From classes conducted on the terrace of a house, Jus Drums has grown into a percussion school that draws students from around the city. Liffy Thomas catches up with its founder

When Murali Krishnan quit a regular job eleven years ago to start a rhythm camp primarily for students on summer vacation, the move was viewed with skepticism. But for his grandparents’ support, Murali would have had to give up the idea. Today, what started as a modest exercise on the terrace of an independent house in Nandanam has grown into a major drums school that draws people from across the city.

On the eve of the 11 year anniversary (April 6) of Jus Drums, Murali is obviously a very happy man. Sitting in his drums studio at Mylapore, he shares his success story with Downtown.

Murali was 25 when he took a loan of Rs. 30,000 from his grandfather to start the percussion school, which functioned on the terrace of his house in Nandanam for eight months. He spruced up the place, brought along his drum kit and added two more practicing pads to bring in the ambience of a drum school. Fifty students made up the first batch.

“I first made them understand the instrument and followed a structured user-friendly format to teach drums,” says Murali. Through the three-month camp, he proved that even a five-year-old could play the drums confidently. Testimony to this is the grand show Jus Drums puts up every year. It has not been a cakewalk for ‘Drums Murali’, as he is called. He has literally gone the extra yard to be where he is. In the first year, he shuttled between Anna Nagar (where he had a good number of students enrolled) and Nandanam to conduct classes. From there, the situation got better and better.

“I have touched more than 500 families with rhythm, and we have a long way to go,” says Murali, who also handles freelance HR assignments. Apart from his annual summer camp, Murali has quite a number of enthusiasts learning drums round the year.

Some travel to the city for the lessons. For the last five years, a student from California has been coming down every July. Last year, a girl from Mysore enrolled.

Today, he has five teachers to assist him. “I am also looking at setting up more branches,” he adds. Despite enviable success, Murali remains a modest man. He has a word of gratitude for his classical music guru, Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman.For details about the group’s summer programme and anniversary event, log in to jusdrums.com.

(A column about entities that have outgrown neighbourhoods)

Keywords: Jus Drums

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