I worked with my daughter on learning her letters with sounds, books, tiles, refrigerator magnets, ect from age 1 to 5 and she could not retain the information. I could not get her to learn any letter but A, then the next day she could do half of them and then the next day or an hour later she couldn't say any of them. When she got to Kindergarten she took off with reading and went from nothing to a 5th grade level in 2 years.

Now she has been taking piano for 3 years and still randomly cannot remember the letter names. Her piano teacher calls it a "knowledge dump". She couldn't even find middle C one day.

Has anyone experienced this? She is Gifted and Talented and a very good artist. She wants to quit music because of the frustration of reading the note names. I have a degree in music and she begged for years to play and I hate that she has frustration. The school tested her and found no evidence of dyslexia.

  • 1
    Has she ever shown the same issue with full words, or was unable to play a piece of music all of a sudden? It kind of sounds like she just skips the "that so simple and booooring" bits....
    – Layna
    Commented Jan 1, 2017 at 11:29
  • Honestly, if she was tested for dyslexia, and they thought there was another learning disability, I think it would have been suggested. Could you label the notes and take the pressure off?
    – WRX
    Commented Jan 2, 2017 at 14:32
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    How old is your daughter if I may ask? This is a common occurrence in children from age 3-6 and I may have an answer (from my research), but if your child is older (6+) there might be a different reason for it, and my answer may not fit.
    – Anoplexian
    Commented Jan 5, 2017 at 21:34

1 Answer 1


Knowing letter names is a means to an end, not an end in itself. If she can correctly correlate the position of the note on the staff and its position on the keyboard, I would say she is successfully understanding the concepts. Of course, identifying the notes correctly is ultimately important, but for reasons beyond actual playing. Young children learn something, forget it, re-learn it and continue that process until the learning becomes permanent. I'd encourage her to read new music by intervals, learn pieces by rote, and explore creating her own music. It's all part of making music!

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