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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Music (M.M.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



The purpose of this collective case study was to explore the ways in which piano teachers most effectively alter their curriculum to accommodate students with disabilities. Three piano teachers were recruited for this study and were interviewed about their education and teaching experiences. The interview questions used in this study were constructed to detail their educational background, specifically considering their background in special education, if any, and to describe specific ways in which they have accommodated students with disabilities. The questions also sought to discover how familiar they were with the resources available for accommodating students with disabilities.

The participants mentioned several important factors in accommodating students with disabilities in piano lessons. Teacher-student collaboration was found to be essential in accommodating those with physical disabilities, while cognitive or behavioral disabilities seemed to have more complex solutions. Student interest and varying lesson pacing was noted to be particularly effective with students who had behavioral issues. According to the participants, physical disabilities were easiest to accommodate, while accommodations for students with behavioral or emotional disabilities required the most planning.

The participants of this study found their preparation for special education from their higher education institutions particularly lacking. They stressed that although they received poor training for accommodating disabilities, there is no substitute for experience. Experience in teaching students with disabilities was shown to be the most helpful tool in making more informed decisions about their accommodations for these students.


First Advisor

Sara K Jones