Teaching Students with Selective Mutism (Music Teacher Tip #35)


Do you have a student who comes across as extremely shy or doesn’t talk at all? Are you confused or having difficulty communicating? Then you will want to tune into Teacher Tip #35, where I will be talking about teaching students with selective mutism. In this tip, you will learn some easy tips on how to communicate with your student successfully while building trust.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, a therapist, a psychiatrist and am in no way claiming to be an expert. I will simply be sharing what has worked well for me and I will also be getting a bit personal sharing some experiences in my own life.

The selective mutism website and podcast mentioned in the video can be found at SelectiveMutismCenter.org.

Remember, selective mutism is not an act of defiance or bad behavior. Selective mutism stems from anxiety. And when we fully understand that, we can be that teacher our student needs.

I hope you found this teacher tip helpful.

Have you missed the previous music teacher tips? You can find them on the blog (with a few written preface thoughts and links if applicable) or go straight to the YouTube playlist to catch up!



  1. Jan

    Thank you for sharing your experience and insight. I first heard of Selective Mutism long after I had a student afflicted with it. I had no idea how to communicate with her. I wish I had known about it and your strategies at that time. I’m sure you’ve helped many students and teachers here!

    • Jennifer Foxx

      Thanks, Jan! I hope it is helpful to others. 🙂

  2. Robin Steinweg

    Jennifer, thank you so much for addressing this! In 40+ years of teaching, I’ve had only one student who fits this description. At the time, I was heartbroken to think she was so uncomfortable with me she couldn’t speak. Thankfully, I was patient and careful of her feelings, and simply went with it. As time passed, she grew more comfortable and able to communicate. What a lot of knowledge we piano teachers need! Thanks again for passing this along.

    • Jennifer Foxx

      Thanks, Robin! It’s hard not to take these things personally, right? I’m so glad to hear that your student grew more comfortable as time passed. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for your support! 🙂


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