Teach Children with Disabilities a Joy for Music

by Sandee
(Florida, USA)

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.

Throughout my decade of teaching music I have seen how music can affect children and adults; tapping toes, playing instruments, practicing and performing.

The main commonality among my students is that there is a genuine love and passion for making music and for performing for other people. Music is a multifaceted tool to bring people together and to embrace culture.

Over the years I've taught all ages from 3 year olds to adults. You can tell that the child is embracing the music by a simple smile. One of my greatest passions is to teach children with disabilities this joy for music and to watch as the smile grows across their face.

The students that I taught in Gainesville, FL loved to come to music class. Every day their teachers would take them down to music and watch in shock as students that were unable to talk started to sing, students that had problems communicating were able to make decisions and enjoy their choices too. Students were dancing and singing, playing instruments and making music, but most importantly these students with severe to moderate disabilities learned to love music.

Music was the class they looked forward to each day. When their teacher said it was music time, the students smiled and were excited to learn. Music was a way for the students to express themselves.

From the Center in Gainesville I then began teaching Middle School Music in the Tampa Bay area. The students here enjoyed coming to music class each day and making music as a group. They too were excited to express themselves in music and loved to perform for their packed audiences. Students told me that having music as the last period of the day gave them something to look forward to all day and they made sure not to go home.

While teaching Middle School I spent my afternoons working with the High School Band where students would tell me that if it wasn't for music, they would have dropped out of High School. When you hear these remarks from students it only proves that music is such an important subject in education.

Now I work for a music education website, onlinepianist.com. This website allows for students of all ages to learn to play piano in a very simple and non-threatening way. At their leisure students can log onto OnlinePianist with their piano or keyboard and can learn to play their favorite songs. When I was teaching middle school I provided this website to my students in my piano lessons classes.

The students would go home and learn some of the songs at their own pace. They would sporadically come into class with a huge smile on their face, wanting to perform for the class. The students would learn their favorite Justin Bieber piece, or Rihanna and come to school excited for music class and ready to play for their fellow students.

This part of the class was started near the end of the school year and within those last few months I saw an increase in attendance, improvement in behavior, and amazing attitudes towards music and piano that had not existed before.

Music brings such a wide variety of people together and creates wonderful experiences and memories. Music is a form of communicating emotions, stories, or simply just communicating in the only way you know how.

Whether it's a smile because you can tap on a drum, or singing into a microphone the lyrics to a song even while being unable to speak with out the mic, expressing yourself through the instruments you play, or learning to play your favorite music to show others how you're feeling or how well you can play, music unites us.

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