Encore: SWFL Music Education Center unveils career-path curriculum for neurodivergent student musicians
This episode originally aired on January 31, 2022.
The Southwest Florida Music and Education Center in Naples will soon be offering neurodivergent young adults a truly unique, comprehensive music education program to help them pursue careers in the music industry.
Its curriculum, which has been developed by the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs, provides practical, career-oriented music education for pre-college and college-age musicians who learn differently from their typical peers.
The program is designed for young adults with diagnoses such as autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities, social pragmatic communication disorder and anxiety-related neurodiversity disorders.
The idea for the program was inspired by the founder and board chair of the Southwest Florida Music Education Center’s daughter, who had graduated high school, but was struggling to find a path forward toward her dream of becoming a professional musician.
After laying a strong foundation, the music curriculum reinforces concepts over time to improve retention and accommodate a wide range of learning styles.
Additionally, other highly personalized programs include special education and mental health support, as well as peer and professional mentoring to help students with life skills for self-care, advocacy and independence. This includes managing anxiety, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, creating meaningful relationships, time management, executive functioning, personal safety, professional skills and more.
At the time of enrollment, students must be 16 to 30 years old with low to moderate support needs and must demonstrate mostly independent self-care skills. Students should also possess musical skills at an intermediate level or higher on one or more instruments, including voice, percussion, strings, guitar and piano/keyboard.
- Rob Moher, founder and board chair of the Southwest Florida Music Education Center
- Dr. Rhoda Bernard, Founding Managing Director of the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs