Encore: SWFL Music Education Center Unveils Career Pathway Program 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 and comprehensive music education program to help them pursue careers in the music industry.

Its curriculum, which was developed by the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs, provides hands-on, career-focused music training for pre-college and college musicians who learn differently than their typical peers.

Southwest Florida Music Education Center


Amaya Moher, inspired by the great Andrea Bocelli. When Rob Moher’s daughter graduated from high school, he struggled to find a path for her to become a professional musician, as she struggled with typical learning styles. So he 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 disorders, learning disabilities, pragmatic social communication disorders, and anxiety-related neurodiversity disorders.

The idea for the program was inspired by the founder and chair of the board of directors of the Southwest Florida Music Education Center’s daughter, who had graduated from high school but was struggling to find a path to her dream of become a professional musician.

After laying a solid foundation, the music program 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 mentorship to help students develop life skills for self-care, advocacy and independence. This includes managing anxiety, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, building meaningful relationships, time management, executive functioning, personal safety, job skills and more.

At the time of registration, students must be between the ages of 16 and 30 with low to moderate support needs and must demonstrate primarily independent self-care skills. Students should also possess intermediate or higher level musical skills on one or more instruments, including voice, percussion, strings, guitar, and piano/keyboard.

Students take advantage of technology.jpg

Southwest Florida Music Education Center


Amaya Moher uses technology to develop her talents.

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


  • Rob Moher, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Southwest Florida Music Education Center
  • Dr. Rhoda Bernard, Founding Executive Director of the Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs

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