17 Nov 2023  |   04:30am IST

The benefits of music for Goan children

Crescendo Children’s Choir will be presenting their melodious voices at a musical evening at St Xavier’s College Campus, Mapusa. With children as young as eight years old being a part of the choir, their parents see a new level of confidence in their children through music
The benefits of music for Goan children

Dolcy D’Cruz

German composer and pianist, Ludwig van Beethoven said 'Music can change the world'. And with its magic, music can even transform the life of young children. Research has shown that listening to music can improve sleep quality, mental alertness, mood and memory. The best person to witness these changes in a child learning music is the parents.

The Crescendo Children's Choir, led by the accomplished choir master and voice coach, Raj D’Pietro Fernandes, and directed by Fr Ramiro Luis, will be presenting an evening of captivating music on November 18 at 6 pm at the Basket Ball Court of St Xavier’s Campus, Mapusa.

This is the third season of the choir and in a harmonious collaboration, the choir will be accompanied by dedicated musicians, who are teachers and friends associated with the Crescendo Community Centre for Music. Schubert Cota, a distinguished musicologist, will be the chief guest for the evening. The theme for the evening, ‘Aqui Estoy’ which translates to ‘Here I Am’ sets the stage for a performance rich in cultural resonance and emotional depth.

Fr Ramiro says, “Crescendo Children’s Choir has been one fulfilling activity that I took up three years back. I met the right person for this training, Raj DiPietro Fernandes. His patience and passion for children’s growth in music is outstanding. He simply takes up the huge ordeal of training so many children all at once which is great. Added to this, my mission of proclamation also gets a fulfilment.”

The choir will be accompanied by the soulful music provided by Alex D’Souza on drums, Nikhil Rodrigues on violin, Gary Coutinho and Maryjane De Souza on guitar, Stalin D'sa on bass guitar and

Gail Coutinho on keyboard.

Raj DiPietro Fernandes from Anjuna has served for 17 years as a musician in the Indian Army, stationed in Belgaum. He came back to Goa nine years ago with his experience of training children there too. For this concert, he has been training the children with weekly classes since July. What is the difference that he sees among the music students in Goa and Belgaum? “There is a difference in the music choice. I have noticed that in Goa, there is a prefect for jazz, techno and pop music while in Belgaum, it is more of classic rock and retro music. Goan children who are interested in music also learn faster. There is a plus point for everything. In Belgaum, they follow the teacher culture while in Goa, the teacher doesn’t demand that much of respect and become more of a friend. It’s great provided the children learn well and there is a positive outcome,” explains Rajendra.

Student of St Mary High School, Mapusa, Rebecca Pereira used to watch in awe as her maternal grandmother Late Cynthia Fernandes, from Miramar, used to play the keyboard. She learnt the basics from her including the notes but she didn’t learn to read music. It was Cynthia who encouraged her to join music classes. 10-year-old Rebecca’s mother, Audrey says, “I wanted to enroll Rebecca in music classes and I did as soon as Crescendo Music opened in Mapusa since Kala Academy is all the way in Panjim. As music helps the development of both the sides of the brain, it is advantageous to learn music at a young age and it makes it easier to grasp even studies.”

Malcolm and Rosa D’Mello from Porvorim will have two of their elder sons, 9-year old Myron and 8-year-old Melroy performing at the concert. They are happy that singing in the choir brings one closer to God and both the boys are doing exceptionally well not just in music. “They both love socialising and are singing and practising the whole day. Melroy has a speech problem which is now considerably improving and is getting clearer with the singing. Even the bonding between both the siblings is better and their concentration level at studies is also showing an increase. My wife and I didn’t have the opportunity to learn music but both the boys are also learning to play the keyboard and cello,” says Malcolm.

Kiera Fernandes from Vagator is a student of Little Angels Primary School, Anjuna. She has always shown interest in music which led her mother, Ezilda, to encourage her talent by admitting her for good training. “Fr Ramiro was the parish priest in Vagator and had organised a musical concert, Mercy Concert in Vagator. Keira was part of it for a few hymns as a singer but she dedicatedly attended the practises and would sing all the hymns of the concert. She really enjoyed herself. She is also member of the church choir and also performed solo in the church at the age of six years. I wanted a good platform for Keira and she has really grown with her music,” says Ezilda.

Speaking about how music has influenced now 8-year-old Keira, she says, “Her voice has definitely changed and developed and become more melodious. She has learnt about the first and second voices in singing. I realised that she uses music as a stress buster and listens to music or plays the keyboard to calm down. I am also proud that she is the only singer and musician in the Fernandes family.”

The nature of the music presented will focus on Catholic Hymns, promising an immersive and spiritually uplifting experience for attendees. The concert will include hymns like ‘Pater Noster’, ‘Ave Maria’, ‘What Child is This’, ‘Tujea Hatant Mhozo Haat’ and ‘Padr Agnel, Amchea Ixtaa’.

Crescendo Children's Choir, with its choir master, director, and talented musicians, hopes to create a soul-stirring ambiance through the timeless beauty of Catholic Hymns. It is an initiative of the Crescendo community centre for music.


Idhar Udhar