Students receive instruction from Hannah Fan and Dr Jeff Leigh

Southwest Florida Music Education Center invites prospective students to a free Fort Myers event May 26

Public and prospective students are invited to learn about the innovative new music program

The Southwest Florida Music Education Center (SWFLMEC) is hosting a free community engagement event to share more about their post-secondary music education certificates for musically talented neurodivergent young adults. The event, geared toward prospective students, interested families, music educators and mental health professionals, is on Thursday, May 26 from 4 to 6 p.m. at The Collaboratory Multipurpose Room at 2031 Jackson Street, Fort Myers.

Students receive instruction from Hannah Fan and Dr Jeff LeighAfter registering on the Center’s website, prospective students and families can check in at 4 p.m. to participate in a hands-on musical education experience and learn about the state-of-the-art Music Center. Music educators, mental health professionals and community members are invited to a presentation beginning at 4:30 p.m. on the program’s methodology, curriculum overview, presentation and question and answer session.

At a similar event held in Naples in March, Nancy Gardella said she is thrilled to have an opportunity for her son Jonathan, who plays violin.

“Berklee is one of the finest music schools, and to have their expertise connected to my son’s particular disability and to meet the students where they are is a priceless opportunity,” she said. “Finally, there is something for people who have disabilities but also talent.”

Guests attend zoom session with Dr Rhonda Bernard

Since 2019, SWFLMEC has offered the community small-scale, low-cost collaborative music education for neurodivergent and neurotypical peers through a program entitled The Creative Group. This fall, the Center will begin offering 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.

Interested students, parents, music educators, mental health professionals, community members and the media can register for the event at SWFLmusic.org/Experience-MEC/.

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Dr. Teresa Taylor

Dr. Teresa Taylor

Director of Mental Health

In her role as director of mental health, Dr. Teresa Herrero Taylor will provide behavioral and program support to student musicians and staff. Born and raised in Boca Raton, FL, Taylor has practiced as a licensed psychologist and doctoral-level board certified behavior analyst for over 15 years, conducting evaluations and providing individual, group and/or family intervention and therapy working with both children and adults with anxiety, depression, ADHD, executive functioning weaknesses, autism spectrum disorder, social skills weaknesses, behavioral difficulties at home or school, and/or other life adjustment needs. An experienced, independent, motivational leader, she is passionate about mission-driven work and is excited about empowering neurodivergent young adults to be at the center of change through music and the arts. She has been an adjunct assistant professor in the Graduate Psychology Department at Rider University for the past nine years and has worked in New Jersey public education for more than 20 years, overseeing behavioral, social skills, and mental health assessment, intervention, and programming across multiple school districts as a director of special services.