A Historical Introduction and Study of the Music Program at the Kentucky School for the Deaf

Cristina Soares da Silva, M.A. Chairperson: Dr. Wesley Roberts

The purpose of this thesis was to investigate the history and current methods of music education to elementary-level students at the Kentucky School for the Deaf in Danville, Kentucky. The Kentucky School for the Deaf is the oldest public institution of its kind in the United States, and has been offering instruction to the deaf since 1823. It has used both oralism and sign language as methods of instruction since its early years of existence.

This study is organized into chapters examining the history of the Kentucky School for the Deaf, various educational methods for teaching deaf students, the development of American Sign Language, and music classes at the school. The struggle to establish a viable educational method of instruction is described with reference to developments in the United States, Sweden, and Brazil. A description of current music classes at the Kentucky School for the Deaf is provided with observations on instructional techniques and student responses to music. The parameter of vibration used to perform music activities and psychomotor aspects are discussed.

Comments from interviews with personnel at the Kentucky School for the Deaf are integrated into the thesis. The study is accompanied by a conclusion and bibliography.


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