When Danielle Johnson reads, words can float to another line. The same thing happens with musical notes.
But the Maranatha Christian Academy senior has developed coping skills to deal with her dyslexia, and she has excelled in voice, earning a superior rating at Georgia Association of Christian Schools competition this year.
She’s taking steps toward a career in musical theater.
She played Lady Macbeth in a school production this year. In the fall, she plans to attend the University of North Georgia for her core courses before transferring to Brenau University to study musical theater. It’s all building toward her desire to do musical theater early in her career, then transition to teaching voice.
“(Dyslexia) can be a hindrance, but it also can be an advantage because I do think differently than others,” Danielle said. “In a roundabout way, if I think differently, I can solve more problems in an easier fashion.”
She said music teacher Kimberly Johnson (no relation) has helped her hone her voice skills and make connections at Brenau.
The teacher also directed her to Lakewood Baptist Church, where she has grown vocally by singing in the choir.
The Macbeth experience also gave her a chance to help with makeup and costumes in addition to her starring role.
“I loved that opportunity because I got to see everything,” Danielle said.
One of the most daunting parts of the production was learning her approximately 400 lines.
“That was a bit stressful,” Danielle said. “In the beginning, I was a bit nervous, but I got through it.”
She said her coping skills have developed through the years, with her learning to subconsciously correct what she sees because of her dyslexia.
“It just flows naturally because I’ve done it so long,” Danielle said.
She compared it to having a filing cabinet with the files all in the wrong order.
“My mind has to sort them,” Danielle said.