Exceptional Music Pedagogy for Children with Exceptionalities: International Perspectives

Exceptional Music Pedagogy for Children with Exceptionalities: International Perspectives

Exceptional Music Pedagogy for Children with Exceptionalities: International Perspectives

Exceptional Music Pedagogy for Children with Exceptionalities: International Perspectives


Exceptional Music Pedagogy for Children with Exceptionalities offers readers in music education, music therapy, and music in special education communities a new, important, and globally-informed resource for effective music pedagogies. Volume editors Deborah Vander Linde Blair and Kimberly McCord have assembled here a diverse and international set of teachers and researchers. Each working outward from their own national perspectives, the chapter authors explore the histories of legislative initiatives, discuss the implementation of both mandates and teacher led creative strategies, and provide a vast array of pedagogical suggestions and scenarios that support teachers and communities who work with students with disabilities. Featuring chapters from a global set of education communities, the authors represent a wide range of pedagogical approaches for learners in a variety of contexts. This book is an important, expansive collection of practical expertise, and an invaluable resource to the special music education community across the globe.


Sam looks everywhere but at the music teacher, who is describing how to play the mallet instru
ment in front of her. His body movements are irregular; he lies down and rolls back and forth.
Sam’s typical classmates have seen this before and neither they nor their teacher are distracted or
concerned. They seem to know what will happen next. With the first sounds of the instrument,
two notes played with a steady pulse, Sam sits up, looks in the direction of the teacher, and imitates
playing the instrument, and in perfect time.

There are many children like Sam throughout the world. And there are others to whom we have given any number of labels as a result of their unique physical, behavioral, or learning characteristics. Does Sam have a disability? If so, when, where, and under what conditions? Will music become an important part of his life? How should we approach a music education for Sam, or for any child for that matter? Where do we go for ideas?

For decades now, since I have worked as a choral and instrumental music teacher and as a music therapist in hospital settings, I have been a strong advocate for quality music experiences for all children. I am only one of the many hundreds of advocates worldwide who share a common goal: to create music environments in homes, schools, and communities where every child can develop skills, deepen understanding, and cultivate independence in a culture of accomplishment and joy.

My early experiences shaped my philosophy of inclusive education, guiding my work in higher education where I now teach eager, bright-eyed undergraduates and inquisitive graduate students. My goal is for my students to learn skills for successful music teaching but also, importantly, to learn how to think as a teacher encountering children from diverse backgrounds; who vary considerably in their capabilities, interests, and levels of motivation; and who present a variety of learning challenges. They will need to learn how to think about Sam and how to create a music classroom where Sam and all his classmates will learn. And as they continue their path as teachers, as they think about what worked and what did not, I want them to rely on past wisdom and explore new ideas and new perspectives.

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