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Blog:  In the News

Mick Fleetwood Credits Dyslexia for Drumming Style

In the News blog post by Geri Coleman Tucker
Dec 09, 2014

Mick Fleetwood from the band Fleetwood Mac performing on NBC’s “Today” show

Mick Fleetwood says he wouldn’t be the drummer he is today without his dyslexia. He writes about dyslexia and his music in his new memoir, Play On: Now, Then, and Fleetwood Mac, which he coauthored with Anthony Bozza.

His unorthodox drumming style has been described as “casual, nontechnical and inexplicable.” Fleetwood offers a similar view of his playing in his book. “Dyslexia has absolutely tempered the way I think about rhythm and the way I’ve played my instrument,” he writes. “By nature, what we drummers do is manage a series of spinning plates… (but) my methods of keeping my plates spinning are entirely my own.”

For a taste of Fleetwood’s genius on the drums, watch this short video of him in concert.

Fleetwood, 67, says little was known about dyslexia when he was a kid. He went undiagnosed and was a terrible student. He was paralyzed by fear whenever a teacher asked him to go to the blackboard and answer a question. “Dyslexia is very hard,” he writes. “You spend hours going in circles because you don’t know how to go in a straight line.”

Despite his struggles in school, Fleetwood found a career path that was perfect for him. “My drumming was an extension of [my difficulty with school]. I really had no idea, nor the ability to explain in musical terms, what I was ever doing in a particular song.”

Yet his rock band, Fleetwood Mac, is one of the most successful bands of all time. “I’ve made something out of my irregular way of processing information,” he says. The group has sold more than 140 million records worldwide. And Fleetwood Mac is in the midst of a major tour that runs through 2015.

Activities like playing music can be a great outlet for kids with learning and attention issues. Read about ways that extracurricular activities can generate passion and self-confidence for your child.

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About the Blogger

Portrait of Geri Tucker

Geri Coleman Tucker is a freelance writer and editor and a former deputy managing editor for USA Today.

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