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Southwest Florida Music Education Center opens student registration for Fall 2023

Two- and four-year certificate programs offered in Naples for neurodivergent music students

NAPLES, Fla. _Southwest Florida Music Education Center (SWFLMEC) is seeking students for post-secondary music education classes forming in Fall 2023 for musically talented, neurodivergent young adults.

SWFLMEC offers two music certificates in partnership with the Berklee Institute for Accessible Arts Education, including a two-year high school transition music education program and a four-year post-secondary music education program, each focusing on core areas of musical skill development, as well as life and career skills.

Ideal candidates will be ages 18 to 30 with low to moderate support needs, mostly independent self-care skills and intermediate or higher music skills. Common diagnoses for students in the program include Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Learning Disability (LD), Social Pragmatic Communication Disorder (SCD) and Anxiety-related disorders in the context of neurodiversity.

“Most support for neurodivergent young adults seems to drop off after around age 21,” said Jennifer Clark, executive director of SWFLMEC. “Our one-of-a-kind program is designed to allow these incredible students to pursue their musical talents and passion while also learning how to work and thrive as adults. During their time with us, student musicians create meaningful relationships, develop an aptitude for self-advocacy, refine their music and performance prowess, acquire life and professional skills and realize their full potential. Currently, the program is ideal for local students, as we don’t yet have dormitory facilities for out-of-town students.”

In 2019, SWFLMEC began offering the community small-scale, low-cost collaborative music education for neurodivergent and neurotypical peers through a program entitled The Creative Group. In fall 2022, the Center launched programming for its two-year and four-year post-secondary music certificates at Artis-Naples’ Toni Stabile Education Building, focusing on core areas of musical skill development for students who learn differently than their typical peers.

The second phase of the project will include the development of a new campus in 2024 on part of the former Hodges University Naples campus. In addition to housing the Center’s music programming, future plans for the 5.8 acres include adding a student dormitory, semi-independent alumni housing, public performance space and a student community center.

Deadline for applications for fall 2023 is July 31. After that date, applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

About the Southwest Florida Music Education Center

Nonprofit Southwest Florida Music Education Center was created in 2019 in partnership with the Berklee Institute of Accessible Arts Education, part of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, to provide post-secondary educational, musical, career and life skills opportunities for neurodivergent young adults ages 18 to 30 with low to moderate support needs. The Naples-based program offers two- and four-year music certificates currently at Artis-Naples, with plans to open a campus in Naples in 2024.

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