Music to Learners’ Ears

An online academy with singers such as Sonu Nigam and Shubha Mudgal on its board offers courses in different forms of music.
Sonu Nigam, the patron-in-chief of the music academy
Sonu Nigam, the patron-in-chief of the music academy

If there were to be a music school, what would the dream team of music teachers look like? Perhaps superstar singer Sonu Nigam could curate the film music segment and legendary playback singer KS Chitra could impart hands-on training in south Indian film music... Hindustani classical music could be taught by Shubha Mudgal and the Carnatic music course could be designed by classical vocalist Aruna Sairam?

Turns out Artium Academy, an online platform launched last year for music enthusiasts, has exactly the team on board. It is currently working on launching courses in guitar and ukulele shortly. Their first Live Masterclass with the melody queen of Indian film music, Padma Bhushan-awardee KS Chithra, started earlier this month.

“In the West, the penetration of music education is 40 per cent. In India, it is hardly 3 per cent. There is a growing need for a 100 per cent music education plus a web platform that democratises music education,” says Ashish Joshi, CEO, Artium Academy.

Other eminent music virtuosos in the faculty of the AI-enabled platform include Louiz Banks, Gino Banks, Raju Singh and Aneesh Pradhan, who also form the Mumbai-based Artium Academic Board. India’s leading voice training expert Ananth Vaidyanathan is the chief of Pedagogy.

To make the learners’ experience seamless, the academy provides them with a personalised dashboard with learning tools and graphs. They also have access to a virtual auditorium to perform live for audiences and practice studies.

The academy was founded by Ashish Joshi and Nithya Sudhir in February 2021. “Since its launch, the academy has grown its learner base by eightfold and month-on-month revenue by 30 per cent. The company has completed its seed round of $750,000 led by patron-in-chief Sonu Nigam,” says Joshi.

Aruna Sairam
Aruna Sairam

One year on, the platform has evidently already started making a difference to the culture of music education in the country. From 59 students since its inception, the enrollment has gone up to 500. For training in music, particularly classical music, which has traditionally required the teacher and the student to be in physical proximity, going online might seem unconventional and even unyielding, but it seems to be working wonders for Chennai-based Ahana Balaji.

Before the lockdown, the 10-year-old would tire herself out just by travelling long distances daily from her home on the outskirts of Chennai to take classical music classes in the city. Switching to online classes has helped her use her time more productively, allowing her more time to practice, thereby improving her singing by leaps and bounds.

Eleven-year-old Mrithika, who learns Carnatic music on the platform, has decided that she wants to pursue singing as a profession when she grows up. Before the launch of the platform, she used to attend music lessons physically, but as part of group classes. The sessions at the Artium Academy, albeit online, are one-to-one giving her the mentor’s undivided attention.

“The one-on-one online sessions are much more interactive compared to group classes. I have learned a lot of things that are helping me master my vocal skills,” she says. The academy also conducts live masterclasses with different maestros, allowing students to interact with and learn from the best in the industry.

Further, there are several engagement activities to make learning fun and challenging for the user.
For Sairam, musical activity is an enhancement of life and its experiences as well as an elevation of the human mind. “Music elevates us in all four elements of a human being as mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita—buddhi (intelligence), chitta (memory), manas (mind) and ahamkara (identity),” she says.

According to Vaidyanathan, who primarily trains the academy’s teachers in the integrated science and art of voice rationalised music and singing, musical and vocal faculties need to be ignited and developed in tandem.

“If a student’s voice production is set on the right track from the word go, his or her chances of success increase manifold,” adds Vaidyanathan, who has repeatedly demonstrated the power of this science across the world in reality shows. The academy is now looking to add more courses and genres, including instrumental music.

How To enroll
✥ Go to the Artium Academy’s website, choose a course, book a free trial class
✥ You will be assigned a teacher, who will suggest the right level of course for you
✥ You can then enroll in the recommended course and begin your musical journey

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The New Indian Express