Music in special education centers, a possible adventure


When a music education specialist comes to a special education center for the first time, the first thing he asks himself is what he can do and, above all, how he is going to do it.

Although it is something that students tend to like very much, the Music subject should not be considered as a time of socio-cultural animation in any nursery or primary school. New concepts can be learned in music class and learning from any other area can be reinforced.

It is important that education through music be considered as a pillar of the integral development of any human being. There are many authors who have conducted research in this regard, demonstrating the importance of cognitive and physical development .

Beyond listening to music

In a large part of special education centers, Music has been mimicked with the daily activities of the centers. It has even become a mere music audition, student-friendly or chosen by them. We set out to give a new approach to music class, within the possibilities but with a new motivation.

After a two-month evaluation, in which different methodologies have been used, we have made a selection of those that seem the most effective and appropriate for our purpose. These methodologies are those of Brain , Aschero , Ubieta or Montessori , among others.

New programming

In our project we have created a new didactic program. It is adapted to the needs of our center and the needs of the students. We prioritize in it the development of creativity, attention, concentration, experimentation and observation.

With the proposed method we are not only looking for automatisms, but we want to achieve our goals based on reflective practice. Practice must give meaning and functionality to programmed learning, which is of two types: passive and active reception, and discovery, both guided and autonomous.

Our methodology puts students at the center, achieving significant learning , in which motivation leads to logical and psychological significance.

Notes, colors and instruments

With this new vision of what our work has to be, we choose the different types of exercises, activities and tasks, in which sound or note are joined with a color, following the color chart proposed by Whacky Music Inc , with its system Boomwhacker Color Code .

We have not only associated the color to a note. Following the same philosophy, we also associate small percussion instruments with a color, thus facilitating the reading and interpretation of small pieces chosen according to the different levels.

Active listening and performance activities are the most relevant and the most used in our music class. We always associate color as a musical language, without having to use conventional language, which is more complex for our students. In this way we have managed to facilitate musical reading and the activities have become easy and motivating games.

Musical language and performance

All proposals are made with instruments with the color code that has been adopted. This code becomes the common thread. With it, we are ensuring that our students, with such defined characteristics, can access the basic knowledge of musical language, interpretation and, above all, personal enjoyment.

To attend to the individuality of each student, we have taken into account the Universal Learning Design , DUA , which proposes that in any human group diversity is the norm and not the exception. With the new approach, it is possible to respond to individual differences of learners. Not only do we follow the DUA principles, but we also rely on new technologies.

The latter have a relevant role both for the realization of our own materials and the use of those created by others, as well as for the use of videos with color-coded scores and with the appropriate difficulty for each level.

Autonomy and self-esteem

This methodological proposal has the student body as its central point. He is always the protagonist of musical interpretation. This gives them greater autonomy and strengthens their self-esteem.

With our experience we can affirm that learning music is enriching. Making music turns the class into an experiential experience. Music becomes more accessible and playable, even in complex situations, giving everyone the opportunity to enjoy listening and musical performance.

Author Bio: Maria Isabel Arias Villanueva is a PDI at the International University of Valencia

Jaume Prats Artés, Graduated in Primary and Musical Education from the University of Castilla-La Mancha, has also participated in the preparation of this article.