Teaching Jazz to Special Learners

Jazz can be demanding mistress, but she can also be a useful tool for teaching kids with special needs. Access to Jazz for Children with Physical Disabilities is an online video training program designed for music and special educators alike.

Developed by MENC members Kim McCord and Louise Rogers, along with Susan Cohen of Friends of the Arts (FOTA) and Fran Prezant of Abilities!, students learn and apply elements of jazz to express themselves through improvisation, music composition and performance.

“Kids with disabilities are no different than other students,” says McCord. “They have the same need for learning about jazz as others. We developed this video training program primarily for special and music educators. Jazz just happens to be the medium we used for teaching because of the flexibility it gives the students to express themselves in a variety of different ways by using electronic or traditional instruments. The main thing about this video is that it is available to all teachers to watch and learn from.”

Access to Jazz for Children with Physical Disabilities is available online free of cost. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Kim McCord or Louise Rogers through the email links below.

Kim McCord is an associate professor of music education at Illinois State University

Louise Rogers is a FOTA teaching artist and jazz performer

–Nick Webb, July 25, 2008, © National Association for Music Education