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Education & Musical Expression

Education, one might say, primarily stems from the vast sea of human experience and the need to pass along our inferences. It is a tradition that is carried out so coming generations may by-pass age old obstacles, in the hope of furthering civilization and inevitably humanity. Art, on the other hand, is borne from the need to be remembered in the vast and forgetful universe and to make a connection across time and space; or in other words, to communicate. When viewed along a continuum the two seem to run parallel, with one facilitating the other.

So why is present day ‘education’ devoid of artistic and, more specifically, musical expression? Earlier in India, music was given major importance in the form of patronage. Unfortunately, the need to be successful today, by society’s standards, does not allow one to properly follow a passion in this field. Very rarely does one see a course curriculum, at a school level, that deems music worthy of a formal education. It is pushed to the side; always to be pursued as a hobby and never a career. But industry demands are high for quality personnel who are skilled in the arts; albeit with a flair for the current technology as well.

Enter MusicLab. Brainchild of musician Rzhude David, MusicLab is an initiative to get schools to utilize the vast array of technologies present today in the pursuit of music education. The first of its kind in India, MusicLab provides ‘ready to operate’ learning solutions by integrating music instruments, audio components, computers and software. The company works at all levels for prospective institutions by providing sound advice and planning, installation of hardware, training of staff and after purchase support. In addition MusicLab also offers lesson plans to aid teachers in their profession. Because pre packaged solutions are not always practical, MusicLab’s account managers spend time with teachers to customize a solution for a new or existing curriculum. It must be remembered that all of this supports traditional music education and in no way deems it obsolete.

Umesh PN, Program Manager of MusicLab says, “if you’re interested in an entire music computer laboratory, a digital audio workstation, a PA system or just a piece of software for an existing system, MusicLab allows you to make an informed decision by eliminating the guesswork of choosing from a wide array of music technology products.”

One of the key notes of this endeavour is the use of Sibelius educational software to enhance learning. Sibelius is a music notation program which facilitates writing of musical scores and is used by widely by composers, arrangers, performers and music publishers. Its introduction to the schooling level is profound, as it gives students a structured approach to understanding and composing music. It also allows for international collaboration among composers and artists. Where, in the past, boundaries of distance was a virtual dead end, Sibelius provides for easy exchange of musical ideas. The possibility of a composer writing a score, sending it to an artist half across the world for his/her input in the form of music notation, and receiving that input relatively instantaneously, is very real.

Their first project to setup a music laboratory at Mallya Aditi International School is panning out beautifully. Though still in the process of becoming fully functional, people are already wowed by the possibilities of such a facility.
In effect, MusicLab is trying to change the course of how we perceive music, and not just within the educational realm. By bringing industry standard music tools to a whole new generation of users, MusicLab helps youngsters to gain access to a variety of audio construction tools that would otherwise be out of reach for many of them. The exposure that is attained through such a program may well change many a mindset to the opportunities of a career in music. Greater influx of people into this field will generate competition and can only ensure higher quality of musical ventures and openings of new markets and audiences. In short, one could see the possibility of a complete upheaval of the current music scenario.

But as with most evolution, such large scale change requires time. In the meanwhile, the project at Mallya Aditi International School is poised for success with more schools realizing the need for such an undertaking. Perhaps it’s only a while before you too begin to believe that music can be more than just a hobby.

Author: Siddharth Prakash


Happening @ Musiclab

  • Moved to bigger, newer, more professional looking office. There's only upwards to go from here! 2010-10-22
  • Come to the conclusion that we're more of a 'slow boil broth' than a 'microwave dinner'. But the taste..... 2010-09-03
  • More updates...