Lessons in world music are now closer at hand, thanks to Sankara World Music Academy that will offer classes in diverse genres and different instruments.
Who says education is only about algebra or balancing the ledger? There is an increasing recognition these days, even among parents, that glory does not necessarily lead from traditional pedagogical instruction. There are actually structured paths through which you can make a passion work as a profession.
With music, photography, designing and fashion becoming lucrative career options, institutions that could sculpt that talent out for you in order to make it viable have also sprung up. Though the Sankara Academy in Chennai was established ages ago, during the 1990s, to teach percussion instruments, specifically Indian ones such as mridangam, ghatam, kanjira, morsingh, dolak and especially the dying art of konnakol (vocal percussion), it now sees itself taking on a larger role. About to be christened Sankara World Music Academy, it can teach just that — world music — to those who intend to make a vocation or avocation of it.
“From Japanese Taichi Drums to Irish Bodhrans, you will get to learn all of it at the Sankara World Music Academy,” says Ganesh Kumar, kanjira exponent. “Every year, we are going to invite professionals from different countries and have them directly teach the students,” he adds.
As an experiment, the institution will also invite jazz musicians from the West to teach the concept of infusing the Indian classical in the western tradition, he says.
“We have also tied up with American musicians like flautist John Wubbenhorst, Bassist Steve Zerlin to come to Chennai and teach the basics of jazz to the students. This will be some great exposure for folks who are interested in such experimentation.”
The founding directors, percussion maestro T H Subash Chandran and Mr. Ganesh, along with few other musicians, are excited about this expanded venture and are hopeful that there will be a good response to these courses.
“We started with a few handful of students, now we have a good number of students, of different age groups, learning at our academy,” Mr. Ganesh adds. Also, students from all over the world come over for lessons, particularly during the December music festival season.
Apart from the regular classes, the instructors teach music through Skype to students in other countries, including Germany, London, and Japan.