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Friday, May 19, 2017

How this NGO is tapping into music to enhance learning capabilities of underprivileged children |

Photo: Hema Vaishnavi
Music Basti has worked with hundreds of children through community music projects with an aim to create learning and exposure opportunities, summarizes Hema Vaishnavi, Contributor from Hyderabad.


The relation between music and learning has long been established. The popular Mozart Effect, which indicates the improvement in learning abilities when exposed to a certain kind of music, has been proved by various scientific studies.

While there are numerous studies conducted over the decades on the effect of music on learning and the cognitive processes, most education systems around the world haven’t taken extensive efforts to incorporate music into teaching and learning.

Faith Gonsalves, a 27-year-old from Delhi, who believes in the use of music and arts learning as subjects and as pedagogical tools, founded Music Basti, a music education programme for children from marginalised communities.

Music Basti 
Music Basti was set up as a small artiste-led initiative in 2008, by Faith, a then student at Lady Sri Ram College, Delhi, along with a team of musician-volunteers. The project’s team shared vision for every child to have inspiring learning opportunities.

In its initial years, Music Basti’s programme was largely volunteer-driven through a series of short-term projects, with a focus on creating learning and exposure opportunities for hundreds of at-risk children in institutionalised child-care organisations.

Today’s children need much more than to just be taught how to learn and remember facts. Students need content knowledge about language, math, science or civics, but equally, they need learning and innovation skills or ‘life-skills’, such as collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity for success in today’s world.

“Music is more than just about performing or entertaining. It builds practical, transferable and applicable skills in areas of school, work, or social development. Every child has the ability and right to excel if given the opportunities and encouragement,” says Faith.

Since 2008, Music Basti has been teaching a mixture of musical training, songwriting, and performing to the under-privileged and young kids. The team believes that children from lower socio-economic groups are extremely disadvantaged in their access to quality learning and opportunities in and out of school, to learn, be encouraged, and excel. The only thing separating them from their more affluent peers is opportunity.