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Playing the right notes

sonic impressions At workshops and music schools Photo: AFP  

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A quick course at a music workshop or regular lessons in a music school. What is the best way to become a rock star?

Everyone loves to carry a tune or hum a song. And almost everyone has, at some point in their life, aspired to play an instrument. While many join music schools and shine, others do not have the time or inclination to attend regular classes. Are one-time workshops the solution? Can a one-day interaction with a musician help us become the rock star we aspire to be? Or can nothing replace the traditional music lessons from an instructor? MetroPlus strums the right chords to find out.

Pianist and founder of The Majolly Trust, Neecia Majolly believes both serve different purposes. “It is always exciting when a foreign artiste who is an expert in his or her field comes down. Students get to work with them and benefit from the interaction. Workshops work best because of the short duration of stay. Most people who attend workshops go away carrying information with them and apply it to whatever they’re already doing, whether they’re a student or choir member.” She adds that music classes, on the other hand, are a regular affair. “If you’re working towards a music exam or performance, it is the best. Especially in Western music, the once-a-week class gives a consistent effort towards your goal. Workshops do not help you do that. It is a one-time event and you have to handle the rest on your own. You don’t know if you’re learning right since the person is not available once the workshop is done. Music classes are extremely important for you to master your instrument or voice. I prefer music classes since they are consistent and, at the same time, look forward to workshops to enhance my music experience and learn outside the scope of the school.”

Jagadeesh M. R., musician and frontman of world fusion ensemble Moonarra, however points out that music schools will only teach you from a teacher’s perspective. “Workshops allow you to learn from a super-specialist and get a holistic view. While you are going through the learning process, you are getting expert guidance on certain subjects for which there is no faculty. Apart from specialising in a music school, you get to learn from other disciplines in a workshop.” He adds that workshops are necessary for the specialist touch. “This may help you with a course correction as well. It is always good to have an outsider’s view since they’ve performed so much and you get an idea of the larger picture.”

Principal and founder of NAD School of Music Wesley Newton suggests workshops for those who want to learn more from a professional in the industry.

“A workshop can never replace regular learning. Workshops are just milestones in your musical journey. Your journey is the continuous learning process. It doesn’t really matter as long as you are constantly learning and getting better. It is important to remember that dedication to the instrument comes from loving music in totality. Going for a workshop is an add-on and a fantastic experience but it can never make up for actual, hands-on, intimate learning. Even though I run my own school, I’m a bigger advocate of learning. There are so many avenues to learn online and from the music community. A regular learning process of picking up your instrument and practicing will help you. More than workshops, the best advice I give is to listen to good music, watch talented musicians play and attend gigs.”

Drum instructor James Prabhakar from the Cherubim School of Music says workshops allow us to interact with experts. “But there’s very little to apply from the experience into our own learning curve. It’s mostly techniques and styles that improvise our performance. Music education dwells into finer details of rigorous practise, practical learning and music growth.”

Benefits of learning music

Sharpens the brain

Boosts memory

Enhances skills

Builds discipline

Social interaction

Boosts self-esteem

Cultural exchange

Betters language

Enhances creativity

Betters expression

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Printable version | Apr 25, 2017 1:21:13 AM | http://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/playing-the-right-notes/article8309830.ece