The Mainly Mozart Youth Orchestra provides rigorous training for serious young musicians. But we also deeply believe that genius lives in unexpected places. That’s why Mainly Mozart makes welcoming special needs children into our 200-member youth orchestra a priority. Mainly Mozart’s is the only youth orchestra in Southern California that actively recruits and integrates children with learning differences such as Down syndrome, Asperger syndrome, and Autism Spectrum Disorder into our core programs. In fact, twenty-five percent of the Orchestra has special needs—some as young as three.
Music education has profound benefits for all children's cognitive development. Through music, students develop a voice, gain self-confidence, and develop parts of their brain that help them in math, reading, critical thinking, language, and more. In special needs students, these outcomes multiply. Participation in music programs not only has the standard benefits for this population, these students also develop motor and language skills, increase concentration, decrease behavioral issues, and improve social skills, self-expression, and personal connection.
Through working with these children, we not only believe that genius can be found in unexpected places, we have seen and heard it to be true.