Vivo - Music education for students with special needs!
“We erase traditional labels. It is what we are all about”

Vivo 1 and 2: (special needs-ages 5-18):   The musical term Vivo (pronounced vee-vo) means “lively” or “with life”.  This class is so named because our students are full of life!  Vivo classes are designed for school age students with a variety of special learning needs,  from Autism Spectrum Disorders to Down Syndrome, physical needs to developmental delays.  Taught by music therapists and educators, Vivo students have opportunities to learn music concepts in an engaging, adaptive environment, and also to be part of a larger inclusionary musical community!  Classes follow predictable routines so students can feel comfortable in a successful musical environment.  Vivo performs alongside the rest of the Da Capo community at the close of each session.   

Vivo is a custom designed, musical immersion created specifically for students age 5-18 with special needs including but not limited to:

~Developmental Delay
~Autism Spectrum Disorders
~Down Syndrome
~Cerebral Palsy

Vivo meets weekly for 45 minutes, and participates as full members in our growing and diverse musical community events concluding each session. Music creates a backdrop of self-examination, determination, joy, and acceptance that fosters positive development . Through music, you can be yourself; there is no right or wrong!

If you have any questions or thoughts please Contact Us

“Of all the things we've done for our son Lewis, Vivo has been our favorite.” Elizabeth Woodhead

  • Vivo provides opportunity for musical achievement and personal development in a nurturing community of musicians, meeting students where they are and moving them toward a next-level experience.
  • Vivo is a place where students with special needs can make music and learn music in community with other musicians, regardless of ability, age, or any other limiting factor.
  • Vivo classes are filled with singing, movement, listening, instrument use, and music reading.
  • Vivo students work corporately to achieve the objectives set out for each class, while also being challenged individually.
  • Vivo instructors have extensive experience in both music and working with special needs populations.
  • Your child has a place with us.

More information on Pricing and Registration is available here! REGISTER HERE
Vivo is offered at multiple locations and times. More class sessions may be be added as demand is required. Enrollment offerings subject to minimums and appropriate groupings volume within our norms. Group volumes are targeted for 8-13 students per class with one teacher and one assistant.

Specific class offerings and times may vary at each location according to enrollment and demand.

Bravo Vivo!
New Program Brings Life-changing Power of Music to Special Students

The language of music transcends every obstacle, and a new program in Richmond will reach out to children with autism in grades K-5 so they can benefit from music’s transformational and soul-soothing power.

Vivo classes were developed locally by Da Capo Institute and completed a successful pilot debut in the spring of 2008. This fall, Da Capo will offer weekly Vivo classes at three local churches (Bon Air Presbyterian, River Road Presbyterian and Huguenot Road Baptist) beginning the week of September 22. The 10-week sessions and concluding concerts run through December 2 at a cost of $200 per student. Class schedules and registration information are available online at

In the Vivo program, students learn to develop their singing voice, discover melody and rhythm, move in response to music, and utilize classroom instruments for hands-on instruction before putting all these new skills together in a final performance at the end of the session. Musical skills, however, are just the beginning of the benefits of Vivo, according to Heidi Thurmond, who holds a master’s degree in music therapy and is the lead Vivo instructor.

“Music is an outlet of expression for all levels of musicians, but that outlet is especially valuable for students who might find it more challenging to communicate with others on their own,” explained Thurmond. “With the help of music, these students can connect in a way that’s so exciting to be a part of. It’s such a joy to watch them develop into real musicians.”

Da Capo Institute was founded by the husband and wife team of Jeff and Tracee Prillaman, who created the Vivo program with Thurmond. Da Capo’s whole-
child philosophy works with students on their social, physical and emotional skills to complement their growing love of music. “At the final concert of our pilot program, Vivo students felt an enormous sense of achievement,” said Tracee Prillaman.

During the spring pilot of Vivo, Marie Wilborn’s eight-year-old son eagerly looked forward to Tuesdays, where he learned about opera and music artists while making new friends. “It’s so important for special needs children to have the opportunity to enjoy all aspects of life, including music,” said Wilborn. “I’m planning to enroll him in the fall sessions and would highly recommend this program to others.”

“Vivo is a program where students with autism can make and learn music in community with other musicians, regardless of any other limiting factors,” concluded Tracee Prillaman. “Music touches everyone in a special way. It binds us all together.”