F.I.M. Federazione Italiana Musicoterapeuti

Learning problems

Age of development

Dyslexia, anorthography, dysgraphia, difficulties in arithmetic, dyscalculia, attention deficit, particular behaviours (aggressiveness, excess of liveliness, inability to keep still, indifference, apathy, excessive use of swearing, poor socialization, tendency to loneliness, bullying, etc. )


Sound Dialogue and the use of Body Resonance create a context in which the child behaves in a spontaneous way. This allows, also through the presence of parents, to know how really the child is, that is, to focus if there are troubles, or behaviours that occur at school and not at home or something else.
The child, having the feeling of being received and not judged, will show himself. A dialogue is created between the music therapist and the child. The dialogue can be verbal or musical (the endless versions of the sound dialogue). This flexibility allows the child to express his doubts, his way of thinking. The process starts, together with its going towards constructive experiences which help the child to open himself to a way of assess the events of his life in a unusual or even new way.

Scientific Aspects

A child who has difficulties in learning to write and to read, notices that this leaves him at a lower level than his mates. It does not take long and a feeling of lack of confidence establishes in him and this can be at the origins of his behaviours ( lack of commitment, aggressiveness, irregularity in the commitment, shortness of attention, discouragement, etc.). but this could also be at the origins of a chronic learning trouble which could achieve levels of pathology. The epistemological basis (Theoretical Basis), on which humanistic music therapy is founded, open an endless world of experiences where it is possible to observe which the resistance or the internal difficulties are which block learning. The relationship between the expressive gestures, sounds, voice, articulation, the deepest meaning of words and written signs becomes a wonderful world to be discovered and which opens towards knowledge.
There are children who have difficulties in learning calculation. The Theoretical Basis of Humanistic Music Therapy and of Musical Pedagogy, A.P.P.M model, clarify that the rhythmical order of numbers is part, as words, of the human being.
Why then do so many “normal” children have difficulties in implementing this order?
Why should the relationship mother-child be disturbed because of the child not learning his tables by heart?
In the shops there are many texts dedicated to childhood which claim to make the children learn their table, with a mechanical memory, often associated to nursery rhymes or to colours or images which recall the concept of number. In this way, we are making use of music (use of CDs) to implement a learning on mechanical association, that is training. If there are so many books focusing on mechanical learning means that, for many teachers, the failure of many students is a difficult burden to sustain and face. Also for the teaching of music there are many books which propose activities disguised as games for the learning of notation.
Why do we have to use with children associations so far from reality and create then conditioned reflexes?
Music therapy and musical pedagogy have as a starting point the distinction between: educate and train.
All that concerns the written signs invented by men during history (letters of the alphabet, numbers, musical notes) have something in common with corporeity. When the child has the occasion of experimenting through himself, he arrives at learning without making any effort.
It is not so easy to understand- if we consider the exercises of Italian or maths in a school we can verify (it happened to us as well in the past) that the exercise proposed has in itself the procedure and the end. This way of working is the refusal of experience. Experiencing incites the research of different solutions. At the end you choose the most direct and less hard-working solution. The discussion which is between experience and the final solution is the reason why we want to go on.
Acting through experiencing leads the child to learn finding the similarities between himself (corporeity, his past, and his experiences) and the written signs. It is a way of acting which has not been used with us in the past, it’s not in the way of working of teachers. This is why taking care of the problems of today children means taking care, in first place, of ourselves. Are adults ready for this?

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Translations Chiara Meloni