Events at a Glance


Back to All Events

Special Learners

  • NYU Steinhardt 35 West 4th Street, Room 985 New York, NY, 10012 United States (map)

With Keynote Address by Dr. Elise Sobol

Presented by Katherine Stock & Sarah Fard


Music: A Safe Haven for Focused Learning in Special Education
(by Dr. Elise Sobol)

Teaching Tools for Inclusive Music (by Katherine Stock)

In this session, participants will learn tools and techniques to help their students with disabilities reach their full musical potential. We will discuss general guidelines for reading IEPs and for understanding the content. We will practice and discuss modifications, accommodations and adaptations within the music classroom. This workshop will help you to bring out the musician in all students with all abilities.

Music Literacy: Who Are We Including? (by Sarah Fard)

Music literacy remains a staple of music education. In fact, it rests at the core of the National Standards. Most higher learning institutes require music literacy as well, focusing on reading and writing music in standard music notation. However, studies suggest that standard music notation is not intuitive to most people (Tan, Wakefield, & Jeffries, 2009). In addition, musicians with disabilities such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, autism, amongst others, might find standard notation as a barrier to music making (McCord, 2006). In the inclusive music class, music educators will find that they must accommodate or modify in order to include all musicians in curricular goals. This presentation will explore the various reasons that standard music notation may need to be adapted for our students. Participants will evaluate existing adapted forms of notation, as well as new ways to invent notations specific to each student’s needs.


Elise Sobol Headshot.png

Elise Sobol, Ed.D. Director of Music Education at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development is an educator/pianist who has made unique contributions to the fields of culturally relevant and inclusive teaching. Author of An Attitude and Approach for Teaching Music to Special Learners (Pentland Press, USA 2001, first edition, and MENC/Rowman & Littlefield Education, second edition, 2008, third edition, 2017), numerous journal articles, contributing author to city, state, and national education publications, Dr. Sobol has received recognition for her work as a leader in the field of teaching music to special learners. One of the National Honor Roll of Outstanding American Teachers, Professor Sobol is included in distinguished biographical publications such as Marquis’ Who’s Who in American Education, Who’s Who in the World, Two Thousand Notable American Women, and the International Dictionary of Distinguished Leadership. A three time Grammy® nominated music educator, she was recently added to the roster of Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement inductees for 2018. In September, 2017, Dr. Sobol was appointed Visiting Associate Professor of Music Education at New York University. She retired in June 2016 from teaching high school music for students with developmental disabilities including autism spectrum disorders at the Rosemary Kennedy School, Wantagh, LI bringing thirty years of PK- 12 experience teaching in regular and special education settings to her new position at NYU. At the University she serves on the Teacher Education Council and the Neuro- diversity Task Force. She teaches Music for Exceptional Children, Student Teaching in Elementary and Secondary Schools, is responsible for field placements and supervision and advisement from undergraduate through doctoral programs. She is Founder/Director of the Continuing Education in Music Program (C.E.M.) an inclusive music education opportunity for adult learners at NYU’s Washington Square campus. Outside the university and since 1993, Dr. Sobol was appointed the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) Chairperson of Music for Special Learners continually serving as an important resource for educators. Professor Sobol additionally serves as an Advisory Board member of the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs, Boston, MA and Music Educators Association of New York City. She continues as Co-Chair of the Portfolio Committee for the New York State Regents Blue Ribbon Commission on the Arts helping to develop the 4 + 1 Arts Pathway. Active as an international clinician, Professor Sobol has brought her interactive style of facilitative instruction to participants throughout the Americas, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia. Topics draw upon her extensive research and experience teaching students with social, emotional behavioral, developmental, and learning disabilities with titles such as “Building Bridges for Learning with Music,” “Cultivating Cognition with Musical Interventions,” “Reaching Higher with Music in Education,” “Music for Milestones,” “Rehearsal Techniques for Successful Inclusion Practices in Music Performance,” and “Music-Assisted Learning for Students on the Autism Spectrum.” Her dissertation research “Autism Research: Music Aptitude’s effect on developmental/academic gains for students with significant cognitive/language delays” provided cutting edge data for higher education. The research can be accessed through St. John’s University ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 127. Contact elise.sobol@nyu.edu for more information.

Katherine Stock is a graduate of the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College with a Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance and a Masters in Music Education. Katherine is a freelance percussionist, drummer and recording artist in New York City. She has been working with students with disabilities for ten years within District 75 of the NYCDOE. She is currently teaching music at P721Q, the John F. Kennedy Jr. School in Queens, NY. In her ten years with District 75, Katherine has directed and co-directed more than 30 performances including musicals, concerts and other multi-disciplinary performances. In addition to previously presenting and assisting other music teachers in adapting their curriculum for students with disabilities, Ms. Stock has worked closely with Little Kids Rock, the NYCDOE Arts Office and District 75 to provide adaptations for students with disabilities. In 2017, Ms. Stock contributed to writing the music portion of the Arts and Students with Disabilities Online Resource Compendium with the Office of Arts and Special Projects within the NYCDOE. Katherine is a member of the Steering Committee and the Arts Values Working Group for the Arts for All Abilities Consortium.


Sarah Fard Headshot.png

Sarah Fard is a music educator with Medford Public Schools, MA, who teaches guitar and music technology courses at the high school levels. She also coordinates and manages the Berklee collegiate chapter of United Sound, bringing adaptive band lessons to beginner adult students. In addition, she serves as an educational consultant to the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs for their Saturday lessons program. She holds a BM (University of New Hampshire) and Masters (Boston University) in Music Education, and a Graduate Certificate in Music and Autism from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. An avid music lover, Sarah also loves performing regularly in the New England area.


This workshop satisfies 4 hours of CTLE Credit (forms available at Workshop)

  • Pre-registration cost for current MEANYC members is $15 online and $20 at door.

  • Cost for non-members is $25.

  • Collegiate members can register for free.

  • MEANYC professional members get one free workshop each school year. If you are a member and haven’t claimed your one free workshop, please visit your member dashboard and fill out the form.

  • Registration is non-refundable.


Earlier Event: April 29
Annual Honoree Dinner