Self-Study: Opera Creation for Students with Complex Communication Needs

  • 01 Feb 2023
  • 28 Feb 2023
  • ONLINE - Zoom Platform
  • 89


  • Free for MSHA Members
  • Includes MSHA membership. Membership registration code sent following the webinar.


Self-Study: Opera Creation for Students with Complex
Communication Needs

Available February 1-28, 2023

Members: FREE
Non-Members: $60

This presentation describes the steps taken to adapt OPERA America’s Music!Words!Opera! curriculum for students with communication challenges, including those with complex communication needs. Adaptations draw upon best practices from the fields of speech language pathology, augmentative and alternative communication, and accessible music education and provide a rich, multi-disciplinary and multi-sensory platform in which to target multiple language, communication and social skills goals. The presentation will take participants through the stages of the curriculum in which students first learn about stories told through music and, over several weeks, watch and study a full-length opera and, second, create and perform their own original sung drama. Participants will gain familiarity with language based strategies for creating lyrics and music, research that supports arts integrated methods, accessible music technology and strategies using picture based visual supports.

Lisa Pierce-Goldstein, M.M., M.S., CCC-SLP

Learner Outcomes
Participants will be able to:
1. Identify speech and language goals to target during music and drama-based curricula
2. Review different types of picture-based visual supports to increase communication and participation during arts instruction for students with complex communication needs
3. Learn language-based strategies to generate text and music for song creation
4. Gain familiarity with scholarly research that supports using arts integration strategies

10 minutes Introduction and Disclaimers
10 minutes Overview of the MWO Curriculum, Setting and Students
15 minutes Literature Review
15 minutes Adaptations of Listen and Discover
25 minutes Adaptations of Create and Produce
25 minutes Composition Activity
10 minutes Music Technology Resources
10 minutes Conclusion and Questions

About the Presenter

Lisa Pierce-Goldstein is a speech language pathologist and opera singer who has worked with students with autism and complex communication needs for 20 years, as part of the New York City Department of Education’s District 75, and the Boston Public Schools.  She is a graduate of Oberlin College and Conservatory, Yale School of Music and Teachers College Columbia University and a current PhD candidate at Lesley University.  She is a frequent conference presenter on the topics of complex communication needs, augmentative and alternative communication and on adapting music and drama curricula to address communication needs, having presented her work at the American Speech Hearing Association National Convention, ABLE Assembly (Berklee), Massachusetts Music Educators Association annual conference, Kennedy Center VSA Intersections, New York State Speech Language Hearing Association Conference, Harvard University and Wheelock College.  She is a guest lecturer and member of the board of advisors to the Berklee Institute of Arts Education and Special Needs.  Her work has been published in VSA Intersections: Arts and Special Education, Exemplary Programs and Approaches Professional Paper Series, The ASHA Leader and Music Therapy Perspectives.  

Disclosure Statements

Lisa Pierce-Goldstein, M.M., M.S., CCC-SLP 
Financial: Lisa receives a salary as an employee of Boston Public Schools. She receives Honoraria as an opera singer from Boston Lyric Opera. She is receiving a speaking fee for this presentation.

Non-financial: Lisa is a member of ASHA and MSHA. She is a Lead Partner Teacher for Boston Lyric Opera. Lisa is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs. Lisa is a current PhD candidate at Lesley University.

ASHA CE Provider approval and use of the Brand Block does not imply endorsement of course content, specific products, or clinical procedures.

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