United Sound

United Sound is a peer mentoring program that pairs students with special needs and their typical peers in the band setting. Music teachers and their students utilize United Sound’s specialized curriculum, training, and structure to create band clubs. New Musicians (students with intellectual or developmental disabilities) are taught by their Peer Mentors to play the instrument of their choice at a personally modified level. United Sound students then join the full band to perform in concert with their peers.

The program is run primarily by an individual school band director and a school special education teacher with support from United Sound in the form of specialized training, financial support, and organizational resources. With assistance from student volunteers (Peer Mentors), New Musicians learn to play the instrument of their choice at a personally modified level. Learning first in lesson format and ultimately transitioning to rehearsals with recorded music, the New Musicians learn a piece of music that they will then perform live in concert, once per semester, with their Peer Mentors and a full instrumental support ensemble.

Students who participate in United Sound programs are learning to be musicians. Making music together is a powerful force for learning, growth, friendship and understanding. Music is a language that transcends disability and the relationships formed in this way will truly resonate for all children involved.