What changed for music education during the pandemic –
Between March 2020 and now, online music education is no longer about making a video call with your teacher and struggling with latency or internet issues. After all, professional-level courses and rigorous one-on-one training are always the order of the day when it comes to shaping the future minds of the Indian music industry.
Where Indian music schools – large and small – were making headway in strengthening international partnerships (such as Global Music Institute Berklee Track and their credit transfer agreement to help students move from the Noida campus to Boston or Valencia), the pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions haven’t exactly blocked the plans. On the contrary, it caused them to pivot and adapt new ways of keeping their associations strong, while trying to ensure that students are not disadvantaged in terms of education.
There were a few new players in education technology such as Muzigal offering live classes on demand. They saw the space expand when everything went virtual, as did existing institutes like Lost Stories Academy and Furtados School of Music. Below, we take a look at just a handful of new and existing learning platforms and what they do to make music education more accessible.
A real school of music
Since April of this year, one of the leading music schools in Mumbai – True School of Music – has partnered with Vijayabhoomi University of Karjat to offer on-campus study programs in music production, performance, engineering. Hindustani sound or reading. This meant that TSM’s professional courses were now recognized degrees. They already have around 80 students on campus. Co-founder Ashu Phatak said even before the pandemic he was still pushing for TSM to have a hybrid system and program. He says, “There are things that have worked very well online and that have worked very well offline. The ideal situation is a combination of the two. His method of successfully transplanting music education into a virtual space goes beyond simple Zoom or any video call. “You have to keep in mind that when you deliver something online it is of the same quality as you might when offline,” he adds.
Launched in July of last year, Muzigal claims to have more than 400 teachers and more than 10,000 “enrolled learners” in countries like the United States, Canada, India, Australia and other parts of. Asia. It allows people to select their personal tutor based on the style, instrument or type of voice they wish to master, but only at a level that would prepare them for other courses through institutes like Trinity College. Muzigal founder Dr Lakshminarayana Yeluri said they have encountered obstacles in integrating and preparing more experienced and retired teachers to use the app, but having family nearby has helped overcome technical issues during set-up. He points out that “digitally upgrading the music education industry is a challenge” due to the “prejudice” surrounding receiving an education online. Dr Yeluri adds: “Another challenge is the technically challenged teacher base which sometimes becomes stagnant to manage effectively. Especially when teachers or even students have unstable internet connections, inadequate camera setups, we face challenges. However, we are proud to have a knowledgeable and dedicated team who have worked day and night to remove these barriers by organizing knowledge sharing sessions and one-on-one technical support.
Furtados Music School
Also among the long-standing musical institutions in India – which developed from sworn music retailer Furtados in Mumbai – the Furtados School of Music began to expand in Indian cities in 2014 after around three years of slow construction. FSM co-founder and co-CEO Tanuja Gomes said they had 75,000 students in 150 schools in India as of March 2020. In one month, they brought the total to over 100,000 after going virtual. Online learning had been a part of their plans since 2019, which ultimately led to the launch of their FSM Buddy platform. It allows users to register, choose an “interactive course” and set a schedule. FSMs used to focus on young learners between the ages of five and 15, but now they have started to make things easier for adult learners and the elderly. Gomes adds about catering for an older group: “The learning format should be fun, easy and not very technical. It’s the ease and speed with which they can grab and play their favorite tunes. It makes a huge difference. We have our “Learn a Song” program only for the adult category, which is an easy learning program. We have also created content that is used to deliver blended learning programs.
Academy of Lost Stories
Founded by electronic music duo Lost Stories in Mumbai as a production DJ school in 2016, Lost Stories Academy recently introduced an All Access Pass to make classes as affordable as possible, at Rs 1,000 per month. A free account at the school also provides access to their forum and free courses, which has led to the enrollment of over 1,500 new users. Classes range from Ableton to sound design, music theory, and ‘advanced level’ courses of around 100 hours. Lost Stories Academy co-founder Prayag Mehta says their goal has always been to make music education accessible and affordable. “We also received comments regarding the language barrier, as not everyone was very comfortable with English as the language of training. Like any good business, we have listened to constructive feedback from our prospective students and have made every effort to offer our courses in Hindi, Gujarati and English to ensure that the language does not hamper the education and learning of students. really passionate students, ”he said. .
Of the smaller, newer schools in the area that deal specifically with production, when Lost Stories Academy turned to online courses, more than 100 students were enrolled. As offline classes resume in Mumbai, Mehta says there has been a 25% increase in admissions for these. He adds, “The online school is also doing well compared to last year and we receive an average of 10-20 new registrations every two months for our live online courses. “
Ask Mehta if making a course more financially accessible as well as free would reduce its intrinsic value, he says that since online courses are “self-paced,” they have attracted repeat students. For their part, Lost Stories had to put “a lot of other projects” on hold for a few months to fund the new online system, but it’s worth it if it helps spawn a new wave of young Indian producers. “We wanted to reach out to many students from different cities who were interested in making music a profession and help them in any way possible,” Mehta said.