The significance of music as therapy was underscored by speakers at a function on Tuesday, held as part of World Disability Day, by an organisation working for children with special needs.

Addressing V-Excel Educational Trust’s programme to launch ‘Tarang’, a cultural initiative exclusively for persons with special needs and their caregivers, Kasturi & Sons Ltd Co-Chairman N. Murali said performing arts, particularly music, is a great unifier.

Describing the initiative of the Trust, in association with Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s cultural and art wing Kala Kendra, as a great, noble initiative, Mr. Murali said music is a leveller and has “therapeutic and healing values.” V-Excel, he added, was making waves in its chosen field and has touched the lives of over 4,000 youngsters and children in Chennai and elsewhere in Tamil Nadu.

For the children, there is nothing like going to a concert, “where they can freely come into the mainstream,” he said. V-Excel and its founder director Vasudha Prakash, he added, have got in Bhavan a good partner and in Bombay Jayashri, a socially sensitive top-ranking musician, a good brand ambassador.

Ms. Jayashri, who according to the organisers volunteered three years ago to perform at the school run by the Trust and with it laid the foundation for the programme launched on Tuesday, said she was fortunate to sing for God’s really special people.

Chairman of the Chennai Kendra of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, L. Sabaretnam, assured V-Excel of the Bhavan’s support in the form of giving its auditorium for a concert every month under Tarang.

Detailing the activities of V-Excel, Dr. Prakash said there were plans to design a curriculum that would enable special educators to teach children in a way that they would understand better. With the music concerts that brought stalwarts like Ms. Jayashri to their campus, the children became good listeners, she said. Kala Kendra’s chairman S.S. Rajsekar, proposing a vote of thanks, said children whom “we consider disabled are in fact… more abled than most of us.”

The launch was followed by a piano recital by Anil Srinivasan, dance performance by Priya Murale and students of Shree Bharatalaya, songs sung by students of V-Excel and a classical music concert by Saindhavi Prakash.

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