Below you will find a bibliography and various resources to help navigate disability issues in the classroom. For inquiries about specific pedagogical challenges, you may wish to post a query to the DISMUS-L list or check our Archived Conversations. Ongoing mentoring is available, for either pedagogical or personal-life encounters with dis/ability. See our Support Network page.

The SMT Ad-Hoc Committee on Disability Issues has surveyed our membership about their experiences with disability and teaching. Take the survey and see the results here: Teaching Experience with Students Who Have Disabilities.

Scholars in the SMT have also surveyed campus disability-services offices at a number of different institutions. The results of this qualitative study will be shared in the SMT 2013 Special Session, “Universal Design in the Music Theory and Aural Skills Classrooms,” and posted here soon.

To add additional resources to this page, please complete the submission form. A note on terminology: The music classroom can easily impair differently abled bodies. The following resources discuss the causes of these impairments and explore ways to better accommodate all students within a more inclusive pedagogy.

Course Syllabi

Deaville, James. Music and Disability. Upper-level undergarduate seminar (.5 cr), Carleton University

Dell’Antonio, Andrew. Music, Ability, Disability. Graduate seminar (3 cr.), The University of Texas at Austin.

Howe, Blake. Music and Disability Studies. Graduate-level musicology seminar (3 cr.), Louisiana State University.

Iverson, Jennifer. Disability and Music. Music theory readings group (1 cr.), University of Iowa.

Meizel, Katherine. Music and Dis/Ability. Upper-level undergraduate seminar, Bowling Green State University.

Quaglia, Bruce. Special Topics in Music Theory: Music Analysis and Human Dis/ability. Upper-level undergraduate seminar (3 cr.), University of Utah.

Stras, Laurie. Music and Disability. Undergraduate seminar, an introduction to Disability Studies and music, University of Southampton.

Straus, Joseph. Disability Studies in Music. Graduate class on music and disability, CUNY Graduate Center .


Cognitive and Intellectual Disabilities

Jensen-Moulton, Stephanie. 2009. “Music Fundamentals: Three Classes with Daniel Trush.” Music Theory Online 15/3-4.

Kochavi, Jon. 2009. “‘How Do You Hear That?’ Autism, Blindness, and Teaching Music Theory.” Music Theory Online 15/3-4.

Gillespie, Jeff. 2009. “Our Common Uniqueness.” Music Theory Online 15/3-4.

Parsons, Laurel. 2015. “Dyslexia and Post-Secondary Music Instruction.” Music Theory Online 21/4.

Scotto, Ciro. “The Symbiosis of Disability.” Music Theory Online 15/3-4 (2009)

Emotional Disabilities

Deaville, James. 2009. “More Than the Blues: Clinical Depression, Invisible Disabilities and Academe.” Music Theory Online 15/3-4.

Jackson, Timothy L. 2009. “Escaping from a Black Hole: Facing Depression in Academia.” Music Theory Online 15/3-4.

Visual Impairment

Aikin, J. 2000. “Blind Musicians Confront Technology: Point-and-Click Music Software is a Wonderful Thing—But Try Using it Sometime with the Computer Monitor Unplugged. That’s Essentially the Challenge Facing Blind Musicians.” Keyboard 26:5:290 (May), 18.

Barss, F. 1999. “Learning From Kara: Reflections of Three Friends.” American Music Teacher 48:5 (April–May), 15–21.

Cazden, J. 2007. “Overcoming Adversity.” Electronic Musician 23:5 (May), 63–64, 66, 68.

Gillespie, Jeffrey L. 2013. “Serving Musicians With Visual Impairment in the College Classroom: Building Bridges Toward Understanding.” Journal of Music Theory Pedagogy 27: 165-210.

Goldstein, D. 2000. “Music Pedagogy for the Blind.” International Journal of Music Education 35:1 (May), 35–39.

Green, T. 2007. “How I Play Music While Using Technology to Help Low Vision.” American Recorder 48:1 (January), 22–26.

Hessler-Binder. S. 2002. “Rewards and Challenges of Teaching Blind String Students.” American String Teacher 52:1 (February), 80–83, 85.

Johnson, Shersten. 2009. “Notational Systems and Conceptualizing Music: A Case Study of Print and Braille Notation.” Music Theory Online 15/3-4.

Kerchner, J. 2004. “Singing Visions: Metaphors for Teaching Students with Visual Impairments.” Choral Journal 45:5 (December), 26–36.

Kochavi, Jon. 2009. “‘How Do You Hear That?’ Autism, Blindness, and Teaching Music Theory.” Music Theory Online 15/3-4.

Mazur, K. 2004. “An Introduction to Inclusion in the Music Classroom.” General Music Today (Online) 18:1 (Fall), 6–11.

Pacun, David. 2009. “Reflections on and Some Recommendations for Visually Impaired Students.” Music Theory Online 15/3-4.

Saslaw, Janna. 2009. “‘Teaching Blind’: Methods for Teaching Music Theory to Visually Impaired Students.” Music Theory Online 15/3-4.

Siligo, W. 2001. “Adaptive Techniques for Teaching Music to Visually Impaired Students.” American Music Teacher 50:5 (April–May), 20–23.

Smaligo, M. 1998. “Resources for Helping Blind Music Students.” Music Educators Journal 85:2 (September), 23–26, 45.

Hearing Impairment

Gillespie, Jeff. 2009. “Our Common Uniqueness.” Music Theory Online 15/3-4.

Physical Impairment

Gimbel, Allen. 2009. “Scholarship and Quadriplegia.” Music Theory Online 15/3-4.

Chronic Illness and invisible illness

Attinello, Paul. 2009. “Time, Work, and Chronic Illness.” Music Theory Online 15/3-4.

Bassler, Samantha. 2009. “‘But You Don’t Look Sick’: A Survey of Scholars with Chronic, Invisible Illnesses and their Advice on How to Live and Work in Academia.” Music Theory Online 15/3-4.


Morris, Rebecca. 2009. “Universal Design and Adaptive Equipment: Ideas and Solutions for Music Schools.” Music Theory Online 15/3-4.

Scotto, Ciro. 2009. “The Symbiosis of Disability.” Music Theory Online 15/3-4.


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