Mumbai teenager develops ‘Theratunes’ music app to help kids with varying mental abilities
A 17-year-old teenager from Mumbai, Nirvaan Pandit, has created a music app “Theratunes”, a music therapy program designed for children with varying mental abilities. It offers original music therapy compositions and a teacher training module to support instructors across India including Delhi, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Maharashtra. This free app has already crossed over 10,000 unique users.
Rhea Daulet Singh, a teacher at St Judes Cancer Care Hospice for underprivileged children, said: “This is the first app I have seen in India that is mentally developed for children and is entirely based on research and which focuses on communication, creativity, and cognitive development. It’s a great tool to trigger all of those things in kids in an enjoyable way that’s through music. Plus, kids are kinesthetic learners, c ‘that is, they learn through movement and action that we can teach through this app because of the songs and music.”
“It’s also a user-friendly app that has step-by-step instructions for teachers and the music in the app also leads to social and emotional development in children, which helps build their emotional quotient,” she added. .
Speaking of the app, Nirvaan said, “Music is therapeutic and calming for everyone, so we looked for specific skills that can be developed through music that can specifically help children with mental disabilities. Previously, we trained teachers to teach ‘Theratunes’ content to their students through books, but during lockdown I developed the app which helped us reach a much wider audience.”
“The app is currently available in English and Hindi, and in the future we will add more languages which will also help to reach more children. All the songs are original, I write the lyrics and compose the songs, and we also have actions we choreograph with by researching music therapy songs that help develop students’ motor skills,” Nirvaan added.
“In India, not only music therapy but any kind of music education is very underdeveloped and for young children it is almost negligible. Music therapy and music education should be more targeted as it can help the child development,” he said.
Aditya Mayekar, a teacher at Jai Vakeel Foundation, a special school, said, “Previously this app was used in school but now due to the pandemic we are using it through online courses which have also success. The application has different action songs through which students learn a lot while having fun. My son who is only 1.5 years old also started to learn the songs and actions by watching me teach my students during zoom lessons. This surprised me and proved how this app is for the rapid and effective development of children.”
Nirvaan music teacher David Williamson said: “I was Nirvaan’s music teacher for 12 years and I know he is a good guitar player and an analytical listener. He is very passionate about his ‘Theratunes’ project, and the fact that he can expand his possibilities beyond himself and reach teachers and students all over India is very remarkable.”
Theratunes.org is a free application and is available on Google Play Store. iPhone users can access it at theratunes.org/app.
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Posted: Sunday February 13th 2022, 10:07 PM IST