|UW-Eau Claire||News Bureau|
|Schofield Hall 218|
|Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
MAILED: Feb. 3, 1997
EAU CLAIRE - Crowded with student-made xylophones, drums and chimes, you don't have to look around Lee Anna Rasar's office long before you conclude she has a love for music.
"Music is happiness you can hear," reads a poster on the wall above Rasar's desk. It serves as a testament to Rasar's career goal: teaching others how music can change lives.
Rasar, a University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire associate professor of allied health professions, pulls out a photo album with pictures of clients whom she has helped. Pointing to a wheelchair-bound child with only stumps for arms and legs, she asks, "What four instruments do you think she can play?" The answer: drums, piano, guitar and harmonica. She taught the child how to better use her prosthetic arms and how to play four instruments.
"You can use music in ways with kids you never would have known or studied," said Rasar, who worked as a music therapist for 18 years before joining UW-Eau Claire in 1990.
And with creativity and a positive attitude, there are few limitations to the ways in which music can help people, she said.
Rasar received a 1995-96 Wisconsin Teaching Fellowship for her teaching techniques. The fellowship allows selected professors to meet at workshops to hone their teaching skills.
Rasar's project involves the course "Music to Meet Exceptional Education Needs," a class for special education majors. In the class, she teaches students to adapt musical activities to enhance learning for children with special needs from birth to 21 years of age. When she began teaching the class, it was clear that her students lacked experience dealing with disabled people.
"When they came to me they had only a textbook knowledge of what these human beings were like," Rasar said. "They had no idea what to do. It was just a fairyland to them."
She applied for a fellowship to swap teaching strategies with other Wisconsin professors.
"I have an artistic mind-set so I wanted to get in touch with others from different disciplines," she said. "I wanted to talk to teachers who use a technological or scientific approach as a way to help broaden my own teaching techniques. When you bring things together you get a different overall picture of the humanities and what's involved."
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UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: April 23, 1997