Music is generally accepted as universal. Child, adult, blind, and even deaf (by “feeling” the music) can appreciate music for what it’s worth. Because of this, someone decided that music could be used in special education, and this article is about why it should be. Music is an effective educational tool that should be utilized in every special education institution. Music is the one medium that the vast majority can enjoy together, and it’s something that breaks barriers that most mediums can’t.
In the classroom:
The teachers could let the class listen to the music often (which would likely be considered a treat), and then deliver a small oral test over it to test the learning curve. As long as a song has a catchy beat, children of most abilities will be able to learn the words. By listening to ‘School House Rock’ songs, the kids may learn things as complex as math and grammar. By learning “backwards” (learning to count by threes first, then being told that that’s multiplying), special needs children (and adults still in school) might have an advantage. No one knows until they try.
Like videos in a normal classroom, music to special needs children would provide a unique and adored alternative to standard educational practices that can only reach the most competent of the special needs children. If their worlds could revolve around music, one can only imagine how radically their lives and mental retention might improve. It would be a wonderful experience for everyone involved.
Out of the classroom:
By investing a little trust into the special needs students, a cheap MP3 player (either one a piece, or one to alternate between students) can turn into learning at home. If the students are enjoying the music, they will take immense care of the machine that provides their happiness. This allows them to learn at home as well. If they listen to “Conjunction Junction” all night, what will they know the words to by the next day?
Parents can also be encouraged to make sure the student listens to his or her MP3 player, and can even engage the student regarding the song, for instance, by asking, “What do you think that song is about?” Then they can explain it to strengthen the lesson in the student’s mind.
Where to get the music:
Here is a wonderful resource of educational music downloads, specifically devoted to special needs children, teens and adults. There are several options, from teaching simple daily tasks (like washing your hands) to teaching American Sign Language.
If you still aren’t sold on the power of music when regarding those with special needs, here is a testimonial from a woman who has been teaching music to special needs students for more than 25 years.
With the information provided, it’s easy to see that music is a key tool in special education, and, when used properly, can revolutionize mundane practices and put the children in an active learning environment that they can individually utilize.