Program on helping beat

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Rockley Music Center is building on its reputation as a music education hub with a new program for special needs students.

The 11-week special learners course will start March 2 at Rockley, 8555 W. Colfax Ave., and will be taught by Catherine Mahoney.

“This is something we wanted to get to when we were at the point where we could offer music education for all students,” said Liane Rockley, who owns the shop with her husband Tobin. “We happened to stumble upon Catherine, and saw she had experience working with children with special needs, and thought it would be a great fit.”

Mahoney has a bachelor’s degree from Berklee College of Music, where she had a chance to study music education and therapy.

She has worked at a special education facility in Boston, where students with developmental disabilities use music to interact and express themselves.

So far at Rockley she has one student with Down syndrome, but is excited to start a program that will allow for more students.

“I have been trying to get a jump off for something like this, but it’s hard to find marketing and the facilities,” Mahoney said. “That’s why the relationship with Rockley has been great.”

Students will be separate into two age groups — 6 through 12 and 12 through 18 — and will meet for an hour on Saturdays.

What kind of music and instruments are used will depend on the students that enroll, Mahoney said, but she said drums and percussion will probably

feature heavily.

“I’ve found that hand-drums and drum circles work across all ages. They help to build rhythms and connections,” Mahoney said.

She also added that the rhythm and and repetition of drums has been known to help stroke victims.

Learning an instrument can also help develop fine and gross motor skills.

Liane said that the education center has been reaching out to schools and the community to let them know about this opportunity.

There are only room for about six students in each class, which she said is to give the students the most time with Mahoney.

“It’s important that we have enough students to work on social skills, but we don’t want too many so that some students feel overwhelmed or left out,” Mahoney said.

Liane said there is a lot of excitement and momentum building around Rockley’s education centers, which made starting this program possible.

“We seem to have found a really good niche for the community,” she said.

For information and registration, call 303-233-4444, ext. 119.

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