University of Oulu

Sutela, K., Juntunen, M. L., & Ojala, J. (2016). Inclusive music education : the potential of the Dalcroze approach for students with special educational needs. Approaches: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Music Therapy, Special Issue 8(2),179-188.

Inclusive music education : the potential of the Dalcroze approach for students with special educational needs

Saved in:
Author: Sutela, Katja1; Juntunen, Marja-Leena2; Ojala, Juha1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Finland
2Sibelius Academy, University of the Arts Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Approaches, 2016
Publish Date: 2020-05-13


In this article, we discuss the potential of Dalcroze-inspired music education for students with special educational needs (SEN), based on preliminary findings of an on-going PhD study (ethnographic practitioner research) and the experiences of the first author when teaching music in a special education school for ten years. In that practice, the holistic approach based on Jaques-Dalcroze’s educational ideas was found to offer valuable and meaningful learning experiences and a tool for a deeper understanding of music, oneself and others. The research design consisted of a music and movement intervention for a group of Finnish grade 8 and 9 SEN students over a period of one school year. This paper draws on the first author’s reflections on the intervention (field notes and research diary) as well as on the teacher interview data. The preliminary results of the study indicate that the Dalcroze approach fosters equal opportunities for SEN students to experience music and to develop and demonstrate their skills, musical knowledge and agency. In the music–movement activities, the joy of collaboration with student peers and the teacher on the one hand, and enjoyment of each student’s bodily experiences on the other, are intertwined in the processes of embodied musical interaction. This interaction, primarily aimed at learning in and through music, evokes emotions as well as offers students opportunities to confront their emotions and make sense of learning situations and life in general.

see all

Series: Approaches. An interdisciplinary journal of music therapy
ISSN: 2459-3338
ISSN-E: 2459-3338
ISSN-L: 1791-9622
Volume: 8
Issue: 2
Pages: 179 - 188
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 6131 Theatre, dance, music, other performing arts
Funding: This study is partially funded by the ArtsEqual research initiative which is in turn funded by the Academy of Finland’s Strategic Research Council from its Equality in Society programme (project no. 293199)
Copyright information: © Approaches. The copyrights of all manuscripts published in Approaches are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.