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Using Music to Explain Variability and UDL

This week I would like to feature a great example of how the arts can provide rich meaningful options for engagement, representation, and action and expression. The media file is a record of David Rose's OSEP Project Directors Conference Keynote, July 2011 titled: From Bach to Lady Gaga: Music Lessons for Special Education.

I encourage you to engage with the media file with audio, captioning, and audio description.David Rose presenting at OSEP Project Directors Conference

My Outline with Some Notes:

Dr. Rose gives an expert lecture on learning variability using music as an alternative representation of the concepts, strategies, and supports involved in engaging with, making sense of, and contributing to knowledge. The 60 minute lecture is a narrative with music examples and multi-media media illustrations of concepts that are central to the big ideas at the foundation of Universal Design for Learning- understanding the variability of humans and the implications for curriculum design and pedagogy.

udl checklist logoDr. Rose structures his lecture into three main sections that represent a professional journey about understanding and supporting human development and growth. In the final section, he illustrates aspects of the UDL Guidelines using various music examples. During the presentation he highlights critical features and provides background information to support vocabulary and comprehension. He connects discoveries and examples to the work of the audience and to personal examples of significance to him. The media record of the presentation features slides of text and images, captioned multi-media, and audio description.

I. Looking for universals in child development

II. What is universal? Variability

"There are individual diferences in how we perceive music, in how generate, compose and perform, and how we feel about music." -David Rose

III. Meeting the universal challenge of variability: Universal Design for Learning

Provide Multiple Means of Representation


Bach Toccata and Fugue in D-Minor

Provide Multiple Means of Action and Expression


TED talk with Tod Machover and Dan Ellsey

"...the future of music is interfaces and personal instruments..." -Tod Machover

"...[Dan Ellsey] discovers a path to expression...[The computer] makes music into shapes that can accessible. That's a better interface than notes on a graphic." -David Rose

Provide Multiple Means of Engagement


Glee cover of Lady Gaga song (mirror image?!?)

"...normal hearing is too narrow, but disabilist hearing is adding dimensions to hearing..." -Dame Evelyn Glennie

"If we really listen to people with disabilities, we will get to a better music, not just disabled music." -David Rose


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