Certification in Special Music Education: Level 1

Fall 2024

Develop the skills you need to help students of all abilities reach their full potential!

In this intensive course, you will learn how to support the cognitive, sensory and behavioural needs of students with exceptionalities in studio and classroom music learning. We will discuss theory and evidence-based practical approaches that will allow you to teach students with autism, ADHD, learning disabilities and more with confidence. 

Led by Dr. Erin Parkes, a renowned expert with 25 years experience in special music education, participants will benefit from both classroom learning and individual mentorship. 

This course will be presented in a small group blended online format, with both synchronous and asynchronous components. This will allow both the flexibility of online study and the benefits of collaborative learning. Course elements include:

  • Weekly recorded lectures and readings
  • Weekly synchronous discussion group
  • Opportunities for 1:1 mentorship
  • Online discussion and Q&A
  • Teaching resources 

Scheduling of synchronous components will be done on a group by group basis.

Our goal is for all participants to feel supported in their learning and equipped to teach students of all abilities. Ongoing mentorship and support will be provided to all participants. Successful completion of all three levels of intensive courses will lead to certification in special music education.

Blended Online

Starting date

Starting September 23, 2024


10 weeks


$985 CAD
(payment plans available)

What you are going to learn

Help students of all abilities reach their full potential

Our Intensive Level 1 course is designed to give you the knowledge and skills you need to set up your students with exceptionalities for success. 
Throughout this course, you'll learn about:

  • The importance of understanding different learners
  • Basics of common diagnoses
  • How sensory processing impacts learning
  • Determining and adapting for different learning styles
  • The ADAPT model to develop individualized approach, curriculum and lesson plans
  • Supporting behavioural challenges
  • Creating a multi-modal approach that works for all learners
  • Teaching toolkit of adaptive activities for teaching musical concepts
  • Working with parents and caregivers
Join today

Be part of our special music education network!

Equip yourself with creative problem-solving skills and easy-to-use tools to be able to reach even the most challenging students. Participants in our intensive courses will join our network, where they will receive ongoing support beyond the 10-week course!

Private Facebook Group for Special Music Educators

Membership in Lotus Centre's Teacher Directory

Ongoing 1:1 Mentor Check-ins

Quarterly Q&A Sessions

Frequently asked questions

How many hours of work should I expect to have for the course each week?

The course includes work for you to do on your own time each week. The total amount is about 3-4 hours per week. Each week there will also be a one-hour online discussion session that will be scheduled at the beginning of the course.

What if I can't make it to the discussion sessions?

We schedule the sessions based on participants' available times. We do our best to accommodate everyone's schedules so they can be there. For those who cannot make it to the scheduled time, the sessions will be recorded for them to watch and provide questions/comments later.

Do I have to pay all at once?

No, we have a payment plan that allows you to pay in monthly installments of $197 CAD. When you click the "Enroll" button to register for the course, you will be given the option to pay the entire amount or in installments.

Do I have to purchase any additional materials?

No, all course materials will be provided to you during the course.

Can I register after the course has started?

Yes, we sometimes allow late registrations. If you would like to register for the course after it has started, please send an email to jeff@lotuscentre.net

Erin Parkes, PhD

Director of Research and Professional Development

Lotus Centre for Special Music Education
Dr. Erin Parkes received her Bachelor of Music, Master of Arts in Musicology, and Graduate Certificate in Piano Pedagogy Research from the University of Ottawa. She completed a PhD in Music Education from McGill University in 2015, where she researched how to effectively train studio music teachers to work with students with autism. Erin has been teaching music since 1996 and has worked with students of all ages in a variety of settings. She presents at conference and guest lectures throughout North America and internationally on teaching music to students with special needs and other issues in music education.
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