In the sombre mood of the lockdown, Musicमय May emerged as a bright spot in the life of twenty-six music enthusiasts, including some novices and others with a musical background. Every day for an hour, the participants got together and while some trained, others dabbled into the sphere of Hindustani Classical music under the watchful eye and keen ear of Smt. Pramodini Rao, Academic and Campus Director, Chinmaya Naada Bindu Gurukula.
The nine-day workshop held from 21st to 31st May (except 24th and 28th) was designed to convey that music is not just singing or playing an instrument, but that it needs wholesome preparation to become a good artist. James Baldwin has said, “An Artist is a sort of emotional or spiritual historian. His role is to make you realise the doom and glory of knowing who you are and what you are.”
Highlighting this point, the learning was a combination of musical skill enhancements in the form of practise and theory of three ragas—Malkauns, Ahir Bhairav and Yaman. Each Raga was taken up for three days each, in one-hour sessions from 8.30 and 9.30 pm, covering general information, a Sargam Geet and two compositions, with inputs on how to frame Alaaps and Taans. Assignments were given in the form of recording and sending back creative patterns in the Ragas taught.
The music enthusiasts started their day at 6:30 am with the chanting of four Shanti Mantras under the guidance of Shri Akshay Malhotra, a graduate of Chinmaya Mission’s Vedanta Course and Manager IT & Administration, CNBG campus. The practice of early morning chanting connected the spiritual journey of learning music to the recitation of Vedic mantras.
This was followed by a session on Music Meditation by Smt. Rao, in which she taught breathing and concentration techniques aimed at enhancing the musical journey while fuelling the spiritual self.
An aspect of seva was included wherein each participant had to choose a seva of their choice which they had to perform for a total of three hours, over the ten days. Most of the participants took this up with great enthusiasm.
On 30th Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda, Founder Chancellor of CVV and Swami Swaroopananda, Chancellor of CVV, made a guest appearance, making the session even more memorable for all. They blessed the group and listened to a couple of participants sing what they had learnt.
Some of the participants shared their experience —
Priya Dinesh said, “I have been classically trained in Carnatic music. My dream to learn Hindustani classical music has been finally fulfilled through this MMM course by Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth. With such interesting Ragas chosen, Pramodini akka and her team will help me continue my learning curve in future, too. I am looking forward to many more courses with good discipline and pure dedication.”
“The fact that this session occurs online does not make it any less demanding. Smt. Rao or Didi as she is affectionately called, gently but firmly nudges participants to take risks to sing on screen and embrace mistakes as an opportunity to learn,” said Deepa Iyer.
To that Milind Pathak added, ‘The rigour and complexity are similar to a one-on-one class, but done with compassion and true love to impart music instruction. Music unlocks self-expression, intelligence and creativity. This nine-day music course did that for many of us participants.”