Keeping the culture alive

Dubai: Literature, Music and drama are integral part of the Tamil society and in that Carnatic music and Bharathanatyam are some of the popular versions of dance and music.

Shankhar Mahadevan Academy in Dubai is hoping to keep the Carnatic music alive among the Tamil residents of the UAE, but with a difference. In a revolutionary move, the curriculum is predominantly an online-based structure with assessments done from Bengaluru in India.


When asked about the music on digital platform, Mahadevan, who made his first visit to the academy recently, said: “Future is digital. Many keep saying how can we learn music online?

Now we have proven that it can be done. People are so happy. Feedback is positive.”

He added that the academy is conducting classes on digital platform in 76 countries. “Digital platform is my idea and my conception, but it is implemented by Sridhar Ranganathan. We are eight years old and we keep coaxing people to give us complaints. And we haven’t received a single complaint. If people are not happy they would have sent a lot of complaints. We also have 24×7 support team.”

During the one-hour interactive session at the academy in Dubai, which became functional in January 2017, the legendary singer guided his wards through various notes and songs, including the one from his upcoming movie Raazi, which he describes as an ode to unsung heroes of the country.

Speaking in Tamil, he said it is not a commercial venture. “Of course, people pay fees but our idea is to propagate music of our country and our culture to this young generation. I have taken it up as a mission throughout the world.”

For the aspiring talents, the singer, who is also a qualified engineer, had a few words of advice to progress in the music world.

“Ours [India] is a very fortunate country with lot of talents. Along with talents come lot of competition. So with more competition more hardwork for you have to really deliver.

“You must have seen the reality show I did in Rising Star and you must have seen the talent. One must not look at fame, popularity, giving superhits, performing and earning money as the first step. You should work hard and all these things are by products that follow.”

Giving details of the academy and its courses, Neelam Singh and Babita Umar, the owners of Galaxy Centre for Performing Arts and Sma Brands Associates, said: “Ours is modernised curriculum based on academic subject. There are three levels – Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced – with each level on a nine-term cycle.

“Each term is three months and after every three months there is an assessment. All the students are given a chance to perform and the progress will be assessed by the head office in Bengaluru, which is in addition to the quarterly assessment. However, the biggest advantage is one can continue the course from across the world.”

The motto of the academy is to promote music as an activity so that it becomes an important aspect of life. With arts playing a key role in the stressful lift, the academy also offer courses on Hindustani music, Western Dance and Western Instruments.

After the teaser, Mahadevan promised the students that he would spend a whole day during the Vidyarambham, which is the beginning of a new session, before rushing off to catch his flight out of Dubai.

 

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