Written by: Melissa Reinhardt, MSEd, MT-BC, Neurologic Music Therapist
I recently had the opportunity to present “Music for Children with Special Needs” to 2 groups of local elementary school music teachers about how to work with students who have special needs in the music classroom.
Music educators are almost guaranteed to have students with special needs in their classroom due to inclusion with regular classroom related arts classes (e.g. music, art, PE, etc.) Additionally, sometimes music educators also work within special services classrooms where all students have been identified as having special needs. This can be challenging in itself, but even more so when music educators have not had any or very limited training in working with such students. This is where a music therapist can help! Music therapists are trained in adapting and creating musical experiences to persons of all ages and abilities; this ability to “adapt” is the key to working with ALL students.
As defined in my presentation, adaptations do not change the learning objective, but change the learning outcome. There are multiple ways of adapting music lessons to meet the needs of a variety of students. Some examples are as follows:
Providing music therapy services for early childhood to older adults, music instruction and enrichment plus continuing music therapy education in Greater Charlotte Area of the Carolinas.