Have you considered music lessons for your disabled student? 

This 16 year-old is on the Autism Spectrum and has multiple disabilities.He began playing violin when he was five years old and continues to take private lessons. His specialized school does not have a Band and Orchestra program. 


He has performed in recitals, played solo pieces for school events, friends and relatives. He even played as the bride walked down the aisle at a wedding.


His ability to play violin allows him to diversify his interests, gain self-confidence, exhibit socially appropriate behaviors and receive recognition for mastering a unique skill. 

Students with disabilities can benefit from music education and many can learn to play an instrument. 

Tony is special because he knows how to play the violin. 


Music education, especially learning to play an instrument provides an opportunity for students with special needs to access the benefits available to neurotypical students. Studying music can fortify the foundation necessary to master daily living and academic skills, to move closer to reaching his/her potential, to enjoy life to the fullest and to be an active participant in the community.  Playing an instrument gives him/her the chance to improve social emotional learning, increase feelings of self-worth, gain self-confidence, cultivate a sense of responsibility, develop self-discipline and facilitate academic achievement in order to meet life goals.



A successful practice​ is one in which the student is not asking to end the session and has met his practice goals because appropriate goals were set. (This doesn't mean extremely easy-easy enough to succeed with some effort.)


Educating students with disabilities includes individualized instruction, recognition of the student's strengths, remediation of deficits and teaching the student to compensate for weaknesses. 

 Make learning to play an instrument a positive experience. 

Progress and success are measured based on the individual student. 

It may sound simple, but positive practice experiences motivate the student to practice. See if any of these practice tips and games can be modified or are appropriate for your student.


Bad Days

Practice will not go smoothly every time. There are times a poor practice can be predicted. Take control and make practice on these days as easy as taking the instrument out of the case and putting it back, shining/naming the parts of the instrument or practicing a piece s/he has mastered and enjoys.


Keep Your Word Even If It Kills You

Empowering your student is a wonderful way to encourage a love of music. Remember, s/he is not truly empowered if you don’t follow through on your promise immediately. Do not try to squeeze just a little more out of him/her. S/he will no longer feel empowered and if you do it often there will be other negative consequences. 

Unless you have made it clear that practing without the instrument is not part of the session do not say, 

"Let's practice one more thing. Let's practice the flash cards, name the notes, clap out the rhythm, etc."

You may find the articles below helpful and informative. search for "play an instrument" and "students with disabilities" to find more sites. 

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Brian Cannon
Felicia Cannon,

Austin Music Center 2016
Revised 2017

Thank you to our many loyal customers. We appreciate your continued business and  the new customers you send our way. Word-of-mouth is our best advertisor. 

Many thanks to the schools, school districts, houses of worship, teachers and extra curricular fine arts programs for your excellence, effort and dedication to introducing and cultivating  a love of and an appreciation for the fine arts. 

We are proud to be part of this community.