People of all abilities can benefit from music lessons. Playing a musical instrument fosters creativity while developing fine-motor skills, discipline, leisure skills, and self-esteem. Individuals with special needs deserve to learn and share their music with the world – and this can be made possible with instructional or physical adaptations (Kuester, 2011).
Instructional adaptations might include:
- Behavior management techniques implemented by a music therapist
- Visual schedule or checklist for those who benefit from structure
- Use of sign-language or non-verbal communication
- Diverse routines (10 minutes of piano followed by 5 minutes of dancing to rhythm drills, etc) to maintain attention
- Use of preferred music so that student is motivated to learn!
Physical adaptations might include:
- Color-coded or large-print music
- Enlarged guitar picks
- EZ Chord (pictured)
- Alternate tunings that allow barred fingers or one & two finger chords
- Augmentative communication devices
Adaptive music lessons are available on guitar, voice, and piano. Other instruments available on a case by case basis.