Study music composition and production

Dr. Sangeeta Shankar. Photo: Special Arrangement  

The Whistling Woods International Film School has a new department to boast off. Well-known violinist Dr. Sangeeta Shankar has envisioned the Diploma in Music Composition and Production, a two-year course, first of its kind in the country. With classes underway for the first batch of students at the Institute, Dr. Sangeeta sounds upbeat and so do her students. She shares a few thoughts on the course and how it was shaped.

For someone who has been trained in the guru-shishya parampara, how does it feel to head a diploma in music composition and production?

In today’s world it is rather shocking to see how the younger generation puts their fingers on the keyboard, and begins to believe that it is the beginning and end of music. For someone like me, who has studied music in the traditional way, and believes that music is lifetime commitment and is guru-mukhena vidya, this attitude is hard to digest. I have always felt that these talented youngsters, could do so well if they had training. It is not enough if you know technology, you have to be educated. So this course is my idea. I proposed it to Whistling Woods and they accepted it.

How important is technology to you?

My mother’s generation knew no technology. But they were great musicians. My generation of musicians have an exposure to technology, but we are happy to be where we are. The younger generation is so fantastic with technology but they don’t know music. I felt that it is important that we meet half way, because training ourselves in technology we can do so many good things to our music and if we give them the knowledge of music, they can do wonders too.

How did the idea of this course evolve? And what does it entail?

My two daughters are classical musicians. During their years of training, I had to send them to different teachers to learn piano, konnakol, sound designing… so on and so forth. It was then that I decided that we need a comprehensive course that equips a student of music in various aspects. Hence, this Diploma in Music Composition and Production. It is the first of its kind in India which packs in both the Indian and Western music perspectives.

The entire syllabus has been designed by me. The course has a guitar and western music component, there is a percussion component which at present has only tabla, but will slowly evolve to include the whole range – world rhythms, there is of course a strong Indian music component, there are listening classes, guest interactions, composing projects…the student will be exposed to all the possibilities of the world of music. Going by the kind of music we get to hear these days, we certainly could do with educated composers.

Who can take up this course?

The most primary requirement is interest in music. At the moment, when we are trying to draw students to the course, we are not even expecting them to have any training, but partially trained students are what we would prefer to have. The course is open to anyone 18 years and above. They should be talented and willing to work hard. This is a two year diploma and the exams will comprise theory papers, project work and practicals. The biggest advantage for a student is that they will be to make music for our film students here. No institute in India will give them this opportunity.For details, log onto

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Printable version | May 4, 2021 9:00:57 PM |

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