Published: 23rd March 2021
These two school students from Hyderabad got together to shed light on music therapy
Anxiety and stress are becoming a part of all our lives, even really early on. Students Eesha Varma and Sriprada Kattamuri recognise this fact and hence, they started Sana Musica to help adolescents
Messing up during a concert was a cause of anxiety for Eesha Varma G (16), who has been professionally trained in piano and guitar since she was nine years old. "I had a concert one week before the exam and, as fate would have it, I did mess up. But I also learnt that it's okay as long as I am enjoying and learning. This gave me confidence that I actually carried forward in my exams as well. It's only then that I realised the importance of music in my life," says Eesha. For her friend and classmate Sriprada Kattamuri (17), who has been learning Carnatic music since she was six years old, the experience was similar. "My final exams were looming around the corner and I wanted to do well. I was advised to put aside just 30 minutes for non-technical singing. That's where I found my jam. I started composing too and it helped keep anxiety at bay," she says.
Playing an instrument or being interested in music is not a prerequisite to opt for Sana Musica's sessions
The duo had understood and seen how therapeutic music could be. So backed by experts, they launched Sana Musica in April 2020 for adolescents who could opt to relieve themselves of stress and anxiety with the help of music. Sana Musica's first way to do this was organising virtual concerts over Zoom, where young and upcoming musicians could entertain viewers with pop music. "Before the concert begins, we show a PowerPoint outlining the effects of music on mental health," says Sriprada. They have had 10-15 participants, so far, who have either sung covers or played the electric guitar and ukulele, and a viewership of 40 for each of their three concerts.
One of their events | (Pic: Sana Musica)
But what we are most impressed by is their expressive therapy workshops which play out over four weeks. Working in small batches, they play a 30-second music clip and ask participants what emotion they would relate it to. "It helps them look at music from a deeper perspective, not merely entertainment," explains Sriprada. Then there is an online piano session, expressing through words and so on. Behind all their efforts is the expertise of Dr Meenakshi Ravi, Principal of Meera School of Music and Executive Director of Meera Center for Music Therapy and Research. "Our first workshop had several sign-ups but we took on only 12 participants. Hence, we have our second one scheduled very soon," points out Sriprada.
1 Million for 1 Billion (1M1B) were one of the enablers of their project
The duo, who are in class XI at CHIREC International School, hopes to take these sessions offline, especially to orphanages and government schools when things are better, in terms of the pandemic.
How music therapy helps?
- It doesn't just improve your mood, it helps in relieving stress and anxiety
- It is known to help with the side effects of cancer therapy and dementia too
- Music therapy is combined with movement therapy to maximise effects
For more on them, check out instagram.com/sana_musica