Resources, resources, resources

Music for Special Kids – Musical Activities, Songs, Instruments and Resources

By: Pamela Ott

Jessica Kingsley Publishers

15 March 2011, 192pp

Paperback Book £14.99

ISBN: 978-1-849058582


This comprehensive, practical resource is packed with ideas and fun activities to enhance children’s enjoyment of music. Written by Pamela Ott, Director of Music Therapy for children with developmental disabilities at the UCP of Southern Arizona, this book will be useful tool for all parents and teachers, helping to engage children through songs and musical instruments, whether the children have developmental disabilities or not.


Montessori teachers will need to use some of the activities selectively; in the section of playing instruments, Ott suggests practicing colour recognition on the piano keyboard by taping coloured cards to the 61 keys. This complex activity ignores the need to isolate, identify and produce sounds and/or colours through three period lessons.

Many of the walking to music activities can be incorporated into the traditional Montessori line exercise, which can be extended to include bends, zigzags and corners.

Children with Down syndrome and Cerebral Palsy will love the joyful percussion activities, action rhymes and relaxation activities. There is plenty here to encourage individual and group work, self esteem, communication skills and movement coordination.


Musical concepts, including changes in dynamics and tempo are included together with a good section on staccato (short and detached, hopping, jumping freezing movements) and legato (long and smooth, gliding, twirling, sweeping movements).


Children with auditory processing disorders, including those with autism, will benefit from having new songs or musical activities presented very slowly and softly, repeating each activity often so it can be fully assimilated by the children. This useful book is supported by plenty of sheet music and quiet time activities.