Top 10 adaptive musical notation systems for use in music therapy / education activities for children, adolescents, and adults.

1. Enlarge regular music notation.

2. Color on actual music notation and have actual colors taped to the instrument.

3. Write in finger numbers on the actual music notation.

4. Rather than reading music, transcribe the notes into colors and then tape the related colors onto the respective keys/holes/bells ect.

* Many xylophones and other beginner instruments use the following color scheme:

c is red, d is orange, then yellow, green, light blue, dark blue, purple, white and the high c is red again. Boomwackers follow a similar color pattern, too.

5. Do the same with numbers. Code them: c=1, d=2 etc.

6. If separating out the melody between several players, (such as tone bells, hand bells, Orff-like instruments, boomwackers, etc – – color code each player’s sheet and have the students play when their colors and/or numbers is emplasized/ colored in/numbered/pictured.

7.  Simplify the arrangement by crossing/whiting out/deleting unnecessary material.

8. Have the students stand in musical scale order. They are to play when pointed to.

(Can anyone help me with the grammar!)

9. Same as number eight, but you position them where they can best see, follow, and perceive your cues.

10. Here’s a triple play:  Post the group’s music on the board and have prepared music reading sheets  whereby the students play only when their notes/chord/instruments are circled/colored/drawn.

*Also, if a person has the knack of “playing by ear” or listening and learning music

-that may be your best way to teach.  Don’t limit because of age or skill sets. I recently

worked with  two three-year-olds who just had the gift of playing by ear!






This has been a blog by Margie La Bella of Music Therapy Tunes on the use of alternate

adaptive notation systems for children, adolescents, and adults who contend with

autism, add, adhd, down’s syndrome, down syndrome, ptsd, trauma, psychiatric issues,  learning disabilities, ld, cp, and all the rest of us. Thank you for reading.

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