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Teaching Music to Students with Special Needs

Key Information

July 9–July 13, 2018


Ryan Hourigan Ryan Hourigan (2010 Indiana Music Educators Association Outstanding University Music Educator of the Year) joined the faculty at Ball State University in the fall of 2006 after nine years of teaching music at the secondary and university level. Dr. Hourigan holds degrees from Eastern Illinois University (B.M.), Michigan State University (M.M. Wind Conducting) and a Ph.D. in Music Education from The University of Michigan. Dr. Hourigan currently teaches music education and is the Associate Director of the School of Music and is the President’s Immersive Learning Fellow at Ball State University. Currently in its fifth printing, Hourigan is the co-author (Alice Hammel) of Teaching Music to Students with Special Needs: A Label-free Approach. Hourigan and Hammel’s second book Teaching Music to Students with Autism was released in the fall 2013. Starting in 2012, Dr. Hourigan provided a series of presentations for The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. His workshop: Reaching Students with Autism Through the Arts: Implications for Inclusive Arts Classrooms is now on the National Roster of presentations through the Kennedy Center.


This workshop will focus on the Music Teaching and Learning and Children with Special Needs. Specifically, the aim of the week will be on the following aspects of teaching music to children with disabilities: (a) Navigating the Special Education System (Including Special Education Law); (b) Adapting, Accommodating, and modifying music content for Children with Special Needs at all levels of instruction; (c) Issues associated with mainstreaming and inclusion. All of the topics will be explored through learning domains (e.g. communication, cognition, behavior, sensory, etc.) in order for participants to gain skills and understandings for all children with learning differences. This workshop is targeted for music educators at all levels of instruction as well as both ensemble and general music teachers.


Monday through Thursday 2:00 PM - 7:30 PM; Friday 10:30 AM - 4:00 PM

Application Procedure

Application deadline: June 16, 2018

Applicants not enrolled in the MM in Music Education Summer Program must submit an online application, complete the $30 non-refundable application fee, and pay the workshop fee listed below.

Students enrolled in the U-M MM in Music Education Summer Program should register for this workshop through Wolverine Access. Currently enrolled U-M students do not pay the application or workshop fee.


No audition required.

Tuition / Fees

Non-refundable Application Fee - $30
Workshop fee: $400
No refunds for cancellations after June 16, 2018

Required Materials

Hammel, A., & Hourigan R. M. (2011). Teaching music to students with special needs: A label-free approach. New York: Oxford University Press

Admission Notification

Applicants not enrolled in the MM in Music Education Summer Program are accepted upon completion of an online application and $30 non-refunable application fee. All applicants will receive an email notification confirming their admission.


For more information about Department of Music Education Summer Workshops please email Dr. Kate Fitzpatrick, Summer Program Coordinator, or call the Department of Music Education (734) 764-5429.


Department of Music Education Summer Workshops may be taken as part of the MM in Music Education Summer Program degree program, as a workshop for professional development enrichment without college credit, or for graduate credit (NCFD).

Workshop (non-credit)

  • Apply
  • Application deadline - June 16, 2018
  • Please mail $430 check payable to the University of Michigan to the address on the confirmation page.

Graduate Credit

  • Apply, indicating Master of Music Education-Summer or Non-Candidate for Degree (NCFD). If accepted, applicants pay for the credit(s) at the appropriate tuition rate (in-state or out-of-state).
  • Application deadline - June 16, 2018
  • Questions? Please contact Admissions, at

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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower