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Encore: SWFL Music Education Center unveils career-path curriculum for neurodivergent student musicians

Southwest Florida Music Education Center unveils life-changing, career-path curriculum for neurodivergent student musicians
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iStockphoto
Southwest Florida Music Education Center unveils life-changing, 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.

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Southwest Florida Music Education Center
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Amaya Moher, inspired by the great Andrea Bocelli. When Rob Moher’s daughter finished high school, he struggled to find a path forward for her to pursue becoming a professional musician, because she struggles with typical learning styles. So, he’s worked with the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs in Boston to come up with something completely new.

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.

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The Southwest Florida Music Education Center
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Amaya Moher using technology to expand her talents.

For more information or to offer your support for this project, contact Jennifer Clark at JenC@SWFLmusic.org, call 239-205-8258 or visit SWFLmusic.org.

GUESTS

  • 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
Tara Calligan is an award-winning journalist and a public media producer, writer and online content creator at WGCU. Twitter @TlCalligan