Lotus Centre Institute for Professional Development

At Lotus Centre for Special Music Education, our mission is to provide access to adapted music education for the special needs community. We see professional development as a huge part of that mission, as the more teachers are equipped to teach students with exceptionalities, the more opportunities there will be for the special needs community! Our goal is to provide both classroom and studio music educators with the skills they need to help students of all abilities reach their full potential. But even beyond that, we want all teachers who are part of our institute to feel supported in their learning and teaching on an ongoing basis.

The Lotus Centre is internationally recognized as a leader in increasing access to adapted music education. Through our 10+ years of experience developing special music education programs and approaches, as well as our research experience, we've developed a wealth of tools and resources to share with music educators. Our courses are designed to provide the skills needed to equip teachers to help students of all abilities reach their full potential! 

Our Programs:

We offer three types of programs: Free webinars, Mini courses, and Certification courses. Check out our course listings below to see what we are currently offering!

Free Webinars

Our free 1-hour webinars allow music teachers to learn about different topics in special music education. Each webinar includes exploration of an aspect of teaching students with exceptionalities with the goal of building teacher toolkits.

Mini Courses in Special Music Education

Offering a more in-depth look at topics in special music education than our webinars in an accessible format for practicing music educators. Each mini course includes a 3-hour session where participants will develop tools and strategies to strengthen their teaching, as well as an instructional guidebook for reference. 

Certification Courses in Special Music Education

For music educators who are looking for in-depth learning and would like to develop high-level skills in adaptive music education, we offer three levels of certification courses. Each 10-week certification course includes weekly lectures, discussion groups and readings in an interactive setting. Courses must be completed in order. Participants should be able to commit approximately four hours per week to the course. Certificates will be provided on completion of each level.
Level 2
Level 3

Check out our courses!


Control how you learn & progress

Various levels of engagement, from mini-courses to certification courses

Gain skills in adaptive music education that can be applied to studio, group or classroom teaching

Courses led by experienced and esteemed experts in special music education

Learn to work with students of all ages with a wide variety of learning profiles 

Learn more about Special Music Education:

Check out an interview with Dr. Erin Parkes on the Music Teacher's Podcast, hosted by Tim Topham: 

What our learners say about us:

"Thank you SO much to the Lotus Centre for this wonderful webinar! I am always looking for any opportunity to learn and support my students on their journey!" 
- Melissa MacNeil
“I really enjoyed the webinar, and genuinely look forward to doing more training through the Lotus Centre.”
- Lindsay Inkster
Join the Lotus centre community

Sign up for our mailing list to get updates on our professional development programs

Thank you!

Meet our team

Erin Parkes, PhD

Director of research and professional development
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.

Jeff Sabo, MA

Professional Development Coordinator
Jeff Sabo received his Bachelor of Music from Ithaca College. He completed a Graduate Certificate and Master of Arts in Piano Pedagogy Research from the University of Ottawa. Jeff began teaching piano in 2013, and he has worked with students ranging from young beginners to adults at a variety of levels. He currently works for the Lotus Centre for Special Music Education as a music teacher and professional development coordinator.
Created with