Music nourishes us, fulfils some inner need or offers us comfort in troubled times. Music is the healing force of the universe, to quote an album title by the free jazz musician Albert Ayler. It is often just fun, that most underrated of qualities. Not five minutes from the author friend's house, which we often pass on the walks, is the Ruakatauri Music Therapy Centre established by Maori singer Hinewehi Mohi after her daughter Hineruakatauri was born with cerebral palsy. The centre helps children and young people with special needs, learning disabilities or emotional difficulties. In their explanation of how music therapy can help, the centre's website says simply: "The ability to respond to sound and music is an inborn quality in all human beings. Pulse and rhythm are found in the heartbeat, in breathing and movement. Pitch and rhythm give the voice expressive and communicative qualities".