Child’s Play (India) Foundation is a registered music education trust that seeks to instil positive values and provide social empowerment to India’s disadvantaged children through the teaching of classical music to the highest possible standard. It is largely inspired by the El Sistema music revolution in Latin America, which since the 1970s has been providing classical music education that promotes human opportunity and development for impoverished children, an idea that has spread around the world, touching the lives of millions.

Child’s Play India Foundation was founded by physician, musician and music journalist Dr. Luis Dias in 2009.

It currently offers pedagogy in violin, viola, cello, transverse flute, piano and choir to around 120 children across four locations in Goa. The charity works with children who cannot afford music lessons. After-school classes are held at various locations including schools, a shelter and a village project open to all children of the village. Classes are also held at the Foundation’s office in Goa.

Camerata Child’s Play India comprising advanced students of the project, teachers, visiting performers and musicians from the wider community was formed in 2013, and has since given over 50 performances in the state, a major highlight being its enthusiastically-acclaimed performance at the prestigious Monte Music festival in 2013. Also, as in the Sistema model, there is also a Junior Camerata Child’s Play India, a student orchestra made up of Child’s Play students and other children from the state, providing a vital opportunity to children from all social backgrounds to have the experience of playing in an ensemble. Many students from the junior orchestra have since graduated to perform in Camerata Child’s Play India in recent years.

The Child’s Play chorus similarly offers children from the project and beyond the thrill of singing in harmony, and has sung at several concerts and visited children’s wards in the local hospital at Christmastime.

Last year, Child’s Play hosted the first of its kind in Goa, a choir and orchestra summer camp for children, open to all, which was extremely well-received. The intensive camp culminates in a public concert. The summer camp continues in its second year, this month.

Child’s Play organises at least two concerts (the Monsoon and Christmas concerts) each year, and hosts several benefit concerts by visiting performers as well. Performers and teachers have supported the initiative, either on short-term visits or longer teaching engagements ranging from six months to a year, from countries all over the world, such as the US, UK, Italy, Sweden, Iceland among many others.

The cello project began in 2018, dubbed “The Year of the Cello” by project director Dr. Luis Dias. “The cello is so important to music-making. Not just in Child’s Play but all over the country, there are woefully too few cellists and cello teachers. We’ve been trying to fill this need ever since our inception, and it gives me much happiness that it finally got off the ground in 2018”, he says. The cello project currently has 24 students. In February 2019, they gave a public performance demonstrating the strides made in a remarkably short time.

Celebrating 10 Years of Music Education

Child’s Play India celebrates ten years of its existence in 2019-2020, and began the festivities with a sold-out performance by the Swedish a cappella choir, Vocal Colors, in January 2019. Many more concerts and events are in the pipeline during this milestone year.

Inviting Teachers to work in Goa

Child’s Play India seeks applications from experienced teachers in upper strings, cello and choir. The salary offered is commensurate with experience. Key responsibilities include teaching, performing at concerts, and chamber music sessions with other faculty members and advanced students. Accommodation can be arranged for applicants from beyond Goa. Please send your CVs with links to videos/clips of performances or recitals to [email protected].

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Photo: Daniel Allen