Singing – A Feeling Set To Music
Music means everything to me. Singing has always been fun and that is how I express myself. My earliest memories of my childhood include listening to a lot of old western music bands as my uncle is a music enthusiast. That is when I developed a versatile taste in music. Some of my happiest childhood pastimes include watching a lot of musicals like the Sound of Music where I would memorize the songs and sing it just the way it was.
I started learning Carnatic Music at the age of 7 and I am still continuing that. After I completed engineering I decided to take a year off to pursue music. That is when I joined The Academy of Western Music since I wanted to familiarize myself with western music theory and realised that this was a great platform to gain knowledge and hone my vocal skills. Meanwhile I applied to Berklee College of Music in Boston. Although I did not get in, I still consider it as a learning and enjoyable experience. It also made me understand that I have to gain a lot more technical knowledge in music.
As a hobby I started making short music videos on Instagram and I really have fun doing it. I also look out for opportunities and keep myself tuned in to what is happening in the music scene in Chennai. I like exploring other genres of Indian music as well. I attended an intensive workshop in Hindustani Music which helped me understand and compare the nuances and differences in various styles of singing.
I have come to the conclusion that you have to be a lifelong student when it comes to learning music. As I am very passionate about music I hope to be involved with it in some form or the other for many more years to come especially with the guidance and support of my teacher Mr. David Devasahayam and the CEO of AWM, Mr. John Sudhakar.
Vocal Student -Academy of Western Music
My Journey With The Piano
When it comes to music, there is a general notion that one must start young, parents almost always enroll their children for music lessons and my case was no different. I still remember the days when I used to hide under the bed when it was time for my lessons. I was 5 and I used to hate classes, mostly because I never understood the purpose of what I was doing. I continued taking lessons in an erratic manner, attending classes for a few month and then taking a few years off.
When I joined high school, I began to develop an interest towards music. I became more inquisitive about it and started to play around with my keyboard. I guess all the lessons had influenced me somehow. But it wasn’t until I joined college that I decided to become a little more serious about it, that’s when I found the Academy of Western Music.
At the Academy, emphasis was given to every aspect of musicianship and that’s when I realized, that music training is not just about the instrument, it’s about the musician as well. I understood that to be a capable musician, one must hone his senses of sight and sound. I had embarked on my journey with the Piano under the guidance of Mr. John with able coaching by Mr. Srikanth and Mr. Rajini.
Instead of making me monotonously practice pieces until I perfected them, Mr. Srikanth taught me what music was all about. Our discussions would encompass a variety of topics ranging from the circle of fifths to the history of music. Thus, I was introduced to the magical world of music and I’ve never turned back since. The more I learnt about its history, the more I began to appreciate and connect with the various styles of music. Gone are the days when I would associate myself with specific genres of music, these days, I crave to explore different types of music and the more I explore, the more I understand the language of music.
My teacher always told me that I had to spend time with my instrument and explore on my own. Instruction can only take you so far, but when you take the time to look around and see for yourself, that’s when you really grow. As Beethoven once said “Do not merely practice your art, but force your way into its secrets; it deserves that, for only art and science can exalt man to divinity. “, Being an engineer myself, I can relate a lot to this.
Music is very powerful, for centuries it has been a medium for expressing ones emotions and ideas. It can induce euphoria and inspire people to do the impossible. It has been part of revolutions and has shaped the history of mankind, possessing the ability to interpret and produce it is a valuable skill. My time here at AWM has inspired me to become a musician, maybe I won’t be able to take it up as a profession but I would certainly never let go of music. It has become an integral part of me and I will forever continue to associate myself with music. I encourage everyone to take up music, at least as a hobby, you will never regret it.
Advanced Level Piano Student -Academy of Western Music
Power of Drums
My initiation to drumming happened at the age of 10 during a concert. I listened to “The Drummers”, a 8-drummer group that played the compositions of the great swiss drummer Pierre Favre, who later should become my teacher. The sound of 8 drums and its energy, which unveiled itself in my body, planted a fire in me which later became bigger and bigger. The moment we start to feel rhythm or to participate in rhythm, we open up a space in ourselves and connect with the environment to be present in the moment. We all can experience this feeling, it is part of the human condition and it is directly connected with our spirit, our emotions, as well as with our daily lives.
It may have different names around the globe: groove, layam, flow, call it as you like, it definitely has the same effect and power on human beings wherever it is played.
Drummers are the ones who should learn about these powers and its properties and they should learn how to apply them in music. The more we incorporate the properties of rhythm, the better gets the music. Listening to a sound means absorbing highly concentrated information with an emotional participation, while reading its notation is an intellectual mind act and emotional information gets lost.
The inherent information of rhythm and sound is only appearing in the moment we listen to it. Therefore the social aspect of rhythm is one of its main properties. Both performer as well as listener agree about the emotional content of rhythm. Societies with a lively rhythmic culture still know and care about these qualities. Group drumming is a persisting part of its annual calendar, so is for example carnival drumming or ritual drumming all over the world which becomes an effective catharsis for all assisting people.
As a musician we have to explore the relationship between sound and time and share our results with others to reassure its emotional content.
Lukas Mantel (Switzerland)
Drum Workshop, Jan 2017 -Academy of Western Music
Me & Music
It was 2002.
I was 7 years old when I first came in virtual contact with the world that is music. I was learning the Carnatic style of singing. All I knew then was that I liked the sounds that were coming out of my mouth and that I didn’t want to stop. A couple of temple recitals later, I was hooked. Music had become my drug without me even knowing it. All those late evening practice sessions had taken its toll on me. The music which touched me during those early years of my childhood had now become an integral part of how I chose to identify myself. But unfortunately this bliss was not to last. We were moving to another city and I had to give it up for the time being.
It was 2007.
One fine day after I had come back from school, the first thing I did was Google ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. I had heard a couple of boys from my class talk about how it was the best song they’d ever heard. And I just had HAD to hear it. I heard it. And I was hooked all over again. And hence began my first introduction to western music.
I started with an instrument-The Keyboard. But unfortunately, I could not go very far because again, we had to move. Then we finally settled back down in Chennai. I decided to continue my education in western music by pursuing keyboard again. I had heard about the Academy Of western Music and after much enquiry into all the music institutes in and around my place, we finally decided that the AWM was the most ideal place to learn western music, as it offers not only the stereotypical common instruments like keyboard and piano but also certification in Vocals by the trinity college, London. Which is something I have not found anywhere else in the city. And so far AWM has not let me down. And I hope it never will. J
Keyboard Student -Academy of Western Music
Music beyond Words
India was celebrating 50 years of its independence. While most of the nation would be bathing in patriotism, I saw a moustached man from Greece own India’s most iconic monument in a way the 7 year-old in me thought wasn’t possible. All he had was a grand piano, a few keyboards and an orchestra. As the sun set on Yanni’s performance at the Taj that night, something had clicked. For the next few years, I couldn’t help but gasp every time at the sight and sound of a piano. No other instrument had that effect on me. Six years later, I finally took out my grandmother’s 49 key Panasonic synthesizer, dusted it off, and set upon a journey that has been fulfilling beyond words.
The synthesizer, and in the last couple of years the piano, have been a massive source of strength and support in my daily life. The internet is a treasure trove of fantastic learning resources, and I made as much of it as I could. I was fortunate to receive some very sound advice when I was an infant on this journey. A wise man told me “if you really want to do something with music, start making your own.” I have tried to follow his advice ever since, and though I’m still very, very young on this journey, it is immensely gratifying to be able to convert your emotions into a piece of music.
I moved into Chennai just this February and was looking to finally get some formal education in Western Music. I’m extremely glad I made the choice to join AWM. I’m being coached and mentored by two fantastic people in my teacher and the CEO, and I hope to make the most of this welcome opportunity.
Sarthak Krishna Dev
Piano Student –Academy of Western Music
My Journey with the Violin
I was eight years old when I started playing the violin. I was just naturally drawn to the instrument. My initial trainings were not structured, but I enjoyed playing the violin.
Looking back after seven years I had few moments during the journey where I felt like quitting. When I joined the Academy of Western Music I had no intentions of appearing for any grade exams. I was speechless when my master – Giri Sir told me that he was going to prepare me for the Trinity School exams.
I was happy with how I went about playing the Grade I. But there was always a Grade II. This is when the pressure started as the criticisms grew harder and the expectations were high. My Sir wanted perfection. I remember, until the previous day of my grade II exam there was a particular piece which I could not master. I played the Grade II exam as confidently as I could with the aim of bettering my scores. I passed the exam with distinction with 96 marks. I was very pleased and Sir was happy as well. He wanted me to carry on and not to be over confident.
It came to me as a surprise one summer evening when I was told that I would win a prize from the Trinity School of Music, Chennai Chapter for my outstanding performance in my Grade II exam. During the felicitation function I felt proud of myself for having got the highest marks among all participants in string instrument from Initial grade to Grade IV.
Thus this journey has been a great experience and I thank God, my violin teachers and my family for the support and encouragement given to me.
I would like to conclude by saying that anything is possible with dedication and effort.
Sered George David
Violin Student –Academy of Western Music
The Effect of Music
Many people play an instrument because they like the sound of it. Some people play an instrument because they have seen their family members or another person play it.
Me???? I wanted to play the piano because I liked the way how black and white could create such brilliant and colourful sounds. I am an Eighth Grade student of piano at The Academy of Western Music.
I started playing the piano since the age of 5. I first saw a piano at a music concert that I went to with my father. I being baffled, asked my father “Daddy, how can something which has only black and white produce such beautiful sounds?” Well he said, “Son, that’s the beauty of Music. It can make you happy when you’re sad”. That actually sparked my love for music and especially the piano. So here I am now playing the thing that I love the most and learning it at the best place in Chennai. Above all, my teacher Mr. Srikanth Gnanasekaran has taught me so much even though I joined the Academy only two years ago. The other things that I enjoy at the Academy include performance opportunities for students and the chance to watch and learn from other professionals, when they play at recitals hosted there. This is in addition to the exam preparation that a student gets at the Academy.
There is a quote in the lobby of the Academy by Bob Marley that says, “When music hits you, you will feel no pain”. Well, that is the same effect I have felt over the many years I have played the piano. Whether it was a bad test mark or an emotional attack from the death of a beloved family member, music was always there to help me feel happy again. Even now people still ask me “Why do you still play music and go to class? Isn’t it a burden?” Well, if only they could experience the way I feel every time I sit at the piano and play, then they would never ask me a question like that.
I would like to thank my teacher -Mr. Srikanth, the CEO -Mr. John Sudhakar and my family for giving me this opportunity to play this amazing instrument.
Tharun J Iyer
Advanced Level Piano Student -Academy of Western Music