SMT Panel Accepted!

I am happy to report that the DISMUS interest group has a special session on the upcoming SMT conference (Charlotte, Nov. 2013). The plan, which includes short papers and time for audience participation and discussion, and abstract are below.  Hope you will be able to attend!
Universal Design in the Music Theory and Aural Skills Classrooms (Jennifer Iverson, University of Iowa, moderator)
  1. “Best Practices for Navigating the Campus Disability Services Office” (Jon Kochavi, Swarthmore College)
  2. “Aural Skills and the Dyslexic Music Major” (Laurel Parsons, North Vancouver, BC)
  3. “An Introduction to Universal Design for Learning and its Application to the Music Theory Classroom and Curriculum” (Bruce Quaglia, University of Utah)
  4. “Hands-on Music Theory: A Kinesthetic Approach to Teaching Music Theory Fundamentals” (Kati Meyer, University of Iowa)
  5. “Schenkerian Analysis in Multiple Modalities” (Robert Gross, Rice University)
  6. Small-group discussion and workshopping (to be facilitated by moderator and panelists; 30-45 min.)
Universal design, according to the Center for an Accessible Society, suggests that architectural spaces should be designed so as to be “usable by all people to the greatest extent possible.” This special session applies universal design principles to music theory and aural skills instruction in five short papers (each ten to twenty minutes long), with a forty-five minute small group discussion and syllabus workshop at the end of the session.

The session traces a trajectory from the usual practice of offering accommodations to “disabled” students, toward a more radical re-envisioning of pedagogy to serve multiple abilities. We begin with a survey report summarizing a qualitative study of best practices for navigating the campus disability services offices. The second paper, on teaching aural skills to music-dyslexic students, only reinforces how critical it is for instructors to be well informed about different abilities and accommodations. The session then asks, “How can we minimize our partitions between “abled” and “disabled”? We hear a paper contextualizing the concepts of universal design for learning (UDL) within the music theory curriculum, and then hear two case studies—on kinesthetic fundamentals teaching and on Braille for Schenkerian analysis—that challenge and extend traditional pedagogy. The discussion and workshop period will allow session participants to apply and integrate these new ideas into their own syllabi and pedagogy. This panel provides both research and pedagogical provocation for instructors who are increasingly mindful of varied and differing abilities.


Welcome to the blogging presence of music and disability studies. This site is maintained by Samantha Bassler, Social Media Officer of the Society for Music Theory Music and Disability Interest Group and the American Musicology Society Music and Disability Study Group. Please contact Samantha at s.e.bassler (at) if you are interested in guest blogging about your music and disability research or activism on this blog, or to share announcements about forthcoming publications, news items, conference events, or other items of interest to music and disability studies.