FOR musicians or aspiring musicians desiring a formal education in music,India has precious little to offer. Those who have the financial backing and are able to go elsewhere in the world to study,choose various prestigious institutions such as Berklee College of Music,Boston,Trinity College London,Manhattan School of Music, and USC Thornton School,Los Angeles. Those who cant,must choose from a handful here,for instance,the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music,Chennai,or the Global Music Institute in Delhi.
That,however,is set to change this September as a new music school opens at Sun Mill Compound,Lower Parel. The True School of Music (TSM) brainchild of Ashutosh Phathak,a musician and co-founder of Blue Frog,and Nitin Chandy,sound engineer and chief technical officer at Blue Frog will be housed in a 15,000-square-foot space. Its difficult for everyone to go to music schools like Berklee and others,its expensive,so we have figured out a way to do it in India, says Phathak.
The school will have resident faculty from the MSM,who will primarily be graduates of the institute and also professional musicians in their own right. Justin DiCioccio,Associate Dean at MSM,will play the role of advisor and associate dean at TSM; Robert Giannetti,aka D Wood,a musician and composer who has been the head of the music department at Whistling Woods International,Mumbai,for seven years will also be associate dean at TSM; David Liebman,a New York-based musician will be mentor and advisor; and Suranjan Das,an advertising professional,will be COO.
In terms of curriculum,the school will offer beginner and advanced courses. The former will be in the form of a foundation programme,primarily aimed at those looking for a short-term formal music training. The latter will consist of intensive courses in instrument training,vocals,sound engineering,DJing and so on. All courses,however,aim to be thorough and interactive,with a student-teacher ratio of about 10:1. The unique thing about TSM is that were creating our own syllabi,which incorporates the best practices from international music and sound pedagogy,but at the same time,relates it to the Indian scenario, says Chandy.
To do so,the school will have the best possible infrastructure,including fully-equipped recording studios,individual rooms for training in various instruments including guitars,drums and keyboards,a DJ room,a music library and an auditorium for live gigs.
In addition,by virtue of the collaboration with MSM,DiCioccio mentioned that in the future,there could very well be an exchange programme of sorts with MSM. This would give students from India the chance to live and study in New York,a city he believes is essential to the training of a young musician.