School of Music


Master of Arts in Music Education (MA)


Rebecca Watson


Ability-appropriate, Church Body, Music, Special Needs, Specially-capable, Worship


Music | Music Education | Special Education and Teaching


This project investigated the effects that a faith-based music class for special needs students had upon the students, their families, and the participating church body. Two special needs students participated in a four-week faith-based general music class sponsored by their local church. Significant spiritual growth was demonstrated by the families of the special needs students and the church body and was reported in personal interviews and anonymous surveys. The study evaluated the physical, cognitive, and spiritual progress the students demonstrated during the four-week class. Data was collected through researcher observation and journaling, audiovisual recordings, personal interviews of the assistant teacher, parents, and ministerial staff, and anonymous surveys of the church. Class participants concluded the study by presenting their worship program to the congregation through singing, ability-appropriate movement, and the recitation of Bible scripture. The results provided evidence that a music ministry for specially-capable students can have a positive impact on students’ families and the general church ministry. These results led to the creation of a Christian Fine Arts curriculum for special needs students. In addition, the church leadership obtained a more profound understanding of the significance of addressing the spiritual development of the special-need student by providing ability-appropriate music lessons with an emphasis upon the Word of God.