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Presented by: Gabriella Brockert


Exceptionalities in a musical context:

due to its ability to tap nonverbal ways of knowing, to provide auditory, visual , and kinesthetic stimulation; (Campbell pg. 225) music has continued

to be a significant subject taught with children.

Myth: Music education is a waste of time for students with special

needs, only music therapy can help in those areas.

Fact: Through music therapy there are many situations and examples
where it can significantly help students adapt or just express themselves, but music education is also beneficial.

It is important to remember that these are not the most difficult, or the most challenging situations to teach in, but what requires the most of our attention. It is not impossible, it is our goal to succeed.


It is important to understand the difference between these two related professions. Through music therapy, one has a degree specializing as a therapist who uses music to achieve different individualized goals set for students with disabilities, health problems etc..

Music education is very similar, but because of the enclosed setting of a classroom, there are only so much time we can spend with all of the students, and it is more difficult to individualize each lesson plan.



In the classroom: To best teach students with these special needs, as an educator I must be absolutely familiar with each and every selection made and comfortable with those pieces and skills.

Gardners theory of multiple intellegences (Garguilo, pg. 551) not only includes musical abilities, but other aspects that incorporates music such as bodilykinesthetic or even spatial concepts. Through several music classroom observations, as well as seminars I learned a great deal about incorporating kinesthetic movement in the classroom. It is inspirational to learn that these strategies will help the child develop. Multicultural education has become very important in todays curriculum. It is very difficult in almost every aspect and can be controversial across the board. It is important for any educator to understand different cultures, and how they relate to your subject and your students. A national standard in music education is to include in our curriculum the understanding of music in relation to history and culture.
Also, through ethnomusicology it is important to remember that different cultures will have different musical abilities or background but even within specific groups, each person is unique,most likely perform differently in the classroom (Gargiulo, pg. 88) especially with music because it is unique in every aspect with every individual. For instances, a student who grew up in Africa may have more percussion related specialties where their culture has to learn the talking drums in order to communicate important things between the tribes.


Garguilos book also mentions the important use of portfolio assessments on page 106. I had the opportunity to learn about Massillon, Ohios public schools using practice rooms to record 12 measures of the music (playing test) for the teacher to later review instead of having to go through each child. Through this, a portfolio is formed to record the progress from the student. Yes, the book also reviews the incapability teachers may experience from having too large of a class or work load which makes portfolios more difficult to manage, but I hope to be very thorough with each and every student in my future. Through this class, I have gained different videos that I intend to show to my future students for both awareness and understanding of different disabilities such as D-PAN: Its Everybodys Music which has several performers who are deaf singing or playing different popular music, as well as Touch the Sound: A Sound Journey With Evelyn Glennie and others.
Through the next few slides I will provide various strategies to use in the music classroom for different circumstances of children with disabilities.


It is important to limit the length of time used in the classroom for musical skill-based activities or band pieces and literature. If spending a great deal of time on an activity, try working the subject in every way possible, incorporating kinesthetic movement for the students, as well as auditory listening skills and visual aspects. A fantastic idea would be to post rehearsal plans in the classroom and always going over expectations clearly while supporting creativity and social skills. As stated in Ohios music standards, it is important to have historical context, and including 21st century relevance can help maintain attention and peak their interest.



Students do well if these four basic needs are addressed:

All students need to feel a sense of

Belongingacceptance in a warm welcomed environment

Gaining Powerunderstanding the concepts, and how it enhances their development and self-esteem; the importance of having goals

Having Funimproving health, building positive relationships, and enhancing thinking.(MENC) it is important
Being Freeexpression, creativity, making choices that directly affects their abilities and enhances their life and emotions; independent life satisfaction.

MUSIC EDUCATION As with each child in the classroom, you should encourage practicing, and reinforce successful attempts at their musical performance. Careful explanation and instruction will provide the student with better understanding and a larger success rate. Allow the students to choose what pieces to play, or use on tests and provide musical activities to choose from as well. Practicing and reviewing previous material that is familiar to the student is a good reinforcement and encouragement of their abilities.


Patterns to learn and retain: Recommending lessons is a good idea, to allow a focus oneon-one with the student. When asking the student to perform, it is best to take one task at a time and refrain from doing two things at once, For example: Sing a part instead of singing and dancing, or just movements instead of singing along. Things to work on could involve doing exercises to expand the range upward or extend low spoken pitch for a smaller range. Focusing on relevant pitch is great for aural skill developing as well as using repeated patterns in the music such as eliminating other verses, or focusing on the chorus of a piece of music. Many percussion instruments can be more simple and use different repetitive patterns for the beat as well as using brass, winds, and strings for other smaller patterns.


Again, separating parts in the music is an excellent idea. Piece apart the difficult excerpts to learn slowly (just as any music student should) Also another great thing to do with your students in any situation where the child needs help on, you can separate the pitches from the rhythm by trying to clap the beat first. As well as posting a rehearsal plans, its beneficial to review the outline of your lesson plan with the students, detailing about the skill youre working on and each step you plan to do. Consistency, neatness, openness, and eliminating visual distractions are keen. Clarity is important when dealing with every student, but especially when working with those who have difficulty understanding


Four finger guitarist (top 10 musicians with disabilities) connection with music therapy: SoundBeamprogram system that generates sound and images through body movement. (Brown, Linda) Adaptive instruments are becoming more and more available, catalog offerings expanding Build motor skillsmusic, SEARCH ONLINE Just as with every student, it is important to choose repertoire appropriate and build self-esteem along with character development Organize the classroom so that every walk-way is clear, things are sorted and available because of organization. Clear floor of any sound equipment cords and etc. Assess student capabilitywhat a student can doand adapt musical instruments with materials such as Velcro (e.g. to hold a triangle on the wrist) to enhance students ability to play. Design, create, and invent for individual and unique situations. Through singing, you can develop and increase breath capacity to help students with any health impairments such as asthma.


Added Left-Pinky Keys

(Photo taken from

This flute was adapted to include several fingerings to the left hand due to the lack of mobility in the right hand.

Extended Instrument Stand (Photo taken from The use of a stand will help this clarinet and horn be less heavy for weak muscles.

Limited Fingerings
(Photo taken from

This saxophone was adapted to use just two fingers in the right hand.

One Handed/One Armed Insturments (Photo taken from This saxophone was adapted to use just two fingers in the right hand.

Pictures from

For information about SoundBeam training, and what a training kit includes, click here.


Myth: Those who are deaf, or have hearing impairments will never be able to experience music.

Absolutely not true. Dame Evelyn Glennie (a percussionist who is deaf) her website is:

Casio Light-up Keyboard

(Photo taken from

Importance on visual learning

Through the use of these keyboards, you can teach piano visually for those with hearing impairments. The screen also indicates fingerings as well as hand orientation and a musical staff


CHILDREN WITH HEARING IMPAIRMENTS First, it will be better to have live music rather than recordings for the individual to listen to. Evelyn Glennie feels her music to listen, and thats why we should place instruments very close to the individual as he or she performs. Strong beats in the background, and incorporating bodily kinesthetic will help the learning process. Any visual aids such as posters, images, PowerPoints, or any other presentations with demonstrating notation is best.


Using computer technology in order to highlight or enlarge the musical staff and different notes, or even using color differentiation. Focusing on hearing, listening and aural skills are important. Refine relevant pitch. Also remember to remove all cords and electrical equipment from the floor for easy accessibility. Using different materials with rough texture can support their experience as well. Reading books aloud, as well as having Braille Music is very beneficial and should be taught at the same time as normal students learning music notation. Dancing Dots is also a program for those with low vision that provides a music reading program that either enlarges the print or converts it to appropriate Braille notation.


Picture from

Example of Braille musical notation from


Offering outside opportunities that include either lessons on main instrument, perhaps another instrument of interest, and extra literature. Independent projects such as historical connections between composers and how their music differs through different eras. Solo performances or jazz improvisations are a good idea for encouragement. Allow the student to conduct different pieces, sectionals or other content within the classroom. Try having the student teach different lessons to their peers for their primary instrument.


How to use Braille music More about how to adapt IEPs in the music classroom, and developing different focuses and connections on musical skills and social behaviors. Creation of lesson plans, to the point where Im comfortable suiting everyone in the classroom.


BECAUSE I learned a lot about the importance of music education with every student including those who have exceptionalities. Through this, I learned that music teachers can sometimes be involved in the IEPs as well as capable of creating our own contracts with the students through approval and support of parents and other teachers.


Campbell, Patricia. Musician and teacher: An orientation to music education. New York, W. W. Norton & Company Inc. (2008) Rarus, Sue. (September 23, 2009). Success with special learners: Classroom set-up. The National Association for Music Education. Retrieved from: Rarus, Sue. (September 30, 2009). Success with special learners: Rehearsal modification tips. The National Association of Music Education. Retrieved from: Brown, Linda C. (September 2, 2010). Strategize for students with vision loss. The National Association for Music Education. Retrieved from:


Brown, Linda C. (June 23, 2010). Tips for teaching students with ADD or ADHD. The National Association of Music Education. Retrieved from: Brown, Linda C. (September 8, 2010). Dont let physical disabilities stop students. The National Association of Music Education. Retrieved from: Brown, Linda C. (August 25, 2010). Music and students with hearing loss. The National Association of Music Education. Retrieved from:

Goldstein, David. (May 2000). Music pedagogy for the blind. International Journal of Music Education. Retrieved from: t.htm