Recently awarded a spot on Forbes Top 30 Under 30 Musicians list for 2015, Lindsey Stirling didn’t catch the eye of the music world or public with her skills on the violin alone.

Her use of electronics, animation, and modern sounds makes her music just as unique as she is. Stirling’s albums have gone platinum and gold in some European countries, world tour concerts have sold out, and her YouTube channel has over 1 billion views.

Violin didn’t start off as such a promising path for her though. Stirling’s early violin lessons were only 15 minutes a week—a hard beginning for any student—but Stirling is also dyslexic and had an especially difficult time reading musical notes. Stirling didn’t let that stop her from pursuing the path she loved though. Rather than let herself be held back by her struggles with reading music, Stirling took to learning music by ear. She learned how to listen intently and picked up the music straight from the source of another rather than the notes on the page. This nontraditional beginning of Stirling’s musical life is reflected in her compositions and recordings now. The creative listening and learning habits Stirling developed because of her dyslexia helped shape her career’s sound and success.

Learn more about Lindsey Stirling and her dyslexia here, or visit her website here.