The new state-of-the-art-campus of one of India’s leading music colleges – the Global Music Institute (GMI) – was inaugurated by musicians Shubha Mudgal and Raghu Dixit on Sunday, 4 February 2018 in Greater Noida.
It was a musically and aesthetically pleasing afternoon featuring some wonderful performances by many well-known artists including Adhir and Smiti, Kamakshi Khanna, and Anhad and Sarthak. Kids associated with the NGOs Music Basti, Slam Out Loud, and Dribble Academy also gave beautiful performances that caught everyone’s attention. Special performances by GMI faculty and students left one and all enthralled.
Speaking about the event, GMI founder Aditya Balani, said, “We are thrilled to have formally inaugurated our campus. The fact that luminaries from the field of music graced the occasion with their presence is an honor for us. This is just the beginning of our journey towards providing aspiring musicians with all-round music education and giving them exposure to more than just classroom modules. There were some enlightening conversations with our honourable guests, and there is much to learn from all of them. The highlight of the day has been performances by notable musicians, our faculty and alumni. It has been an overwhelming day and we are happy to have received whole-hearted support from the music fraternity.”
Congratulating GMI and its founders, veteran classical singer Shubha Mudgal said,
“What GMI is doing is indeed commendable. I congratulate Aditya & Tarun for realizing their dream and setting up an institute that is at par with global standards. One thing that saddens me is that society currently does not give so much importance to art. We invite and recognize celebrated musicians time and again but when it comes to formal music education, we as a society don’t encourage that. I hope that GMI and its holistic approach to music education will change that”.
Gayathri Natarajan from Loudest, spoke to the extremely affable conversationalist and musician, Raghu Dixit.
Gayathri: What is your present connection with education?
I want to travel all over India, and I want to teach kids, seeing their expressions is amazing for me. I want to visit as many schools as possible, government schools, private schools, everything!
Gayathri: What is your opinion on the fundamental attitude and awareness of music education in India.
Oh well, it definitely needs a re-haul! Then you are shaking up the entire education system with arts as the core of curriculum. That means it needs a paradigm shift by first, parents, second, schools and third, the environment itself. Unless it becomes a low, schools will not change. But there are also schools that are not waiting for the law to happen. Music needs to be an art that is used for engaging kids in education. Right now, it is treated as an extra curricular activity. There are some schools that I have known, that have dedicated the entire second half of the day to the arts. Pottery, painting, dancing, music , etc.
After a while, if a student says this is not working out for me, they are allowed to shift their focus. This is the ideal situation. Such kind of liberty for such young kids to choose what they want to do early on in their life, is also a form of freedom that is inculcated very early into the kids. Arts does that. The sense of liberation, freedom of speech and voicing out one’s opinions is something that is lacking in our education. The government needs to allow that. In that way, arts needs to become mainstream. It needs a paradigm shift in thinking, from everybody in the system.
Gayathri: What is your music education background, and the impact of it in your art?
Raghu: While I have no regrets, I wish I had studied music instead of dance. I learnt Bharatanatyam, for 18 years. Though my figure does not endorse that fact, I trained in dance from when I was eight to when I was 25! I almost took dance as my profession, until things changed for me. Yes, I am very comfortable wearing my “Gejje” for performances, as it is so natural to me, and brings in a great rhythmic element to my music, with folk influence. I also wish there was more awareness that music can be a career too. Yes, there is a lot of emphasis, NOW, on the importance of music education and arts education. Otherwise, it used to be school first, arts later.
In the present day context, I also feel that students think, that if they study music, they will become instant stars, which is not true. There needs to be a realistic expectation and effort that goes into it, just like any other career. I always tell people that it takes a minimum of 6-8 years’ dedication to your art, to begin to make it. Unless you are ready to do it, it’s not gonna happen. Music is not a subsidiary thing that you end up jamming for a couple of hours, and you want shows immediately.
Gayathri: Music Business. Should it be a part of basic music education?
Raghu: Most of the artists hate the business side of it. But, it is very important to be aware, of how the business works, and more importantly, what are the pit holes you can fall and get trapped into. It is definitely a must for all to know the legal side of music, and their rights.
The biggest problem that we all face as artists, is the problem of Intellectual Property. There are so many facets to IPR. There is mechanical rights, performance rights, recording rights, broadcast rights and so many more things to be aware of. If you write away all those things to a single company, you have so much to lose.
Its only now that the right laws are passed, and the musician community is more aware. The awareness is now at a very nascent stage.
Musicians are now voicing out their rights. It is an important change and I hope it continues. There used to be days when musicians used to just whimper and back out, just because a label threatened them. It is not happening that often anymore, and I’m glad.
Musicians are very rightfully concerned about their rights, careers and even retirement plans now.