his quarter notes properly, or figure out the difference between up and down on the staff. He's six years old. Any help appreciated, thank you!
And with astonishing predictability, at least a few people write in:
Does he have a learning disability? Have you asked his parents?
When it comes to reading music, it's not a disability. Especially with younger children. It's the fact that reading was introduced in the wrong part of the learning sequence.
When we were born, we learned language through a magical biological process.
We observed our parents and others speak.
We started copying those words.
After we copied enough of them, we started creating our own ideas with them.
And only after we were fluent, did our parents put books in front of us to even consider teaching us to read.
But somehow with music, traditional teaching jumps straight to the reading part first.
And the result?
It's no longer music for the child. But instead, a frustrating puzzle they've been asked to solve.
But, perhaps out of frustration, teachers will often consider whether it's because of a disability. Not a lack of proper teaching, or understanding how children learn music.
It makes you wonder about all the kids in the world who have been diagnosed with a learning disability.
Could it be that at least some of them just needed a different teaching approach?