Active Musicianship in the Special Needs Classroom

"For students with severe mobility and physical limitations, active participation in music making can be completely out of reach. However, by harnessing the power of available technology and intelligently applying it to various musical principles, Carrie Lennard is opening a new space for students to express themselves through music."

(The Teaching Times) @teachingtimes  @ttjory  

Watch 'Making Music-Creativity Accessible to All'

Minimal touch on the iPad screen, using the ThumbJam app, (pentatonic scale setting) to play musical sounds (using any part of the body) accompanied by Improvise Approach music tracks (available in the ebook, iTunes, Spotify, Amazon)

  • Music tracks provide a beautifully supportive landscape to jam along with. 


  • The Improvise Approach ebook provides complete instructions and follow-up activities, using the ThumbJam app (IOS).

  • Can be used with adapted instruments, popular music technologies and music apps - keyboard, Skoog, Apollo Ensemble, SoundBeam​​​​, GarageBand, AUMI etc.

  • Used for more than 8 years in diverse special needs settings with great success

  • Use ANY of your physical skills and any part of your body to get creative, using the touch screen and camera facilities of the iPad. 

  • Ten music backing tracks are included in this ebook. Everything you play is in tune with the music tracks, giving you and your students 100% success.

  • ​ Based on the music methodology of the pentatonic scale and the Froebel principle of "freedom with guidance".

  • Easy instructions and pictures show you how to set up one or more iPads for solo and group music-making using the ThumbJam app

  • Works with selected tuned percussion and other music technologies

  • Tried and tested teaching guidelines in the ebook to get you started.

  • Feedback from schools well spent!


'The set-up is easy but the actual music-making is even easier'.

Carrie Lennard invited me to review this book because she knows that I have an extreme mobility and dexterity disability and that if I could use the Improvise Approach to make tuneful music then, almost literally, anyone can. After downloading the ThumbJam app and following Carrie's crystal clear instructions laid out in this book I was making - if not beautiful music - then at least tuneful music within minutes. I have no innate musical ability but I found it easy and surprisingly satisfying to improvise along with the downloadable tracks provided. The set-up is easy but the actual music making is even easier. Touching anywhere on the screen produces a harmonious note. My 'dirty organ' riff on the Blue Car track would have made Rick Wakeman envious.


Coincidentally, whilst I was messing around with the app a friend, who happens to be a music teacher, arrived and was most taken with the book and the app. She could see immediately the teaching potential and knows the importance of students of whatever ability getting satisfaction and encouragement from producing tuneful, harmonised music. I lost track a bit when she started talking about Major Pentatonic and Chromatic scales but I checked later and it's all covered. 


I must stress again that I am not musical but even I can use this app and when following Carrie's guide can make reasonably sounding music. I've tried other music making apps but lack the fine motor skills necessary to use them satisfactorily. Not a problem here. Oh, and by the way, I got good results using both my very un-dexterous fingers and a clumsily held stylus.

Stephen Deal - Writer, Lyricist & Ivor Novello Awards Winner

© Carrie Lennard 2016