Learning to play the piano can be a great thing for children with disabilities. It helps build self-esteem, promotes brain development and motor coordination, and gives them a skill that both they and other people can enjoy.
If your child has any kind of disability, you’re probably already very familiar with what kind of accommodations they need. You know that it can take extra time and effort to help them do things that other people take for granted. If your child is interested in learning the piano, you can find a way to help them do it.
There are music programs for students with disabilities and teachers who specialize in teaching students with disabilities all across the country. Check on the internet to see if there’s a program in your area.
Here are some ideas for using Hoffman Academy lessons for students with disabilities:
Difficulties with auditory processing:
Pause lessons frequently and repeat small sections at a time to help with comprehension.
Attention Deficit Disorder: Place the piano keyboard and the device you use to view the lessons in a room where there won’t be family traffic moving through, toys to play with, or other distractions. If your child loses focus while watching a lesson, pause the lesson, redirect with a gentle reminder, and back up a little before starting again to make sure nothing gets missed.
Visual Impairment: Try enlarging printouts of lesson materials to make them easier to see. Sit with your child while listening to the lessons and help them find hand positions on the keyboard. Many vision-impaired musicians become excellent at playing by ear, so encourage your child to develop this skill.
Hearing Impairment: The piano is one of the easiest instruments for the hearing impaired to learn. Hoffman Academy lessons are designed to have a very strong visual component, but it would be best if a hearing practice partner can also be there to watch the lessons with them and help them understand the verbal instructions.
Physical Disabilities: If your child is in a wheelchair, make sure that the height of the wheelchair and the height of the keyboard are adjusted so that your child can play comfortably. If it is hard for your child to hold their arms up, you can install wrist supports, such as the ones designed for desktop computers, to help keep arms in position for playing.
For a student with any disability, practicing the piano may be more taxing, both physically and mentally, than for other students. During practice time, several short sessions with breaks in between might work better than one long session. When your child needs a break, set a timer for five minutes to make sure that there’s a reminder for both of you that it’s time to return to the piano.
Making music is for everyone.
Any child who is interested in learning the piano, no matter what their abilities, can make progress with the patient and loving support of those around them.