Universal Design in Music Classrooms

Universal Design in Music Classrooms

Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2063-5.ch009

Abstract

This chapter focuses on universal design (UD) in the field of music education. First, the study introduces the original principles of UD and application to music education in P-12 schools. Second, the study explores the concept of musicking and draws the connection with the direction of UD. Instead of lowering the musical challenges and standard of performance, the chapter produces the idea of providing a musical platform for everyone to actively participate and interact with music. The chapter provides a total of six cases of UD in music education practice. This chapter provides a succinct explanation and examples of UD application in music education. Some of the examples include the usage of technology.
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Introduction

Universal Design has been a timely and important research topic both in the realm of music therapy and music education. This book focuses on the implementation of Universal Design in the field of music education. Universal Design is the presentation of products and environments to be usable by all people (Mace, 1985). In music education, we always strive to invite all children for any type of musical activity to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized skills or abilities. When designers apply UD principles, their music classes and musical environments meet the needs of potential participants with a variety of characteristics. Disability is just one of many handicaps that an individual might possess. For example, some may have huge trouble reading music, others might have trouble holding the instruments. In some cases, participants may dislike certain genres of music so that they might have trouble getting along with other classmates to share music. All of these characteristics, including difficulty in learning or physical handicaps, should be considered when developing musical instruction and environments.

This book proposes that the goal of implementing UD in music education is for everyone to participate in musical activities and share musical enjoyment. Throughout the experience, we shall aim to maximize the individual children's learning with a wide range of characteristics by applying UD principles to all aspects of instruction including delivery methods, physical spaces, musical environment, information resources, technology, personal interactions, and assessments.

At the Center for Universal Design (CUD) at North Carolina State University, a group of architects, product designers, engineers, and environmental design researchers established seven principles of UD to guide the design of products and environments (Connell, et al., 1997). CUD's principles of UD are listed below. They are followed by an example of an application in instruction.

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