Providing access for students with disabilities and their typical peers to engage in the arts, to become leaders and promote a more inclusive society for their communities. 


The MI Program will address one aspect of educational and social inequality in this country by creating an accessible orchestral learning environment for all of its participants, regardless of ability. We seek to design and implement an inclusive model of orchestral (strings, wind, percussion and assistive music technology) education that removes barriers of access due to the confluence of disability and socioeconomic background.


The MI Program is fortunate to be supported by Johnson String Instrument for our students who have selected the cello, bass and violin. Our enrollment has expanded to 17 students, 50% of whom have a disability as defined by their Boston Public School Individualized Education Program (IEP).


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MI ProgrAM goals



i) We will leverage advances in assistive and adaptive music technology to remove access barriers in orchestral education for students with physical disabilities

Children with disabilities are presented with barriers in their lives that can make it difficult to access many facets of their educational rights. Within the lens of the social model of disability, changes in education are not focused on the individual with an impairment but the social barriers that create a disabling environment. Such barriers include inaccessible physical environments, social attitudes and the lack of relevant assistive technology. 

Fortunately, the lives of people with disabilities have improved over the past decade because of innovations in technology. From simple wheelchairs to advanced speech recognition and home automation, adaptive and assistive technology has helped millions of people gain independence and dignity in their lives.

The MI Program will assess the needs of its participants upon recruitment and design curriculum to incorporate assistive and adaptive musical technology as needed (see Project Design). The incorporation and use of such tools in the program will increase accessibility for some of our students with disabilities, shifting the paradigm of orchestral education with regard to who is allowed to participate in this learning environment. 

ii) We will affect positive behavioral, socioemotional and academic outcomes for all participants

By creating an inclusive orchestral learning environment and enabling the participants to share their learning in a community context, we expect participants will gain a stronger sense of self and shift their attitudes towards disability. We anticipate students will create rewarding, positive relationships with each other through the shared goal of performing music in an ensemble. While we believe that the MI Program will deliver positive socio-emotional, cognitive and academic outcomes for its participants, there is no current literature analyzing or presenting the impact of an intervention like the one we have designed. This is because our intended model is built upon the unique intersection of inclusion and orchestral education. Therefore, we intend for the MI Program eventually to serve as a platform for researchers to expand their work in fields such as arts, music and special needs education. 

iii) shift social attitudes and practices towards disability through community-based performances 

The Henderson School has created opportunities for artistic expression specifically because art in all of its forms serves as an equalizer in what achievement can look like for their students with disabilities. Within the context of the MI Program, public demonstration of this achievement through a community concert will not only provide students with a platform to share and celebrate their learning, but will give audiences an opportunity to reframe their bias and enhance their understanding of disability. We believe the impact of such a culminating event will affect not only the culture of the Henderson School but also the larger public

MI Program timeline 2019-2020

Phase 1: Research, Development and Design


June-July 2019 Coordination and assembly of the MI Program team, overview of premise

Invitations made to potential members of the advisory group 

Coordination of logistics with administration and staff at the Henderson

Identification and recruitment of participants


July-August 2019 Preliminary formative evaluation and assessment of each participant

Search process begins for a composer and teaching staff 

Creation of a website

1st advisory meeting held

1st round of volunteer sign ups


August-Sept., 2019 Curriculum Design Begins

Development of Instructional Goals

Assessment and collection of instructional materials

Composer and teaching staff is hired

Teaching staff develop instructional strategies and lesson plans

Phase 2: Implementation


Oct. 2019 2nd round of volunteer sign ups

Weekly group and individual lessons commence

Ongoing formative evaluation of instructional materials and strategies for teaching team

Biweekly meetings held to analyze data and continual reevaluation of pedagogy and curriculum


Nov. 2019 2nd advisory meeting

Development of strategic partners and performance opportunities


March 2020 3rd advisory meeting


May 2020 Final performance of the ensemble


May-June 2020 Synthesis and review of data 

Submission of evaluation

Submission of a report to the Henderson School with recommendations on expanding program for the 2020-2021 school year. 


We would love your support in any capacity! The MI Program will take place at the Henderson Inclusion School (Lower School Campus), Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 2:30-4PM.

Contact Us

Milton Academy Music Dept.

170 Centre Street Milton MA

02186 United States 

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