Developing the inclusive practice of school music teachers to enhance wellbeing of students with disabilities: initial research findings

Louise Jenkins, Renee Crawford, Oskar Bleekar, Priya Wilson

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


In 2022 the authors reported an important finding from the investigation of the critical literature relating to working with Students with Disabilities (SWDs) in school classroom music. Despite an existing abundance of research about inclusive approaches in school classrooms, there is still a significant gap in the knowledge about ways to support SWDs in school music programs and classroom music. Our recommendation was that more extensive school-based research be implemented to identify crucial future directions and inclusive teaching practices for school music teachers.

This presentation in 2023 will report on the initial findings from the second stage of the research which is an ongoing case study in a Melbourne independent P-12 school. The authors wanted to explore if the music teachers were implementing inclusive SWD practices in the school music program and if so, how this impacted students’ wellbeing. An online anonymous survey with open and closed questions was implemented with 19 students who had major roles in the school musical production, including SWDs and non-SWDs. Semi-structured individual interviews were completed with 3 classroom music teachers about their inclusive practices and the perceived impact of these practices on their students’ wellbeing. Classroom observations were made of two classroom music teachers’ inclusive practices with SWDs.

The most significant initial finding, whilst acknowledging the small number of student participants, indicates that participation in a school musical production positively impacts students’ wellbeing and nurtures connection with other students. The music teachers also observed that some SWDs, whilst finding the rehearsal process very challenging, were unexpectedly able to manage the complex and noisy musical context during the public performance. The early recommendation is for more extensive investigation to be implemented across school music programs to broaden the understanding of how musical productions impact SWDs and whether this early finding is observed more widely.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventAustralian and New Zealand Association for Research in Music Education Annual Conference 2023 (Online Virtual Component) - Virtual/Online, Gold Coast, Australia
Duration: 20 Oct 202320 Oct 2023
Conference number: 45th


ConferenceAustralian and New Zealand Association for Research in Music Education Annual Conference 2023 (Online Virtual Component)
Abbreviated titleANZARME 2023 (Online Virtual Component)
CityGold Coast
Internet address


  • Inclusion
  • Disability
  • Students with disability
  • Music education
  • Classroom music teaching
  • Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
  • Holistic learning
  • Case study

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