In Harmony Music of Middle Tennessee

Adapting to Children’s Special Needs

InHarmonyMusicofMiddleTennessee-header-web A few winters ago,  a family enrolled their three year old son into Music Together class. When he came in, he buzzed all over the room and became very excited when the music began. So excited, that he would jump on the couch, crawl behind the chair, run up and stand right in front of me, run around the room again and at times would come up and fist punch me in the shoulder. His parents reported that their son had some special needs and they had enrolled him into the music class to have some socialization before he was to go into the early intervention program in Metro Nashville Public School system. Through my previous experience with children with sensory processing disorders, I could see this kid was having difficulty regulating his excitement. The fist punching didn’t last long, because when he would begin to run up to me, I would hold up my hand and redirect his hit with a “high five!’ Turning a negative behavior into a positive. I also began to use statements like, “when you are sitting still on the floor, you can play the sticks”. The child responded positively to these statements of expected behavior. This story serves just one example of how a Music Together class can be adaptive to fit the special needs of children. MTlogofamilyclass-4color-webIn Harmony Music of Middle Tennessee is expanding it’s music class offerings! Since the beginning of the Music Together Family classes for all families, several families have enrolled children with special needs. These children have done will in the mixed aged family classes due to strong parent support and my background in working with children with special needs. Several parents have reported that their ability to handle active social situations increased during their time in Music Together classes.  However, some families have been hesitant to enroll their children in a high energy music class, when their own children’s needs need a calmer perhaps quieter, more predictable environment. Do you know a child with special needs who may benefit from a smaller Music Together class? Here are some answers to some common questions to help clarify the differences and similarities of the different Music Together classes, In Harmony Music of Middle Tennessee now offers. What is an Adaptive Music Class? This class accepts infants and young children with special needs of any kind who can benefit from a typical Music Together Family class to support musical development, but is smaller and the songs will be adapted to meet the physical, cognitive, social and emotional needs of the class participants. MTArt TrianglemomOther than class size, how is the adaptive class DIFFERENT from a typical Mixed Aged Family class? In an adaptive class, fewer songs will be sung and more time will be taken on each song. if a child requires high predictability, a list of songs to be done in class each will will be posted or given to the parents to sing during the week before class. Pictures of songs may be used to introduce the song visually. Instrument use may be directed at a quieter noise level to reduce over stimulation. What is the difference between an Adaptive Class and a Music Together within Therapy group? Music Together within Therapy groups are formed for two to four children with special needs when music is needed to provide a unique assist to help meet non musical goals. Non musical goals can include but are not limited to, increased social interaction, increased communication (verbal or non verbal), learning how to make requests, and increase physical movement. Children for this program are assessed based on need and put into groups based on mutual agreement of scheduling between the families. Whereas, Adaptive Music Together classes, children are not assessed for non-musical goals and the goal of the music class is to be in a supportive musical environment that teaches rhythmic training and basic singing skills. Although, the nature of the class can help with social and communication skills along with physical movement, the goal is to gain basic music competence. Basic music competence is when a child learns to sing in tune and have accurate rhythm. A rich musical environment supports these concepts. Once a child has an understanding of rhythm and pitch accuracy this will set the stage for other music lessons as the child grows. How is an Adaptive Music Together class LIKE a typical Mixed Age Family Class? Every family who is enrolled in an adaptive class receives the same Music Together services as the mixed aged classes: Weekly 45 minute music classes, Music Together Songbook and CD, and online support through the “Family Music Zone”. Music classes will include playful activities that teach singing, pitch accuracy, chants, rhythm practice, instrument play and movement to music. MTArt-ObwisanaAre siblings welcome in the Adaptive music class? Yes siblings, whether they are typically developing or have special needs, are welcome to enroll in the Adaptive class as well. An enrolled sibling will be included in the count of 6 maximum children in the class, but the benefit of enjoying a music class together as a family is encouraged. Siblings older than 6 years old can come free of charge and do not count as a filled spot in class, but are encouraged to participate to help support their younger sibling enrolled in the class. Multiple parents and caregivers can come free of charge with a paid child tuition. Where do I find enrollment and schedule information for the Adaptive music classes and other music classes? Enrollment and the Class Schedule is found by clicking here You can try out a class by clicking this link If you want to know more about the Music Together program click here If you have any questions, feel free to contact me, Carrie Friddell, MT-BC at or call 615-390-3207 Help spread the word! Share this post with your friends on your social media page! twitter_icon linkedin_icon facebook_icon