Music Technology for Special Needs Students

Music Technology for Special Needs Students

Access For All

I’ve just finished up at the ASME (Australian Society for Music Education) 2015 conference which was held in Adelaide last week.  I delivered a keynote speech and 3 other workshops, but I also managed to attend a few other sessions. I always enjoy learning from other presenters – both from a “content” point of view and a presenting/delivery point of view.

I was really happy that I was able to get to Phil Heeley’s engaging elective session titled Access For All – Quality Music Making for Everyone Including Pupils with Special Needs and Disabilities.

Phil worked as a teacher for 30 years before launching his own consultancy business Inclusive Music through which he runs workshops for students and professional development for teachers and trainers “no matter what the ability or disability”.

In his session, Phil showed us a range of music technology equipment, apps and software so I recorded a quick video.  The list of equipment and apps can be found underneath the video.

  1. Korg padKontrol
  2. Skoog
  3. Soundbeam
  4. Alphasphere
  5. Korg NanoPad
  6. Beamz iPad app
  7. iKaossilator
  8. Soundbeam switches
  9. Akai LPD8 midi controller
  10. Beamz
  11. Soundbeam switches
  12. Airvox app
  13. MaKey MaKey
  14. Numark Orbit

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About the Author:

I love to simplify technology for music teachers. I help teachers from all around the world through the Midnight Music Community - an online professional development community where teachers can take online courses, ask questions and receive personalised help for the music tech goals.


  1. Zita Sankauskas October 16, 2015 at 11:56 pm - Reply

    Whow. How fantastic are all these “toys” . Thanks for filming and sharing it with us. Great to have all the musical gadgets named with info on them as well. You are so efficient Katie. Thanks once again.

  2. […] Links for Music Teachers | Midnight Music. GarageBand Shortcuts Free Download | Midnight Music. Music Technology for Special Needs Students | Midnight Music. Back to Basics – How to plug a MIDI keyboard into your computer | Midnight Music. How to plug a […]

  3. Carrie Lennard February 4, 2017 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    If you’re interested in creative music-making with children and adults who have profound and complex needs check out The Improvise Approach. It’s primarily about using iPads and the ThumbJam app, setting it up in the major pentatonic scale of C and then playing along to specially composed music that means you’re always in tune. There are 10 tracks that actually play from the downloadable ebook. These tracks are additionally available from iTunes as a play-along album. The ebook (available from the iBookstore) has really clear and simple instructions, aimed at anyone who has never played music before. You will find it incredibly easy and satisfying and the best is – you can use this with your group of people with complex/profound/additional needs and make great music together. It’s a completely authentic experience – this is not about pre-programmed touch switches. Whatever you or your students play, is right and sounds musically satisfying alongside the backing tracks. Go to for further comprehensive information. The other thing is, you can add tuned percussion, Soundbeam, Skoog, Apollo Ensemble, ikaossilator, GarageBand app (IOS) – in fact, if it’s tunable to the major pentatonic scale of C, it works! The Improvise Approach is really inclusive and simple to use.

    • Katie February 6, 2017 at 2:32 pm - Reply

      Thanks Carrie – this looks really interesting. i’ll definitely take a look. – Katie

  4. Don Gaynor January 22, 2018 at 8:11 am - Reply

    I’d like to recommend Band In A Box from to this wonderful list.

    • Katie January 24, 2018 at 6:58 am - Reply

      Thanks Don!

  5. Ruud van der Wel July 26, 2018 at 8:46 am - Reply

    HI Live in the Netherlands and I want to show some other music technology that is available. I am the founder of My Breath My Music Foundation. Our Foundation aims to give people with severe physical disabilities the opportunity to play music, using either self- adapted electronic instruments or by developing electronic musical instruments ourself. A lot of our solutions are true musical instruments, My students really love to play a real instrument. I know It is not always possible , but if it is we do so.
    We use windcontrollers which we adapt . also the electronic part. And we have developed a windcontroller that you can play without your hands. ( Magic Flute)
    We also have developed a free software music instrument called EYEPLAYMUSIC It is for eyegaze users. You can download it for free on our website. Next month we will release My Switch Music. It is free software for switch users.

    • Katie August 2, 2018 at 4:15 pm - Reply

      Thanks Ruud – I took a look at your website and you have some really interesting instruments there. Thanks for sharing the information here.

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