ABU DHABI // When eight-year-old Mohammed walked into his classroom in the autism centre at Zayed Higher Organisation for Special Care in Mafraq at the beginning of the week, he was distressed. Instead of his normal storytelling time, a group of four musicians were playing instruments for an interactive workshop as part of the Abu Dhabi Festival.
But as they continued playing, Mohammed began to relax. After three morning workshops, he was dancing through every session and sad when the music stopped. The quartet, from the UK, was Live Music Now, performing for five days at the centre this week to demonstrate the therapeutic power of music. Mohammed's teacher, Sana al Nuaimi, said the benefits were clear. "They are interested and the music makes them happy. By the end they are all clapping and dancing."
The Abu Dhabi Festival includes several educational programmes. The cellist Matthew Barley has been leading musical workshops at the British School al Khubeirat all week, in preparation for a performance at the Emirates Palace. The Salzburg Marionette Theatre will stage a show for children this morning at the Abu Dhabi Theatre. firstname.lastname@example.org