Two posts in one day?! Must be Christmas!
This is an excellent article about providing instrument lessons to students with disabilities. Others may have a different name for these lessons, or perhaps there is no difference in title at all, but many facilities/practices call them “adaptive lessons”. Teaching styles, and often the instruments themselves, are adapted to meet the needs of the clients.
Adaptive lessons differ from music therapy, although the skills learned in music therapy training programs are certainly valuable to adaptive lessons teachers. One of the main differences is that the primary goal in adaptive lessons is to teach the instrument. The goal is musical, whereas in music therapy, we work toward non-musical goals. That’s not to say, however, that other skills are not improved because of the lessons. Also, there is less emphasis on data collection. In general, adaptive lessons are very normalizing, as they are just like typical lessons. The key is in adapting the approaches and instruments to create successful musical experiences for students with disabilities.
An adaptive lessons teacher does not have to be a music therapist. Compassion, patience, and creativity are essential, as well as a good understanding of various disabilities. Adaptive lessons are a great addition to a private practice. And if you are lucky enough to have a college or university nearby with a music therapy program, consider hiring music therapy students as adaptive lessons teachers. It’s a great learning experience for them, and the students get teachers who are definitely qualified. Enjoy the article! Happy Holidays!