Music Theory Is Imperative
Music is my world. Singing has been an integral part of me, ever since I was a kid. Being able to listen to old songs and to memorise the tune and lyrics was my strength. Recognising my inclination to music, my parents encouraged me to learn how to play the Veena.
A few years down the line, I got an opportunity and was egged by a close friend to learn Hindustani music vocals. After a long sabbatical, music came knocking at my door, in the form of western music vocals. The comment from Mr. David Devasahayam (Vocal Instructor – AWM), after my audition ‘you should join at the earliest’, lent me confidence. I grabbed the opportunity realising that it would help me appreciate different genres of music. Slowly and steadily I found my ground in this genre too.
Gradually I realised that THEORY is the grammar of music, and it would surely be an advantage if I started to learn western music theory as well. One of the finest teachers in the Academy, Mr. Damodaran, has taught and guided me very well. It has helped me understand that the musical notes are much deeper than only being black and white strokes. They denote scale, rhythm, number of beats and melody. It surely requires a lot of hard work and patience, and with his guidance I have cleared my theory exams with distinction. I hope to perform in the same manner in the future too.
Last but not the least, our CEO, Mr. John Sudhakar, is very patient and ever ready to help the students at all times.
Rajani Girish Krishnan
Advanced Level Student -Academy of Western Music
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