MEMT 407

Exceptional Child in Music Education

Fall 2006

Course Syllabus



Class Information    Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:30-10:45 am

                                    575 Murphy Hall


Instructor                   Cynthia Colwell, PhD, MT-BC

                                    448C Murphy Hall, 864-9635


                                    OH: M 1:00, T, & Th 2:00





Darrow, A. A, & Adamek, M. (2005).  Music in Special Education.  Silver Spring, MD:  American Music Therapy Association.

*You will need to purchase this text from the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA).  There website is  You can find ordering information on this site.  The price for nonmembers of AMTA is $55.  AMTA members get a reduction.


MENC. (2004).  Spotlight on Making Music with Special Leaners. 

*You will need to purchase this text from the publisher, Rowan and Littlefield Education.  List price is $24.  MENC members get a reduction to $16.80.  I believe there is a 15% further reduction for ordering online.  Their website is



Course Goals:

-      To acquaint the student with the current literature, research, and laws in music education for children and youth with disabilities in early intervention and K-12.

-      To establish an awareness of the responsibility and commitment associated with the profession of special music education through lectures and observations.

-      To participate in a field simulation of an assigned disability.

-      To discuss teacher and student attitudes which facilitate and/or hinder the inclusion of students with a disability.

-      To examine adapted musical instruments, musical literature, curricula, software, and technological devices useful in the inclusive music classroom.

-      To review vocabulary/appropriate terminology pertinent to the inclusive music classroom.

-      To develop lesson plans adapted for children and youth with disabilities commonly found in early intervention and K-12.

-      To identify methods of evaluation and assessment appropriate to the inclusive music classroom.



Attendance and Assignment Due Dates:

Attendance is required and will be taken regularly.  Two unexcused absences are permitted throughout the semester.  Students are responsible for obtaining information and materials missed due to absence.  In preparation for your professional career, timely documentation is assumed.  Due dates for class assignments are provided on the calendar.  All assignments must be submitted in class on the due date.  Assignments are not to be handed in to the instructor's office or mailbox.  Late points will be assigned at the discretion of the instructor.



Throughout this course, students will be exposed to sensitive and personal information regarding students' symptoms and treatment.  Please respect the dignity of these individuals by not discussing teaching observations outside of the classroom.


Professional Behavior and Appearance:

During the music observations, students may have the opportunity to interact with students and professional staff.  In these situations, students are expected to conduct themselves in a friendly and courteous manner and to observe the following dress code:


"Student music educators must maintain a professional appearance when attending music education classes in the public schools.  Please refrain from wearing jeans, tee-shirts, mini-skirts, shorts, flip-flops, tennis shoes or hats and from showing middrift."


Individuals with Disabilities:

Any student who has a disability that may prevent him or her from fully demonstrating his or her abilities should contact the instructor personally as soon as possible so arrangements can be made to ensure an optimum educational experience.




A=       93-100

A- =     90-92

B+ =   87-89

B =      83-86

B- =     80-82

C+ =   77-79

C =      73-76

C - =    70-72

D+ =   67-69

D =      63-66

D- =    60-62

F =      < 59



Buy a 2" three ring binder.

Course Assignments


1.         Field Simulation      10 points

            This assignment has two parts. 

            Part 1

            As an individual, each student will be assigned a disability to simulate during his/her morning routine (getting up, showering, dressing, eating breakfast, etc.) prior to leaving for school/work).

            Part 2

In pairs, students will simulate a different assigned disability in a public venue (restaurant, grocery store, mall, walking downtown).  One student will simulate while the other student acts as an aid.  These roles will be reversed and the activity repeated.  Students will be asked to simulate the disability for a minimum of one half hour each.  Each student will write a 3-5 page double-spaced, typed paper outlining the following information using these as headings:


            -personal reaction to the simulation experience

            -reaction as the aid to the simulation experience

            -observation of reactions of individuals around them

            -difficulties that were encountered during the simulation

            -issues that they a prior felt would be difficult but weren't during the simulation


2.         Observation of Students with Disabilities            15 points

Students will observe individuals with disabilities in a music therapy setting.  Students will observe for a total of 5 hours.  They may or may not observe the same individual for all 5 hours.  A written observation report will be completed at the conclusion of the observations.  This can be written in paragraph or bulleted format.

The Observation Report will include: 

-a one paragraph description of each of the disability categories that you observed, i.e., child with autism, therefore, describe autism

-a one paragraph description of each session that was observed

-list what non musical objectives were being addressed in each session

-from your observations, list what behaviors you observed might potentially cause you to make adaptations in the musical classroom

-for each of these behaviors, make suggested adaptations for this individual that will promote success in the music setting


3.         Adapted Music Materials    10 points

Presentation of adapted music materials (instrument, music, software, audio system, etc.) for students with disabilities.  The student will choose the disability.


4.         Adapted Curricula   20 points

Presentation of adapted curricula (in your emphasis area:  instrumental, choral, general music, early intervention).  This is a small group project and will include the overall approach to the area, adapted specific lesson plans, and adapted methods of assessment.  Groups will be asked to adapt the unit based on disability areas covered in class that will be assigned by the instructor.



5.         Tests   3 @ 10 = 30 points

Take two tests covering information from:  readings, observations, lectures, and discussions. 


6.         Inservice Project        15 points

You have been asked to present an inservice to all other music educators in your district (new and old, K-12, choral, strings, band, general music).  You have been given a two-hour slot on the next inservice day.

You will be assigned one disability category (i.e., autism) or one collective group (i.e., sensory impairments-hearing and vision).  You will need to cover:  characteristics, potential problems in a variety of music settings, appropriate adaptations, where and how they can get help

For this project, you need to prepare the following:

1.         a detailed outline of what you will present including timings for each component

2.         a one page handout that will be given to the individuals in the inservice

3.         a description of a series of a minimum of 10 powerpoint slides/overheads

You need to consider the following issues when planning your inservice.

1.         How will you use audio or visual media?  Describe in outline.

2.         How will you facilitate group discussion?  Describe in outline.

3.         How will you include a small group activity?  What will it be?  Describe in outline.

4.         Include a paragraph on how you deal with a teacher who has an incredible negative attitude toward students with disabilities.


Include a paragraph on suggestions on how they will talk with parents who have negative attitudes about students with disabilities being in the classroom or ensemble setting.


7.         Attendance

            0-2 absences                            no change in letter grade

For every additional absence, overall letter grade may be lowered by one level (i.e., A to an A-).




Date                 Topic (Assignment)


Aug 17                        Introduction to the Course (Names, Index, Personality)

                        Disability Survey

                        Assign Field Simulations (complete pros and cons)

                        Determine Small Groups for Adapted Project


Aug 22/24       Chapter 1:  Current Profile

                        Chapter 2:  History/Laws


Aug 29/31       Chapter 3:  Principles and Practices

                        Spotlight:  Lapka

                        Chapter 4:  Teaching Strategies

                        Spotlight:  Debrot


Sept 5/7           Test #1 (Chapters 1-4)

                        Discussion of Adapted Music Materials

                        Discussion of Music Observations

                        Spotlight:  Wass, Hammel

                        Field Simulation Report Due (September 7)


Sept 12/14       Chapter 5:  Behavior Management

                        Writing Goals and Objectives

                        Spotlight:  Gardstrom


Sept 19/21       Chapter 6:  Service Models

                        Writing Lesson Plans for Music Settings


Sept 26/28       Chapter 7:  Behavior Disorders/ADHD

                        Spotlight:  Freer

                        Choose tune/concept for Curriculum Project


Oct 3/5                        Chapter 8:  Cognitive Disabilities

                        Spotlight:  Still

                        Turn in class description for Curriculum Project


Oct 10/12        Test #2 (Chapters 5-8)

                        No Class Oct 12 due to Fall Break


Oct 17/19        Chapter 9:  Autism Spectrum Disorders

                        Spotlight:  Howell, Robe

                        Turn in timeline/outline for Curriculum Project

                        Chapter 9 (cont):  Speech/Language Disorders


Oct 24/26        Chapter 10:  Vision Loss

                        Spotlight:  Siligo, Struck

                        Discussion of Inservice Project


Oct 31/Nov 2   Chapter 11:  Hearing Loss

                        Spotlight:  Brown, Schraer-Joiner

                        Turn in lesson plans for Curriculum Project


Nov 7/9           Chapter 12:  Physical Disabilities

                        Spotlight:  McCord

                        Assignment of disabilities for Curriculum Project


Nov 14/16       Chapter 12 (exten):  Health Issues

                        Spotlight:  Tweedle

                        Small Group work for Adapted Curricula Presentations


Nov 21/23       Test #3 (Chapters 9-12)

                        Turn in Observation Report

                        No Class November 23 due to Thanksgiving Holiday


Nov 28/30       Adapted Curricula Presentations (date to be assigned)


Dec 5/7            Adapted Curricula Presentations (date to be assigned)


Final Examination, Tuesday, December 12th, 7:30-10:00 am

Turn in Inservice Project no later than 10 am.

It can be turned in prior to this date if completed.