This summer, Todd Brewer's School of Music in White Rock is offering special education band programs for youth ages 12 to 19 with learning disabilities.
The inaugural programs will cater to music-loving teens and tweens with challenges like autism or Down syndrome.
"I've observed so much talent, but the talent is hidden," said Brewer of his students. "I got the idea, having a music school, that we should help these students reach their potential musically."
The program will split the students into bands of up to five members and will teach them upbeat, mainstream pop songs. The school offers lessons for any instrument, though students should supply their own instruments.
"We deal with each student individually so that if they want to learn to play guitar or sing, we give them instruction on that one-on-one," he said.
The programs run through July and August, with classes running for about two hours per week. Brewer plans for the students to perform at various venues throughout White Rock to show off their musical skills.
"The potential is great for some of these students," he said. "There are people with Down syndrome out there that can recite a movie from beginning to end, line for line.
"It's a unique type of thing that very easily crosses over into the realm of music."
He said he hopes students will gain confidence and self-esteem from the program and further develop their musical abilities.
Deadline to sign up is July 16. Call the school at 604-538-2295 for registration.