Abu Dhabi: The kaleidoscope of music can be heard all the way down the corridor. The various beats and rhythms cause curious peeks into the classroom, where children with special needs are performing enthusiastically with guidance from their caretakers and members of Live Music Now!

The workshops, organised by the Abu Dhabi Festival, began on Sunday and will end tomorrow with a grand performance at the Abu Dhabi Autism Centre.


"I usually do small group sessions… the children generally love music, it's a great form of stimulation. Because there is a larger number of children in the workshop compared to my sessions, this helps them develop concentration, refine motor skills and even learn how to interact within a group," Victoria, the Music Therapist at Zayed Higher Organisation for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs, said.

"Also, the children here have behavioural problems but during the sessions, they are very well-mannered. In fact, during one class, a child who is extremely shy just began dancing! He lost himself in the music," she added.

For members of Live Music Now! this is not their first visit to Abu Dhabi, nor is it their first time interacting with children who have special needs.

"Live Music Now! is based in the UK and it sends professional musicians, such as ourselves, to places that have people with special needs or to places where people generally don't have access to music, such as at a retirement home. It's based on the belief that no matter what the background of a person is, they will still enjoy and respond to music," Lenny Sayres, a member of the organisation, explained. "It's very rewarding working with the children… at first it was a big change for them but now they've become used to us and our activities," he added.