Wednesday is one of my favorite days of the week.

I love it so much because I have a mix of sessions today. I get to teach an adapted piano lesson where the student  is learning “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction and “Do You Love Me?” by the Contours.

Then, after a music therapy session, I get to teach a “traditional” guitar lesson (for a neurotypical child). The student is a beginner, but she’s already writing her own original songs! I’m helping her write songs in the keys of C and G so she can practice the chords within those chord families (more on that here!)

In my last blog post, I shared some ideas of how I adapt my music lessons to tailor them to children and teens with special learning needs.

Today, I have a few more ideas to share with you.

Here are some more of the creative adaptations I use in my lessons ~

Music and movement

Some of the children and teens I work with have difficulty sitting and attending for long periods of time. This is completely understandable. They’ve just sat for the entire day in school, and then likely had a therapy session or two before our lesson begins.

SO I always make sure to add some movement experiences to get the body AND the brain warmed up and ready for our lesson. For the younger crowd, we do things like “Open Shut Them” and “Shake Your Sillies” to warm up the fingers and hands. We may also do a freeze march around the room to a piano progression that I play. (For example ~ March when you hear the piano; freeze when you hear the piano stop!”)

Extra practice material

Some traditional lesson books may move too quickly for our students with special needs. They may need more time to work on a concept, like how to play a tied note or how to play a measure with quarter rests. I always have a large stock of blank staff paper on hand to write out additional practice material. This way, the student doesn’t have to keep playing the same page over and over to learn and master a concept.

Incorporate popular songs

As I mentioned at the start of this blog post, one of my favorite things to do is incorporate popular songs into my lessons. I find this is a HUGE motivator for my students. I know I would be more motivated to practice if my lesson material consisted of Jason Mraz and Jack Johnson tunes!

These are just a few of the ways I sprinkle creativity and fun into my adapted music lessons. I know that as with music therapy, if our students are motivated, they are more likely to be engaged during the lessons and receive the maximum benefit.

I would love to hear from you now!

What kinds of things do you incorporate into your adapted lessons? Share in the comments below!