Talented youngsters will now have a platform to perform, thanks to Sarangi — the first children's orchestra in the region.

When singing in reality shows is the trend, it is natural that children groom themselves to participate in such shows. But they have to cross a number of hurdles to enter the glamourous world. Most children learn to sing film songs using Karoke. This often turns out to be harmful for their voice, as the children try to sing in a pitch, which is mostly beyond their capacity. Only if they practise with an orchestra can they learn to sing in their own pitch, without harming their voice.

To the stage

Music teacher Kumudam Diwakar in Kozhikode realised this and the result is ‘Sarangi', the first children's orchestra of Malabar. Running her own music school ‘Kalakendram' besides part-timing in a number of schools, Ms. Diwakar conducted a reality show-like competition for kids of the city in July 2010.

From around 150 children between the ages of eight to 16 who participated in the competition, 41 were selected to form ‘Sarangi'. The debut performance of the group was on Deepavali eve when they enthralled a huge audience at the Kozhikode town hall with their rendition of popular Malayalam, Hindi and Tamil film songs.

The group gets together at a specified place once in a month to hone their skills. Ms. Diwakar gives them tips to perform on-stage. For the children who are used to singing only in the classical format, singing film songs with the help of an orchestra was difficult at first, she said.

Ms. Diwakar is eager for more performances enabling more exposure to the kids. Some of them have taken part in various programmes for experience, she said, adding that the group is getting offers in a small scale.

Ms.Diwakar is now planning to use ‘Sarangi' for a social cause. The children will be trained to sing a song against the use of drugs in various schools in the city, she said.

Complete group

At present, the orchestra is being handled by professional musicians. This is because children find it difficult to make up in case of an error. They also get tense easily. However, Ms. Diwakar has plans to set this right.

She is training children to handle the background score as well, and with a little exposure, she thinks, ‘Sarangi' will be a complete children's orchestra.