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
Music to Experience
It was those days when India had just entered the world of television and internet was never heard of. Radio was the main source of music for listeners and I was no different. After accumulating some money, I purchased a pocket transistor and managed to hook on to All India Radio. The transistor was a true companion all day and night. My studies would be incomplete without the transistor emanating music in the background.
That was when I dreamt of playing a musical instrument one day. However I couldn’t muster courage to tell my parents that I wanted to learn music. The parental and peer pressure ensured I let my dream aborted but I did not allow it to die. I used to envy those who could sing or play music. I would lay my hands on a toy keyboard that had just one octave and would play some tunes. My ears and heart would rejoice even to hear sound bites coming from that toy keyboard.
It took me 20 years to realize the dream and I am glad I did finally manage. It is worth the wait and I always knew it is going to provide me an experience that cannot be matched by any other medium. In a highly demanding environment of corporate life it is like an oasis in a dessert. It is important for me to keep my senses in balance when there is every possibility of it drifting and become insane.
Chennai is mecca of music enthusiast and performing art. If one has time by the side and one likes any kind of music I would strongly recommend acquiring yourself some skill of playing any instrument. Believe me it makes so much difference to your music experience. It is one thing to listen to music but whole different experience to play it yourself and enjoy the frequency. Be aware sometimes it sounds interesting to try your hand at self-learning. As they say ultimately you need a teacher to show you the mirror and provide direction. It is easy to learn wrong way but hard to rectify it later.
To my advantage I could locate a Class within walking distance from my house where Srikanth Sir used to teach Keyboard. There was no excuse and nothing left to decide. I just joined knowing very well that I had to steal some time from my busy job that I do for living to fulfill my passion. It is a decision often gets procrastinated because obviously job comes first. But when you are busy earning livelihood for you and your family sometime you need to live for yourself and your passion. In these matters taking plunge is relatively easy but what is challenging is to sustain it. I have come across people enthusiastically joining classes just to terminate abruptly. The realization comes later when the passion keeps reminding perhaps you made wrong choice. I hope I will not be in that category of people.
The association with Srikanth Sir let me join The Academy of Western Music. It was again a no brainer since I didn’t want any excuse like distance to overpower the desire to learn. The learning environment that The Academy of Western Music provides is second to none with great facility and sophisticated instruments. What I like more here is the opportunity that is provided to students to perform while learning. Some of us have stage phobia and opportunities like SPOT enables in removing the phobia. It also assists in better preparing for the examinations.
I continued learning Keyboard but always fascinated with the elegance and grace of Piano. It is not to suggest in any manner that one is superior to another. In my view every instrument is a god gift to the mankind. In the past the only barrier could have been space and some investment but no more. Fortunately I could afford both. The choice was easy and I shifted to learning Piano.
These days my routine is adjusted to the time that is required for practicing Piano. I make it a point not to miss a class as much as I can. It is advisable to be regular in practice than erratic. The passion that started with listening to music has gone beyond listening. It is no more just music. It is now an experience that is for life.
Vice President, Business Services (globally renowned management consulting company)
Advanced Level Piano Student -Academy of Western Music
Elixir of Music
Ever since I heard my friend strum Für Elise on the guitar decades ago, I have been hooked on to Classical Guitar.
While I dabbled with the Acoustic Guitar briefly, Classical was enchanting.
Work, travel, family were excuses that I gave myself to avoid Music.
I read about the Academy of Western Music in a daily and decided to give it a shot.
I realised later that it gave me the much needed elixir of Music.
The ambience and facilities in AWM are ideal to further interest in Music. The Academy also has a library which few other institutes have. Student performances are conducted regularly to encourage talent.
There are presentations by experts on various aspects of Music.
Importantly. one can learn at one’s own pace. The Academy has qualified teachers to guide aspirants. I’m thankful to my teacher Jonathan, who puts up with all my lack of practice patiently. He made me realise that age is no bar for an interested person and gently nudged me to take the Trinity College of Music examination. I hope to play alongside him without missing a beat, note or pause! I’m enjoying Music and look forward to my weekend classes at AWM rather than seeing it as a chore.
Some youngsters of the AWM, whom I have seen perform, are amazing.
May be I’ll say some day that I learnt Music with them in AWM.
In Mr. John Sudhakar, CEO, AWM has a humane individual who, apart from being so involved and passionate about Music, also has an innate ability to spot and nurture talent.
Classical Guitar Student –Academy of Western Music