Fifteen young people took part in the project “Art is understanding” that was promoted by the “Refl ection” youth group in cooperation with the non-governmental organisation “Child of Care”, from Riga. The main idea of the project was to form a music band composed of young people with mental disabilities. During the fi rst part of the project, regular music lessons and rehearsals taught participants how to play diff erent musical instruments and how to sing. They learned lyrics and stage skills. Diff erent methods were used to teach young people how to play musical instruments more effectively. For instance, they learned songs and melodies through associations with colours. During the second part of the project, the band performed at four concerts. All participants were actively involved in the entire project. From the very beginning, they chose the musical instruments they wanted to play, the songs they wanted to perform, the locations of their concerts. They also came up with the band name “Spark of the Star” and organised their concerts. As a follow-up to the project, Spark of the Star will participate in music festivals in Latvia and travel to Turkey to participate in the international song festival NEXT. They also plan to enter the Eurovision song contest for people with mental disabilities in 2008.
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