Composer-singer Shankar Mahadevan has launched an online music academy to bring Indians living in the US a step closer to their roots by imparting structured education in Indian classical music.
It is called Shankar Mahadevan Academy.
"I have always had it in my mind to do something in music education because after having learned so much, I had to give it back sometime. So now is the time!," Mahadevan told IANS.
The trained classical singer, popular for songs like “Breathless”, “Mitwa”, “Jhoom barabar jhoom” and “Desi girl”, has tied up with Clood On, a provider of virtual learning software, to provide step-by-step training to students of all age groups living in the US.
There was another factor about Indian music, which urged Mahdevan to set up the online music academy, available on www.shankarmahadevanacademy.com.
“I always noticed that whenever it came to Indian classical music or even just Indian music, the teaching methods are very unstructured. You cannot put it down in points anywhere. Whereas, if you go to Berklee College of Music or Juilliard School just to learn trumpet for example, everything is structured.
“In India, usually when you learn music, the guruji comes home and teaches how to sing. There's no structure, no syllabus, no certification, no exams - there's no method. But I wanted my academy to be structured so that people could go from being zero to hero in Indian classical music,” he said.
One can learn Hindustani as well as Carnatic music through it. Apart from the theory lessons that have been planned after detailed discussions with maestros in the field, Mahadevan has roped in teachers to take live classes online.
“We are replicating two aspects of any form of learning - when you go to a college, you have a textbook and you have a teacher standing in front of you. So we have also created a textbook OM (Online Music) Book, which can be accessible all the time. And then classes with a teacher are scheduled at a specific time so that you can virtually interact with her,” he said.
Each course lasts 12 weeks, and costs $240 as an introductory offer. Starting April, the course fee will be $300.
The first batch of classes will begin March 3, which also happens to be Mahadevan's birthday.
Mahadevan also hopes to launch such an online academy in India, but due to the comparatively poor bandwidth, he wants to wait for sometime.
“Launching the online academy in India is Plan B for me. But let's see the response to the US academy first. We are hoping to get around 250 students for the first batch. In fact, I also want to do a brick and mortar academy, but that is Plan C for me,” he said.
Meantime, the multiple National award-winning composer is riding high on the success of his latest songs “Laung da lashkara” and “Rola pai gaya” from “Patiala House”. He says there's a lot more to look forward in the year with “Game” and “Don 2 - The Chase Continues”.