Good music has an amazing quality to improve the student’s concentration, says violin maestro M.S.N. Murthy
At first glance he looks like any other person – perhaps employed in a bank or a public sector undertaking. But once he takes the violin out of its box and plays, an enchanting sound fills the room and his musical genius starts to flow. Mutnuri Srinivasa Narasimha Murthy, the Carnatic violin maestro, recently received the Dr. Dwaram Venkata Swamy Naidu award at Kalabharati from the Visakha Music Academy in the city. His guru was the late Nallan Chakravartula Krishnamacharyulu. In a rambling chat, the master of the fiddle reveals that he is not just a superbly gifted musician but also a deeply concerned individual who wants music to be taught to as many aspiring youngsters as possible. “Music should be taught in every school, regardless of the school’s status. It need not be an international school or a private English medium school. Because, on the one hand music has this amazing quality to improve the student’s concentration, and on the other hand it has the potential to provide employment to many qualified artistes.”
M.S.N. Murthy says it is high time the government started a music college in Visakhapatnam on the lines of the Maharaja College of Music in Vizianagaram. “An aspiring student needs guidance from a qualified teacher. Where can he get it if there is no place to learn?”
M.S.N. Murthy says that many parents are
not forthcoming when it is time to initiate their child into music. The refrain is that music does not pay. “But I think those days are past. Today there are more opportunities to gifted singers. I feel that learning should start at an early age, preferably five, and continue up to the tenth class. It is unfortunate that parents have this tunnel vision of preparing their child to be an engineer or a doctor. Nowadays engineers and doctors too are finding it difficult to land good jobs after their studies.”
There is always a job for a musician – be it in a small troupe or a high-class hotel. If the musician is really gifted, the sky is the limit, says M.S.N. Murthy.
The artiste has been performing in the US since 1995. He says the schools and colleges in the US give credits for gifted children, including musicians. “It is like giving extra marks, a sort of recognition of exceptional talent. This gives the student an advantage in studies.” This system of giving credits can be explored in the Indian educational scenario also, he feels. M.S.N. Murthy is deeply involved with the healing powers of music. His CD – Healing Magic –was released by Music Today some time ago. “The feedback was very good. Many people told me that listening to the CD produced beneficial effects on their bodies. They told me that their stress levels and blood pressure had gone down.” He intends to continue with this music therapy as he believes that listening to various Carnatic ragas in a scientific way calms the mind and makes the body healthier. “Our music is holistic. It serves all purposes,” he says with a smile.
He is amazed at the interest and keenness foreign students show in learning classical Carnatic music. He says the Cleveland Thyagaraja Festival and Chicago Thyagaraja Utsavam are big hits and they draw the best talent annually. “The people there are very keen to understand our system of music. It is not just in the big cities like Chicago, San Jose or Washington, DC. People come to listen in even little-known places like Fargo in South Dakota or Tucson in Arizona. “In 1995 I was told by an old man that this fad (classical Carnatic music) will soon pass. Surprisingly, the NRIs and Americans in general have taken to this music, and today I can say with confidence that it has come to stay.”