The passage of Public Law 94-142, The Education for All Handicapped Children Act, changed the composition of public school classrooms. Special need students of varying abilities entered the classroom. Children with hearing impairments were among the mainstreamed students. Music education for students with hearing impairments seems paradoxical and impractical to many people. However, documentation of that very concept dates back one hundred and forty-five years.
The music educator’s job is to provide an opportunity for all students to participate in music experiences. An understanding of the students’ type and degree of hearing loss, as well as their language level, is necessary to plan appropriate instructional adaptationto meet the needs of these special students.
Research suggests the use of visual aids, rhythm and movement activities, peer assistance or cooperative learning groups, low frequency and highly percussive instruments, and close proximity of students with hearing impairments monitored in this study to the teacher will aid these special need students in their perception of music.
Incorporating the research suggestions into the Kodály methodology allowed the students with hearing impairments to be actively involved in music classes. This multi-sensory approach to music education benefited all students, regardless of their learning style or special need.