What if you could open the door to the world of music for students who have been closed out?

Does this sound like you?

  • You've been approached to teach a student with disabilities or special needs, but you have no idea where to start.

  • You wonder whether you are really “on the right track” with your students.

  • You waste hours sifting through information and forums to extract the few quality ideas that will make all the difference.

  • You're overwhelmed by the seemingly inconsistent information out there on teaching students with disabilities.

Thousands of students are looking for their piano teacher.

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Hi, I'm Selena

I’m a lifelong pianist, piano teacher since 2008, teacher trainer, studio owner, author of the Milestone Method, and the founder of Notable. I teach piano full-time in the SF Bay Area, California, in my studio of 50+ students, and almost all of them have disabilities or special needs.

Like you, I stumbled upon this niche by happy accident. Being a lifelong learner, I was captivated by the challenge of figuring out how to teach this growing population of students who were either puzzled or were largely ignored by modern pedagogy. I was also, at times, completely stumped.

After years of trial and error with countless workshops, courses, forums, methods, and Pinterest experiments, I developed a system for effectively teaching students with special needs. Since I’m only one person, I felt compelled to share what I know with as many teachers as possible so we can reach the millions of potential students who still haven’t been given the opportunity to learn music.

Why should you start from scratch, when I can pass on proven methods that will make your life easier and fill your studio with smiling students?


Tim Topham ‧ Creator of TopMusicPro

“When music teachers started asking me for resources about teaching special needs students that I could share in my membership, I knew exactly who to ask: Selena Pistoresi. Already well known in the industry, Selena blew us away with her knowledge and skills in this area; skills that far surpass anything I could have shared. Always happy to share her teaching in action, Selena recorded heaps of teaching videos, both in-person and online, showing exactly how to work with a variety of students. These have had by far the biggest impact on our members: seeing an experienced teacher in action working directly with her students.”

You don't need to color-code everything or only teach by rote.

I used to think that my students couldn’t understand me. 

I’d show them middle C on the page, then show them middle C on the piano. They might remember for a minute or even for a whole lesson, but they'd seem to forget by the following week. 

I spent countless lessons going over finger numbers again and again.

I used flashcards for note identification, but accuracy was at best 50/50.

Some students couldn’t even seem to remember how to identify C on the piano from week to week. I’d ask them to play black keys, but they would play white keys or just bang around randomly.

I was so frustrated with both myself and my students. Are they not even listening to me? 

Do I need to break down each concept even MORE than I already am and drill it endlessly in every lesson?

The problem wasn't that my students couldn't learn.

I was going about it all wrong...

It turns out that many of my students had some degree of dyspraxia. 

“Dyspraxia” covers a range of disorders that affect one’s ability to plan, process, and perform motor tasks. In other words, people with dyspraxia have trouble getting the body to do what they want, when they want.

Being a disorder of movement, it can affect things like whole body coordination (like walking, jumping, or catching a ball), fine motor movements (like using scissors or playing the piano), and spatial awareness. 

Perhaps less obviously, it can also affect speech. After all, speech is ultimately a complex motor function.

BUT... dyspraxia doesn’t affect intelligence. It can cause problems with perception and concentration, and it can cause speech to be jumbled or even impossible for some, but it does not affect intellectual ability.

Of course, not all of my students had dyspraxia. But this realization opened me up to the idea that many students were being underestimated and not being given a chance to succeed.

I realized that I needed to trust that my students could understand what I was telling them (given that it was appropriate for their age and level), even if they couldn’t execute it or demonstrate their understanding quite yet.

I needed to presume competence.

Once I learned to relentlessly presume competence in my students, I could focus on addressing dyspraxia and whatever other physical, emotional, or executive functioning challenges that prevented them from learning piano in “traditional” ways.

I could stop boring them to death with endless repetitions and insulting their intelligence by color-coding everything or talking in a loud baby voice. 

I could respect them as intelligent individuals, and they could respect me as someone who “gets” them. 

Most importantly, I could figure out concrete and practical ways to get their hands playing the piano.

These methods aren't just for students with dyspraxia.

They're not exclusive to a specific diagnosis like autism, ADHD, Down Syndrome, or something else.

The information in this course can be applied to a huge range of needs, abilities, and levels.

Rosemarie Penner ‧ Studio Owner and Creator of The Unfinished Lesson

“Selena is an expert in working with neurodiverse students & families. Her student-centred philosophy ensures that teachers assume competency, so students continually progress even if it’s not a typical trajectory. I especially enjoyed all the activity ideas she provided (both on & off the bench) plus how to adapt them to online lessons. Throughout the course, Selena was committed to making sure each teacher was supported & our (many) questions answered. Whether you trained as a “special needs” teacher, are new to teaching neurodiverse students or somewhere in between, Unfazed has ideas, strategies & activities to bring to the studio.“

Get Started Now!


  • Recognize a student's learning needs upon meeting them for the first time

  • Have an exact road map for EFFECTIVELY teaching any student to read notes

  • Know exactly what to say and do with students who are nonspeaking, unreliably verbal, or have little control over their bodies

  • Feel calm, cool, and collected during lessons, even when students present "difficult" behavior

  • Have a wealth of pre-planned activities for every aspect of piano lessons - reading, ear training, theory, improvisation, composing, and whole-body movement activities

... ALL of that is possible.

The self-paced course that gives teachers the skills, confidence, and game plan to take on any student with disabilities. 

What's inside the course?

  • 1

    Welcome to Unfazed!

    • Welcome to Unfazed!

  • 2

    Module 1: An Impossibly Brief Overview of Disabilities

    • What are Disabilities and Special Needs?

    • Common Diagnoses and Basic Accommodations

    • The Neurodiversity Movement

    • Assessing a Student

    • Module 1 Quiz

    • Discussion Prompts: Social Model of Disability

  • 3

    Module 2: Autism Learning Styles and Strengths-Based Teaching

    • Autism Learning Styles

    • Strengths-Based Teaching

    • Interpreting Behaviors

    • Module 2 Quiz

    • Discussion Prompts: Strengths-Based Teaching

  • 4

    Module 3: Quick Wins - Presuming Competence and Communicating Effectively

    • Presuming Competence

    • Modifying Behavior Expectations

    • Communicating Concisely and Respectfully

    • Quiz

    • Discussion Prompts: Presuming Competence

  • 5

    Module 4: Environmental Considerations

    • Sensory Accommodations

    • Setting the Tone

    • Lesson Flow Tools

    • Quiz

    • Discussion Prompts: Environmental Considerations

  • 6

    Module 5: Perfect Pitch and Why It Matters

    • Perfect Pitch and Why It Matters

    • Assessing for Perfect Pitch

    • Quiz

    • Discussion Prompts: Perfect Pitch

  • 7

    Module 6: The Milestone Method

    • The Milestone Method

    • Milestone 1: Single-Hand Pieces in C and G Position

    • Milestone 2: Two Hands Simultaneously in C and G Position

    • Milestone 3: A Painless Introduction to the Staff

    • Beyond the Milestones

    • Hand Support and Home Practice

    • Discussion Prompts: The Milestone Method

  • 8

    Module 7: Supplemental/Free Time Activities

    • Ear training progression

    • Ear Training with Play Dough

    • Improvisation

    • Singalongs and Song Games

    • Composition

    • The Only "Fine Motor" Exercise I (Sometimes) Use

    • Rote Pieces

    • Whole-Body Movement Activities

    • Discussion Prompts: Supplemental Activities

  • 9

    Module 8: Occupational Octaves Piano

    • An Alternative Language of Music

    • Discussion Prompts: Occupational Octaves

  • 10

    Module 9: Challenging Behaviors

    • Challenging Behaviors

    • Social-Emotional Development and Top Down vs. Bottom Up Behaviors

    • Polyvagal Theory

    • Increasing Relational Security

    • Module 9 Quiz

    • Discussion Prompts: Challenging Behaviors

  • 11

    Module 10: Teaching Systematically with RPM (Rapid Prompting Method)

    • RPM: What it is and isn't

    • Open Learning Channels

    • Controversies, Caution, and Tips

    • Module 10 Quiz

    • Discussion Prompts: Rapid Prompting Method (RPM)

  • 12

    Module 11: Success in Online Lessons

    • Maximizing Success in Online Lessons

    • Online Lesson Activities

    • Zoom Games

    • Discussion Prompts: Teaching Online

  • 13

    Module 12: Common Challenges

    • Common Challenges

    • Discussion Prompts: Common Challenges

  • 14

    Module 13: Lesson Planning

    • Module 13: Planning for the First Lesson

    • Discussion Prompts: Lesson Planning

  • 15

    Freebies, Discounts, and Downloads

    • Discounted Download - "Little Gems for Piano" Primer by Paula Dreyer (rote)

    • FREE Download - The Milestone Method

  • 16

    Group Call Recordings

    • Group Call Recordings

What's included?

  • Lifetime access to the Unfazed online course (including all updates): video training modules + PDF downloads ($599 value)

  • Monthly group calls [LIVE and recorded] ($50/month value)

  • All 3 studio-licensed digital versions of The Milestone Method - my foundational sight reading method books for students with disabilities ($87 value)

  • Access to the Facebook community for ongoing support

Everything above is yours for $399 or three monthly payments of $149.

Join the Course


  • How long does it take to complete the course?

    Unfazed is self-paced, and you can complete it as quickly or as slowly as you'd like. There are 11 modules, and we recommend doing one per week. The monthly group calls and the Facebook community are available to help you stay motivated and on track.

  • I’ve never taught students with disabilities or special needs before. Is it really difficult?

    Teaching students with disabilities or special needs is no more difficult than teaching "neurotypical" or mainstreamed piano students. It's just different. It has its own set of challenges, like any teaching does. Once you understand a few key ideas, your mindset will help you interact with students in a productive and successful way.

  • How long will I have access to the course material?

    For life! This includes all updates.

  • What if I already teach students with special needs? Will I still get something from this course?

    Definitely. We're all doing the best we can with our students, and you surely have some wonderful ideas already in place. This course will give you a unique perspective and provide an infusion of fresh material for you to use.

  • Do I have to change everything about my teaching?

    That depends! You're welcome to implement as much or as little as you'd like with your students. Learning the philosophy behind these methods may help you reframe methods you've used in the past, but you're ultimately in charge of how you teach.

Not sure if this is the right course for you?

Schedule a free discovery call to have all your questions answered.

Schedule Discovery Call