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Special Learners in the Instrumental Ensemble. Dr. Stephen Zdzinski, Frost School of Music Julia Heath, Florida State University Charlie Rankin, Pacceti Bay Middle School, St. Johns County Shaun Popp, Louisville Public Schools (Florida State University )

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Special Learners in the Instrumental Ensemble

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special learners in the instrumental ensemble

Special Learners in the Instrumental Ensemble

Dr. Stephen Zdzinski, Frost School of Music

Julia Heath, Florida State University

Charlie Rankin, Pacceti Bay Middle School, St. Johns County

Shaun Popp, Louisville Public Schools (Florida State University )

David Rosa, Thomas Jefferson Magnet School, Tampa

historical development of music instruction for special learners
Historical Development of Music Instruction for Special Learners
  • 1800s - segregated or not taught
  • Early 1900s – taught in asylums
  • 1930 White House Conference on Child health & Protection
  • 1950s – Brown vs. Board of Education (implications for placement of special learners)
  • 1960s – more training, continued institutionalization
  • 1970s – deinstitutionalization, increased integration, Legislation (94-142, Rehabilitation Act, Sect. 504)
  • 1980s – Regular Education Initiative (fewer self-contained special education classrooms)
  • 1990s – Mainstreaming to Inclusion, IDEA, ADA
  • 2000s – focus on early education, accountability

FMEA, January 2013

individuals with disabilities education act 1990
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (1990)
  • Known as IDEA
  • Amendments to Act in 1997, 2004
  • Related to No Child Left Behind Act
  • Amended, now called “Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act”

FMEA, January 2013

idea principles
IDEA Principles
  • Free & Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)
    • for all children with Disabilities
  • Nondiscriminatory Evaluations
    • to determine eligibility & Need for Services
  • Due Process
  • Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
    • Must be provided
  • Individualized Education Program (IEP)
    • Meet specific needs of student
  • Parental Involvement
    • Mandated in development of IEP

FMEA, January 2013

the music educators role
The Music Educators’ Role
  • Can expect to have students with disabilities in their classes & ensembles
  • Serve students with disabilities via inclusion and self-contained special learner music classes
  • Need to understand student needs, ways to adapt instruction, and seek appropriate support from special education professionals

FMEA, January 2013


“Strategies & processes that educators use to include students with disabilities in general education classes and activities and in society as a whole”

(adapted from Adamek & Darrow, 2005)

FMEA, January 2013

individualized educational program iep
Individualized Educational Program (IEP)
  • Description of students’ present level of performance
  • Specification of special education services needed
  • Statement of goals & objectives for student
  • Music Version – PRIVATE LESSON

FMEA, January 2013

benefits of inclusion
Benefits of Inclusion
  • For students with disabilities
    • Higher expectations, better role models
    • Wider circle of friends, meaningful experiences
  • For peers without disabilities
    • Better acceptance & understanding
    • Leadership, mentoring, and peer tutoring
  • To Teachers & Schools
    • Individualize to student needs
    • Improve instruction for all students

FMEA, January 2013

barriers to inclusion
Barriers to Inclusion
  • Organizational
    • School structure & Goals for students with disabilities
    • Instructional & classroom management practices
  • Attitudes
    • Teacher & student beliefs about educating students with disabilities
  • Knowledge
    • Knowledge and skills teachers need to work with special learners

FMEA, January 2013

teaching strategies for inclusion collaboration
Teaching Strategies for Inclusion: Collaboration
  • Formal IEP, co-teaching, or inter-teacher communication
  • Information needed
    • Student’s strengths & special skills
    • Student’s disability characteristics, limitations, weaknesses
    • IEP objectives to be address in music class
    • Useful strategies for working with student

FMEA, January 2013

environmental considerations
Environmental Considerations
  • Management of physical space
    • Room arrangement
    • Student placement in class
  • Adaptive Instruments
    • Modified to compensate for disability
    • Careful selection of band & orchestra instruments
  • Social Support
    • Peer buddy
    • Teacher’s aide, classroom teacher

FMEA, January 2013

adapting musical instruments
Adapting Musical Instruments
  • Suitable Instruments for Mentally Challenged Students
    • Valved Brass & Percussion (Great Expectations Band Program)
    • Single Reeds, Valved Brass, & Percussion (Birkenshaw-Fleming)
  • Instrument Modifications for Physically Challenged Students (Clark & Chadwick)
    • beater adaptations
    • mouthpiece adaptations
    • holding and playing position aids
  • One-Handed Woodwind Instrument Program (David Nabb)
      • http://onehandwinds.unk.edu/

FMEA, January 2013

parental involvement strategies in special education
Parental Involvement Strategies in Special Education
  • accept the child as is
  • be consistent with discipline
  • keep the child’s decision making as simple as possible
  • set a defined routine for the child
  • keep a chart of job tasks, and record when they are done
  • simplify complicated tasks by breaking directions into steps
  • keep the child’s room organized, letting the child be responsible
  • encourage open communication with the child

FMEA, January 2013

adapting instruction
Adapting Instruction
  • Accommodation
    • Remediation, extra help, extra time, instruction after class
    • Same tasks as other students
  • Modification
    • Compensatory
    • Standard of participation modified
    • Alternative activity (at the student’s highest level)

FMEA, January 2013

adaptations instructional strategies


Instructional Delivery

Multimodal approach

Auditory, Tactile, Kinesthetic

Differential Response

Oral vs. written

Verbal vs. non-verbal


Task difficulty

Alternative tasks (easy parts)

Time, Size

Amount of time allowed to complete task

Number of items to complete

Alternate Goals, Substitute curriculum

Appropriate for student’s experience

Adaptations: Instructional Strategies

FMEA, January 2013

julia health
Julia Health
  • Inclusion in a Band Program
  • Classes for Students with Disabilities
  • Adaptations & Modifications for Instrumental Ensembles

FMEA, January 2013

shaun popp
Shaun Popp
  • Personal Stories of students with special needs in band classes
  • Collaborating with Teachers of Students with Special Needs
  • Tips for Inclusion

FMEA, January 2013

charlie rankin
Charlie Rankin
  • Working with a Deaf Student

FMEA, January 2013

david rosa
David Rosa
  • Inclusion in a Band Program
  • Adaptations & Modifications for Instrumental Ensembles

FMEA, January 2013

strategies to promote student success
Strategies to promote student success
  • Student
    • Get to know students as individuals
    • Use age & functionally appropriate activities
    • Teach with patience, humor, and warmth
  • Structure
    • Structure lessons to provide auditory, visual, and hands-on activities
    • Provide consistency along with a structured & predictable approach
    • Be flexible

FMEA, January 2013

strategies to promote student success1
Strategies to promote student success
  • Evaluating
    • Have high expectations for students
    • Provide FREQUENT feedback to students (positive reinforcement)
    • Keep positive attitude while working with student
  • Collaboration
    • Be willing to collaborate with other teachers for student success

FMEA, January 2013

  • Social Adaptations
    • Prepare your students for the inclusion of a “special” student
    • Use Self-Esteem Enhancement
    • Use Parental Involvement Strategies
  • Select instruments carefully and adapt as needed by exceptionality
    • consider physical, musical, and social factors
  • Adapt Instruction to guarantee success
    • break down complex tasks into simpler sub-tasks
    • provide encouragement for completion of subtasks
    • Adapt notation and music if needed
  • Adapt grading procedures to reflect IEP objectives
    • include both musical and social objectives

FMEA, January 2013