TC297: Embracing Special Needs Teaching with Selena Pistoresi (August 2020)

Embracing Special Needs Teaching Banner

Today’s special episode is a rebroadcast of TopCast Episode 204. Listen in as Selena Pistoresi joins us and we unpack an often misunderstood area of teaching – special needs teaching from the viewpoint of respecting neurodiversity and presuming the competence of students. Selena is going to share practical, ready-to-implement strategies that you can adopt to confidently teach your students with exceptionalities in a way that acknowledges their gifts.

  • Selena shares how she came to specialize in teaching students with exceptionalities.
  • The definition of special needs.
  • The idea of talking to people or parents about terminologies.
  • Most challenging things about teaching special needs students.
  • Talking to parents about diagnoses – is it necessary?
  • First step to building a strong teaching foundation and relationship with a special needs student.
  • The importance of providing structure in lessons.
  • Do games work in the same way on students with special needs?
  • Final tips and thoughts from Selena.

Links Mentioned

Today’s Guest

Selena Pistoresi has been a piano teacher for over a decade. Selena blogs over at and is the author of the Milestone Method. She owns Cultivate Music Studio, a studio in San Jose, California, where she specializes in working with students with special needs. She equips teachers all over the world with the mindset tools and curriculum to teach students with special needs and to help their studios flourish.

Today’s Sponsor

Forte is a free alternative to Zoom, optimized for music lessons with industry-leading audio quality. Forte has been used and loved by The Royal College of Music, Berklee College of Music, and Curtis Institute. It is designed to put you and your teaching style at the center of the educational experience. And the best part? It’s free forever for teachers, and it’s incredibly easy to use. Just send your personal studio link to your student, and with one click, you are teaching. No hassles, no downloads, no gimmicks. Just music.

Start teaching with Forte today at

Thank you for tuning in!

Consider implementing the ideas from this podcast by writing several actionable steps for your teaching practice if it’s inspired you.

If you enjoyed today’s show, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts, which helps other teachers find our show.

Stay updated by subscribing to this show, and get automatic delivery to your device every time a new episode goes live! We publish on Fridays weekly.

Your ultimate teaching resource

subscribe to the
Integrated music teaching podcast

Are you ready to upgrade your teaching?

Join the world's largest
creative music teaching membership

30 day money back guarantee

We understand that confirming your membership is a significant decision, so if you purchase a subscription and, within the first month, realise that this is not the right fit for you, simply send a message and we will refund your money immediately.

contact us

Reach out to learn more about our multi-teacher memberships