School of Music


Doctor of Music Education (DME)


Stanley Harris


elementary music, diversity, culture, exceptionalities, teacher preparation, Other Health Impairments (OHI)


Music | Special Education and Teaching


Despite the extensive coursework and training in teacher preparation programs focusing on diverse populations, many teachers feel underprepared to meet the needs of emerging subcultures in the elementary music classroom. Over the years, the term diversity has grown beyond ethnicity and requires continued study and attention. This qualitative study explores the perspectives of elementary music educators about diverse populations of exceptional students with Other Health Impairments (OHI), defined as asthma, ADD, ADHD, diabetes, epilepsy, heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and Tourette syndrome, in their classrooms. The results of this study identify the existing and emerging subgroups within elementary music classrooms, expose training deficiencies, and suggest necessary changes and additions to teacher training and development programs. Societal changes lead to the emergence of new subcultures and new music teachers, requiring current and improved training to provide quality music instruction to every student regardless of their background. Elementary music teachers often service the entire student body, sometimes in mixed groupings, creating a unique classroom dynamic requiring comprehensive training. They must understand and train to be able to address every situation possible. This study will expand the music education profession, building highly qualified teachers, programs, and students. This study shows the gap in teacher preparation and provides useful suggestions on how to improve degree programs and continuing education opportunities, creating an inclusive environment. The implications of this study reach beyond the subject of music and music educator training, potentially revolutionizing general education concerning diversity in terms of exceptional students.