My research for methods that are effective in teaching music skills to students with autism and other special needs yielded little or no results.  It seems nobody knows how to teach these children.  Thus my website mission:  to discover and develop methods that work with ASD, etc.

So far I have created 8 lessons introducing pre-reading skills.  It is now time to write the curriculum explaining the code of dots on lines and spaces. In other words, how to read music. But what makes sense to autism spectrum disorder students, or any other challenged learners?  How do I explain the concepts with minimal (or no) words?

This week when I prayed at bedtime for inspiration an idea came which I tried on 3 youth and 2 adults. 
  • The goal was to teach the theme to "Morning" by Grieg written on the staff. 
  • First I wrote the melody in letters of the notes as in the "I Can Do It!" Piano Book. 
  • Following that was the melody written as a finger-number song.
  • After the students played those two versions, I gave them the tune written as music on the staff.

Every single one of them could play the song!! 

There was something about hearing the song, or feeling the finger movement, or comprehending the note names that carried over into deciphering the composition when rendered as dots on lines and spaces.

Granted, these are learning aides which must be removed eventually as the student acquires the skills of decoding music.  But for now they seem to be very valuable tactics in teaching the atypical learner to read music, tactics which I will incorporate in my "First Steps in Reading" series.

"Now I lay me down to sleep..."  I can't wait for the next inspiration.