CHENNAI: Many aspiring students of music and dance are unable to practice every day, and one of the reasons is that the teacher is unavailable to train them when they practice. But what if you had a teacher at the click of a button? Dancers and musicians are tapping on technology to teach and make you practice whenever you can through apps and websites. CE chooses three such creative minds, who have taken a different approach to help out the artistes.
As I log on to Natyarambha.com, an online guide to practice the basics of Bharatanatyam, the first video that’s highlighted is the four types of ta tei tei ta. The video is two-and-a-half-minute long and three different speeds of the basic step is performed by a dancer. “We didn’t make it as an app, but as a browser-based application which can be accessed from any device for anyone who wants to practice their adavus,” says Bharatanatyam dancer Ananda Shankar Jayant, about her website, Natyarambha.
Launched in 2017, the site focuses just on adavus. The reason Ananda says, “You have to learn from a guru. This is just a means to practice. Dance teachers are often asked by parents: ‘Why is my child lagging behind?’ I found a gap between classroom teaching and home training. This site addresses that issue.”
The site has three chapters on trial and after that one has to pay to be part of the course. The steps are taught according to the Kalakshetra pedagogy. “If you follow other styles, then we have an option for you to switch off the video and just listen to nattuvanagam and instruments, so that you don’t get confused,” she adds.
Layam — Carnatic Metronome, an app by mridangam player Mysore L Vadiraj, is for singers to practice their thalams. The app was launched in December right in time for the Margazhi season. “During some concerts, the musicians tend to either drag the thalam or run ahead of the mridangam. This app lets you practice to maintain thalam with a particular beat,” he says.
The app has basic thalams — Aathi, misra chapu, kanda chau, rupaka and tisra nadai aathi — in six different beats and two nadais (rhythms). “These six rhythms will help them with the speed, because sometimes when a mridangam artist plays something complex, the singer needs to understand too,” he says.
As it is almost equal to practicing with a mridangam, Vadiraj feels it enhances your practice. “This app also helps musicians to take over after a thaniavarthanam,” he adds. The app is now available on Playstore and will be launched for iOS this month.
Pratibha Sarathy, a trained singer, has launched VoxGuru, a music learning app, for Android and iOS. “It is a full-fledged teaching app with courses for beginners as of now. We have added 250 videos that includes courses for Carnatic, voice culture, light music Tamil and toddler course,” she shares. Each course has three free videos and the user will have to subscribe later. The lessons are organised in a weekly fashion and includes a practice session as well.
Earlier, Pratibha ran an eCademy to teach people music through Skype. This is just an approach to scale it further. “The main difference is that the videos are pre-recorded. We have anticipated the common doubts and addressed them too. But if beyond that an user has a doubt they can schedule a live class,” she shares adding that the main idea to launch an app was to provide flexibility to the students.
In a couple of months Pratibha plans to launch intermediate and advanced courses too. “After that we also want to launch, western music, light music Hindi, instrumental and specialised courses, for which we will research on what’s more sought after,” she adds.
For details visit: www.natyrambha.com Download VoxGuru on Playstore and Appstore, and Layam — Carnatic Metronome on Playstore