Date of Award





Music Education - Instrumental Concentration

Degree Type

Bachelor of Music Education


Schwob School of Music

First Advisor

Michelle Herring-Folta

Second Advisor

Keith Matthews

Third Advisor

Susan Tomkiewicz


This research focuses on visual aid accessibility for students with disabilities, students from poverty, and culturally diverse students. Each of these facets are explored, defined, and reflected on in regard to how visual aids could be more accessible for each community of students. Posters have been developed based on this research to practically apply the findings to visuals that could be used in a music classroom. When considering the accessibility for students with disabilities, it is crucial to review legislation such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (1990, 2004, 2013) which mandates services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. This research specifically focused on cognitive disabilities, language disorders, autism spectrum disorders, and vision loss, or those that would be hindering when using visual aids. Another community of students that are discussed in this research is the students in poverty. Classroom structure may be one of the largest influences on any student’s learning abilities, which includes visual aids. There are many types of poverty that are to be acknowledged in any classroom environment, and some students may even be considered in multiple subcategories of poverty (Payne, 1996). These subcategories include situational, generational, absolute, relative, urban, and rural (Jensen, 2009). Visual aids help students in poverty with availability of instructional resources, dedication to diversity and equity, and emphasis on reading skills. Cultural diversity is an additional factor of differentiation when defining a community of students and their accessibility in the classroom. Culture is currently viewed as shared patterns of behavior and interaction, as well as cognitive constructs and understanding learned through socialization (Pratt, 2016). It is crucial that a culture not be essentialized (making generalizations about a culture that would blur their unique distinctions) in the representation of that culture. Cultures can be explored through songs, choral works, instrumental selections, and listening experiences while making musical connections to a culture’s art, dance, literature, drama, and social studies. Practical applications of creating visual aids that are more accessible are then discussed. Each group of students have specific accommodations that are needed to promote accessibility to the learning environment, including visual aids.