The Music Man Project (India)

David Stanley has just returned from an incredibly successful Music Man Project teaching/training trip to Bangalore in India.

“It surpassed all my expectations, and all three institutions we visited have committed to continue their own local Music Man Project service in the future.

We taught at a Special School called Manna, which was started by a married couple to provide opportunities for their twin children and others like them. We also worked at an adult residential care home for ladies called Liza’s Home, started by 2 Doctors to provide safe, dignified care for their daughter Liza. Finally, we taught students at DIYA Foundation – a vocational college for young adults.

We taught for 1-2 hours a day, for three days in a row. Then on the Saturday we brought everyone together for an hour-long concert in the community. It was a truly magical occasion, featuring 80 new Indian Music Man Project students performing to an audience of 150 people. Nothing had ever been done like this before. The feedback we received was highly moving. Parents and staff thought it would be impossible to teach such large numbers of children and adults with disabilities in one group and for them to make so much progress in such a short amount of time was a revelation to them. The concert brought a forgotten community together.

This is a country where people with disabilities often suffer terrible treatment, neglect or worse. I was told many communities in India believe they bring bad luck and so abandon them or even kill them. Things are changing slowly, thanks to the tireless work of parents, teachers and charitable organisations over there. Our biggest impact was to show them that people with learning disabilities do not have to be taught one-to-one all the time, do not have to be kept quiet for fear of shame and embarrassment but instead their talents and personalities can be shared and celebrated with great joy. We also found an ideal candidate to pioneer the expansion of MMP India, which means our visit will be just the beginning of an expansion into the rest of the country – following the UK model that has already led us to reach 6 counties in 3 years in this country.

Here are just a few quotes from the trip:

‘The most joyous time we have ever had’

‘Excellent and superb. The best thing we have ever had.’

‘We couldn’t believe how much they have opened up. They have spent their whole life being told to sshhh.’

Here is a link to some pictures if you get time to take a look:

https://1drv.ms/f/s!Auhcbn8-5bp-gb5-Ly7iDD5FGPwbNg

The whole experience proved once again that the Music Man Project teaching model works wherever you are in the world. It also shows the power of the universal language of music to engage and inspire. Now, people in the UK, South Africa and India are singing my songs and teaching to our philosophy for group musical participation: Enjoyment, Education and Performance.”