Blogger Widgets Ender-Chan's Thoughts: Music Teachers for Students with Disabilities

Friday, June 19, 2015

Music Teachers for Students with Disabilities

So you/your child wants to learn a musical instrument through a music teacher? That's great! I, a student, have a wonderful music teacher, but some aren't so lucky. This is a guide to selecting music teachers that will ensure student success/enjoyment.

Things to Take into Account

  • Does this music teacher specialize in or have experience with students with disabilities? Depending on the student's needs, it may or may not be helpful.
  • What instrument do you play? People tend to select their instruments according to their personalities. Find a music teacher that mirrors the student in their musical style.
  • Why and where are you playing? If you play in ensemble settings, someone with ensemble experience may be able to better assist you. An overly competitive music teacher will not take well to someone who has no inclinations to competition.
  • Is the building accessible (if applicable)? You shouldn't need to perform death-defying stunts to get to your music lessons.
  • Are you compatible with this music teacher by sole virtue of personality and motivation? Credentials do not a good music teacher make. 
  • Does their teaching style suit the student? A compatible teacher goes a long way.
Red Flags
  • Presuming incompetence 
  • A lack of interest in the student
  • Belittling current students
  • Rubbing the student's disability/lack of experience/(some other thing) in their face
  • Acting like they are doing you a favor
  • A dirty room (Disorganization-related clutter is fine to some extent, but week-old food remnants and bug colonies are not.)
A music teacher can make or break a passion for music. Kathryn, a regular commenter on my blog, quit playing violin after two years due to an unaccommodating teacher, ear pain, and hearing loss. I believe that the unaccommodating teacher brought on or exacerbated her desire to quit. This disheartens me (1) because the mere thought of quitting music does that to me and (2) an accommodating teacher would have made a world of difference. 

 Whether directing a mass ensemble or working one-on-one with a student, accommodating a student's needs, disability or no, is important. The best music teachers go out of their way for their students simply because that's what they do. 


  1. This is a good post. I probably would have ended up quitting at some point anyway, music really is not my "thing". And to answer your previous question, it was school orchestra. One of the biggest issues was that I was seated in the back of the room. I understand stand seating-best up front but that combined with the fact my FM system didn't work well in that environment(too much noise) made it rough. It barely even crosses my mind anymore, it was 5 years ago. And it was not until I commented on your post that I realized the large role disability played.

    1. I don't know what FM systems are or what they feel like with too much noise (but I can imagine that it hurts as too much noise does anyway). If music is not your thing, then what is? Is it sports, theater, entomology, or something else?

    2. An FM system has to do with hearing aids. It is a device that a teacher wears that sends the sound directly to your ear. Yeah it hurts and sometimes the noise level causes static. My thing is pottery- I like using the pottery wheel. I also like reading and writing- I am an English nerd for sure!

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. I like composing and arranging music as well as writing.


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