As a certified music therapist, I am trained to use my musical abilities to help clients achieve goals, develop abilities, and improve their overall quality of life. There are countless approaches to music therapy, which are all based on different theories of psychology and musicality. My training allows me to select an approach that is appropriate for each client or group I work with in order to best serve each client and to utilize the unique skills and abilities of each individual. One such method is the use of adapted music lessons.
So, what exactly is an adapted music lesson? An adapted music lesson is a music lesson where adaptations or modifications have been made to best suit the needs of the individual(s) involved in the lesson. These adaptations may be few or frequent, depending on the needs of each individual student. While many concepts of an adapted lesson are similar to a standard music lesson, the modifications allow for the client to learn at a pace and in a style that they are comfortable with.
Adapted music lessons require a facilitator who has experience with music therapy, music education, psychology, and other related training. If done properly, these lessons can allow an individual the chance to develop musical skills, a variety of cognitive abilities, and an improved quality of life.
How does an adapted music lesson differ from a music therapy session? In many ways, the two are similar. I consider an adapted music lesson to be a specific approach to music therapy such as song writing groups, 1:1 improvisation sessions, or movement and music groups. In an adapted lesson, the focus is on learning instrumental and musical skills, with required adaptations applied as needed, including modified lesson duration, modified lesson pace, and focus on specific music skills.
While any individual can benefit in some way from adapted music lessons, I have found these lessons to be particularly appropriate for higher functioning individuals with a special need. By approaching clinical work through adapted lessons, the focus is instead on learning a new musical or instrumental skill. This will lead to the potential for increased confidence and feelings of self-satisfaction as a result of learning a new and enjoyed skill, as well as reduced feelings of being held back by their special needs.