On Saturday evening of April 21st, the students of Diya Foundation, Manna and Lisa Home came together for the first time to put up an awe inspiring musical at Visthar that was organised by The Music Man Project. The project used music as a form of therapy and learning to raise awareness and challenge misconceptions on the differently abled and the feats they are capable of achieving.

The Music Man Project started in the UK as a music education service for children and adults with learning disabilities. Their aim is to harness every individuals’ innate musical capabilities, regardless of special education needs or learning difficulties, and use it as a learning tool to teach skills in a short period of time. The Music Man Project worked with the three NGOs over a span of three days, for a grand total of three hours in each NGO. In this time, they taught about forty differently abled individuals from a large age bracket – children to adults – four songs that the students had never heard before. Students from the three NGOs met up for the first time on the day of the show for a performance, it was amazing to see how such a large group worked together as a choir. In addition, trainers from the Music Man Project composed a piece for each NGO, the student’s gave a joy filled rendition as they clapped to keep tempo with the music, large smiles pasted on their faces. The whole crowd was swaying to the music and clapping as well.

The students learnt these pieces in such a short span of time with the help of repetition, hand signs and pictures. Not only were they able to follow instructions, but also to keep the beat as well. This sense of achievement helped to instill confidence and self esteem in the participants, it really shone through in their performance. The show focused only on their capabilities and talents instead of their disabilities, teaching them to be proud of themselves and their achievements.

The Music Man Project affords the same opportunities as those given to aspiring mainstream musicians and provides a performance platform, allowing our students to show off their talents and express themselves on a large stage. An audience of parents, staff and well wishers filled the hall with their thunderous applause, cheering on the students as the performance came to a close.