STRIKE THE RIGHT CHORD

In­de­pen­dent think­ing and in­no­va­tive teach­ing meth­ods make mu­sic school an un­for­get­table ex­pe­ri­ence for stu­dents

India Today - - COVER STORY -

Hav­ing played the pi­ano since the age of eight, Prithvi Chan­drasekar, 29, was sure he was meant to pur­sue a ca­reer in the mu­sic in­dus­try. How­ever, he wasn’t ready to start work as a fresher. “Many en­ter the in­dus­try with­out any for­mal teach­ing or qual­i­fi­ca­tion in mu­sic. As im­por­tant as tal­ent maybe, there is cer­tain mu­si­cal knowl­edge and dis­ci­pline that can be gained through pro­fes­sional coach­ing or at­tend­ing cour­ses at mu­sic school. It opens up new av­enues and changes the way you think and per­form as an artist,” ex­plains Chan­drasekar, who is cur­renty a mu­sic pro­ducer based in Chen­nai and runs his own record­ing stu­dio, Krim­son Av­enue Stu­dios.

But when it was time to ap­ply to a mu­sic school, Chan­drasekar found him­self look­ing to­wards the West. “Back in 2003, the way mu­sic was taught in In­dia was very re­stricted. I felt the diver­sity and free­dom of thought was greater abroad,” says Chan­drasekar, who went on to com­plete a dual de­gree in mu­sic and film scor­ing from the Berklee School of Mu­sic in Bos­ton.

“The sheer con­cen­tra­tion of mu­sic at Berklee was mind­blow­ing. From jin­gle writ­ing to mu­sic roy­al­ties to mu­si­cal pitch and har­mony to sound pro­duc­tion and mu­si­cal busi­ness man­age­ment, the school af­forded an en­vi­ron­ment ded­i­cated solely to dis­cov­er­ing mu­sic. I learned not only about new gen­res but also their his­tory and the tech­ni­cal­i­ties of ev­ery in­stru­ment. For ex­am­ple you are taught how to dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween a Chicago or New Or­leans style of pi­ano play­ing. This de­tailed and thor­ough style of learn­ing re­ally im­proves you both as a per­son and as a mu­si­cian,” adds Chan­drasekar.

How­ever, for those not look­ing to go abroad to study mu­sic, there are plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able in In­dia as well. A. R Rah­man’s KM Col­lege of Mu­sic and Tech­nol­ogy and the Swarn­ab­hoomi Academy of Mu­sic are two pop­u­lar op­tions. From work­shops in sound pro­duc­tion and recorded to spe­cial pi­ano stu­dios, both schools have plenty to of­fer bud­ding mu­si­cians. The diplo­mas here are also in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised with KM Col­lege of­fer­ing two pro­grammes in part­ner­ship with Mid­dle­sex Univer­sity in the UK. “To­day it is pos­si­ble to re­ceive the same level of in­ter­na­tional ex­po­sure and train­ing right here in In­dia it­self. Mu­sic schools have many in­ter­na­tional part­ner­ships that fa­cil­i­tate the ex­change of fac­ulty, re­sources and stu­dents. As the price for study­ing abroad in­creases, more and more can­di­dates are opt­ing for cour­ses in In­dia,” ex­plains Bin­isha Deb, a higher ed­u­ca­tion ad­vi­sor from Mum­bai.

Chan­drasekar who cur­rently heads the elec­tronic mu­sic pro­duc­tion course at KM Col­lege says that the learn­ing at­mos­phere and ac­cess to qual­ity fac­ulty have im­proved in leaps and bounds over the years. “I have a drum­mer, pian­ist and vi­olin­ist in my class at the mo­ment. It’s great to see the syn­ergy be­tween them. This in­ter­ac­tive style of learn­ing also helps bring new per­spec­tives and ideas to class­room dis­cus­sions. Stu­dents at KM Col­lege also have the chance to meet and net­work with some of the best minds in the mu­sic busi­ness to­day. This is a great start­ing point for a new­comer,” adds Chan­drasekar.

Be it film, clas­si­cal or in­de­pen­dent mu­sic that you are in­ter­ested in, there’s plenty of spe­cialised train­ing avail­able to choose from at mu­sic schools to­day.

Stu­dents prac­tis­ing their mu­sic at

Whistling Woods In­ter­na­tional

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