The first ever music university in south India may start its academic activities by September this year.

The dream of music lovers to have a university, which extends the facility to learn every kind of music under one roof, will soon be realised with the Government setting up the Dr. Gangubai Hangal Music and Performing Arts University. The first ever music university in South India will, in all probability, start its academic activities by September this year.

When the Government decided to set up the varsity, the natural choice was Mysore, as there is a close and historical relationship between the city and music. It is surprising, pleasantly so, that this ‘dream' varsity has been able to come into being within two years of the idea being floated.

During the presentation of his first budget as Chief Minister, B.S. Yeddyurappa made known his desire to set up this institution and earmarked Rs.5 crore for the purpose. He appointed Professor in Music, Hampi Kannada University, Hanumanna Naik Dore, as special officer in 2008.

Mr. Dore, an accomplished Hindustani vocalist, travelled all over the country to meet musicians, academicians, and vice-chancellors of various universities to structure the framework of the varsity. He then drafted a legislation for setting up the university and submitted it to the Department of Higher Education.

The legislation was passed in both the Houses of the Assembly on July 29 and Mr. Dore was appointed the first Vice-Chancellor. Now, he is all set to take up work on building teaching blocks in the place allotted.

Surrounded by Varuna Canal and picturesque hills, the area provides the perfect ambience for the students to learn music. Mr. Dore has a dream of designing the buildings without harming the existing eco-system. Instead of constructing huge concrete structures for teaching, he hopes to construct cottages in the midst of green on the lines of the ancient gurukulas.

Modalities

As a first step the university will be launching ‘Sangeetha Kaaranji,' a programme to create interest among the students of music to enrol. According to Mr. Dore, students with PUC and with basic degree in any faculty can join the courses. An entrance exam will be held to test their interest in music and performing arts. Though earlier it was thought of setting up an exclusive music university, later it was decided to include other performing arts to extend the scope of the varsity.

The Government is also enthusiastic in making the university a centre of excellence. It has promised to release Rs.25 crore, in the budget to be presented this month, for creating infrastructure.

Besides courses in various music forms such as Hindustani, Carnatic, folk, light, western and cinema, classes will be conducted in dance forms including Bharatanatyam, Odissi and Kathak and dramatics.

Though there are departments of music in various universities of South India, this is the only distinctive university meant to promote music and performing arts.

Syllabus ready

The syllabus for the courses has already been prepared and it has been planned to concentrate on the areas of research, publication and teaching. The university will be imparting education in music and performing arts both in gurukula and modern systems.

While the former system will groom artistes, the latter will help students in getting academic qualification and degrees. Both residential and non-residential courses will be offered in the gurukula system. Scholarships and hostel facilities will be provided to students. There is also a plan to send the students to gurus (musicians) in various parts of the country.

Besides taking up teaching, those who acquire a degree from the university can work for music channels, music troupes and music research organisations as musicologists, and can also function as music therapists and music critics in both print and visual media.