Music teachers undergo refresher training course

Minutes after S.Manjula and an ensemble of other music teachers of Chennai School rendered a piece in Amruthavarshini raga, it rained heavily. “Our trainer had just said that Amruthavarshini would bring rain. My faith in the raga's potential to bring rainfall got strengthened. Even though we know that this period is northeast monsoon season, it was a wonderful sense of gratification,” said Ms.Manjula, who was part of the group of teachers from Chennai Schools and other government schools that underwent a refresher training in music organised by Rastriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan this week.

She plans to use the potential of raga to make Chennai Schools a better place to learn for students and “make them better citizens of the country.”

“A teacher can use Kalyani or Mohana raga to manage a class of students that refuses to be disciplined. Kedaragowla raga can give relief from pain. I have knowledge of Carnatic music. But I never knew that raga can make such an impact on our lives,” she added.

The training session made us aware that music can be used as a tool to discipline students, said P.Kunaluxmy, another music teacher of a Chennai School.

“We got to know better the subtle differences between talas. Our school will use music to develop concern among students on environment, public health, child labour and issues such as religious fundamentalism,” she added.

New ideas to commemorate important days with live programmes at school were also generated at the session, said V.Sundararajan, another teacher.

“There was extensive training on folk music, Thiruvasagam and Thiruvarutpa also,” he said.

Many ideas to instil patriotism in young minds through music were discussed at the training, said S.Rajasri, a teacher.

“We have a lot to teach our students,” she added.

However, the music teachers said that many of them were asked to shoulder responsibility of office work too at school and time for teaching music was limited.

Pointing to the fact that most of the Chennai School students are talented, the teachers said that their ability could be an asset for the music heritage of the city if music training at Chennai Schools gained priority.

“This year, the Chennai Corporation has taken the first step towards strengthening music teaching in its schools by conducting refresher training programmes. Efforts are on to improve music learning in Chennai Schools and bring more structure into the curriculum,” said T.N.Venkatesh, Joint Commissioner (Education), Chennai Corporation.

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Aloysius Xavier LopezJune 28, 2012