A touch of his delicate fingers sends the keys to a musical whirl
COIMBATORE: Raymond John has magic on his fingertips. A gentle brush of his fingers on the keyboard fills the air with the soft strains of an old melody from ‘Punnagai Mannan.’
At the age of 14, Raymond has mastered the keyboard and has tried out varying musical combinations on it, much to the delight of his audience.
A Class IX student of Nirmala Matha Convent Matriculation Higher Secondary School, a touch of Raymond’s delicate, almost childlike fingers sends the keys to a musical frenzy.
“I am the official music teacher in school,” he says, while managing to stifle a chuckle. “The teachers have entrusted me with teaching the other students the basic notes,” he adds.
Raymond has lost count of the number of competitions he has taken part in. The ease with which he handles the chords and the leads, amazes many of his peers at the music school where he is currently undergoing training. Small wonder why Raymond is tutor Joseph Kirubabalan’s pet.
Though he has been playing keyboard since the age of six, he had not had formal training in it until a few years ago. He started playing on a small keyboard his father bought him. Gradually, the keyboard became his favourite pastime. He spent hours on it and waited to get back home from school to practise his music. “My interest in it never waned and my parents always supported me,” he says. His uncle, Fathima Raj, however, is his first teacher. “He is a keyboardist himself and he informally gave me lessons in keyboard,” he says.
Raymond was introduced to the Trinity College London at ‘A Minor Music Zone’, where he is being trained now through Mr.Kirubabalan.
He soon completed the first grade examination with distinction and graduated to the third grade without any difficulty, passing that too with distinction.
Greek keyboardist and composer Yanni is his role model. “I want to be able to play like him someday,” he says. A.R.Rahman too is one of his top favourites.
While he wants to become a sound engineer, he also nurtures the desire to compose songs, start an orchestra of his own and master the guitar.
He spends at least three hours a day on the keyboard. “I might have to cut down a bit on the number of hours now because I have a lot to prepare for school,” he laments.
Raymond’s only regret is that he has never got a chance to perform outside Coimbatore, says his father John Gerald, a senior technician at ACC.
Raymond is not just a musician. He is good in academics, has won plenty of prizes in solo western dance, is interested in painting and also takes part in elocution competitions in school.