Survival Guide to Specials – Music


A braille reading student of mine has been learning about the placement of notes on a music staff in class this past month. The concepts that the teacher was introducing to the class were pretty basic and they were focusing on ;

half, quarter and whole notes

the music staff is made up of 5 lines (EGBDF) and 4 spaces (FACE)

In the lessons, the teacher was using the dry erase board at the front of the class to place notes on the staff and the students were to shout out what the note was. My student was not able to access this visually from such a long distance from her seat. We had tried her CCTV, as she has a bit of vision, but as she zoomed in she got confused as to what line the note was sitting on or what space it was located. To resolve this issue, we came up with this idea;


The picture above is a very basic design for a music staff. It is on a small dry erase board that is magnetic. The lines were made from using graphic art tape to give the student a tactile guide to identify where the lines are and where the spaces are. This could be much more detailed if needed for another student. Braille or large print can be added to the left hand side of the staff to identify each line and space. This was not needed for this particular student, so we kept it as simple as possible.

To show the notes, we used bright colored circle shaped magnets. Again, the student that this was designed for has some vision so just the color cue alone was needed but tactile markers or high dots could easily be added to further modify the materials. Below is what the magnets look like on the music staff.

The student assigned the colors to each note

Blue – whole

Green – half

Orange – quarter

As the teacher was drawing the note on the board, a peer partner was placing the corresponding magnet on the tactile staff. In real time, without an adult paraprofessional sitting right next to her, she was fully included in the lesson. Success!!




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