As if it was destiny, a freedom fighter named Mr. Jacob John from Kottayam, travelled all the way to Madras (Chennai) in order to pursue his passion for playing the piano. He found his way to Musée Musical and offered to teach. Musée Musical was started by a Portuguese piano maker to build and serve the music fraternity in India. After India’s independence, the then management took it up to carry forward the legacy of the founders in fostering and promoting music.
Knowing that education was the key to building and sustaining the art of music, the managing director then, Mr. MH Das enthusiastically accepted the offer. Thus began the beautiful journey of Musée Musical School of Music from the backyards of the piano store in 1966. Giving music lessons became an essential aspect of Musée Musical, particularly for piano, which was only rented in those days. Mr. Jacob John continued with his passion to teach music. He took the help of his friends who gave him violin and guitar lessons. With these two primary teachers, the school started to flourish, and it soon became the first well-established music school in South India.
IMPACT OF MUSÉE
By the ’70s and ’80s, Musée had become a breeding ground for aspiring musicians. It also quickly turned into a place of confluence for Western and Indian music. Many Indian music academicians starting with AS Panchapakesa Iyer, to performers like S. Balachander, would interact with Western musicians to debate, deliberate, and explore the nuances of both forms.
This was also the time when Indian film music was at the cusp of its experimentation. Legendary musicians like Ilayaraja, Gangai Amaran, VS Narasimhan, and their contemporaries would frequently visit the place. They would spend hours exploring and understanding Western classical music. These eclectic interactions birthed the genre of film music which was a mélange of both Indian and Western music.
Being closely associated with Trinity College London, Musée Musical was the seat of qualifying in Western music. Many incredible artists like Dr. L. Subramaniam, Ilayaraja, A R Rahman, Harris Jayaraj, and more have stepped on this pedestal of learning music and have given us the bliss of listening to stellar music that added world-class richness to music and to life itself.
THE TRINITY GAME-SHIFTER
Since 1901, Musée Musical has represented Trinity College London which shifted the entire dynamics of learning and teaching music. Initially, Western music which was cherished and learned only by the affluent now became accessible to everyone.
This also motivated the musicians to take teaching as a career which helped the growth of music schools as well as teachers. The certificate and examination in accordance with Trinity College London developed the confidence among the parents and students to pursue music education.
Musée Musical School of Music jointly collaborated, worked, and launched a first of its kind music learning app with a US-based tech company. Manoké is a unique platform that connects musicians, teachers, students, and enthusiasts.
The platform can be leveraged by the students to accelerate their learning and develop strong technical and musical skills. With the technological upgrade, our goal is to encourage parents to invest in high-quality music education for their children’s better and brighter future.
BENCHMARKS FOR A CURRICULUM TRANSFORMATION
In India, music education has been largely restricted to the province of graded music examinations. For more than 30 years, the teachers have taught and also learned through the exam syllabus. When the exam syllabus was created, it was not designed as an actual “curriculum” but rather intended to check the progress of learning.
We need to build what we understand as a curriculum, a broad learning platform. Within the platform, the student not only takes an exam but also learns much outside the world of exams. The platform will include far more key elements that the student needs to learn, understand, accomplish, and be fluent to be a musician, which roughly corresponds to the graded exam. Through the new system, they will upgrade themselves into a broad-based musician who knows about listening, history, culture, aural, and sight reading – all the key skills that a musician needs to know. Beyond securing a job, it’s important to be a practical musician.
These benchmarks have been ideated to lend teachers a more significant and broader picture of the expansion and gravity of music education. Rather than limiting only to syllabus meant for an exam, these benchmarks step forward as a curriculum for long-term learning.
VISION OF THE SCHOOL
Musée Musical School of Music is committed to lifelong learning and nurtures the pursuit of music-making by creating, collaborating, and providing quality opportunities and experiences for everyone. Our mission is to create, provide and expand positively life-changing experiences through music.
CALL FOR APPLICATIONS
At Musée Musical School of Music, we emphasize engaging and cultivating a student’s ability in conceptual understanding in learning, collaborating, and performing. To create a better learning environment for students, Musée Musical invites artistes, music educators and institutions to express their ideas and interests for potential collaborations by writing to [email protected].
CHENNAI YOUTH SINFONIETTA
Musée Musical Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that promotes the performing arts. The Foundation works toward co-creating, collaborating, and supporting individuals, groups, and organizations that use any art form to create an impact in society and help develop the ecosystem and habitat to nurture all forms of art as the highest endeavour of human achievement.
A first-of-its-kind youth orchestra Chennai Youth Sinfonietta (CYS) came into being in January 2020, as a combined effort between Musée Musical and Keys of Change. CYS is a platform where students learn music and perform alongside international teachers and performers. The vision is to inspire, empower, and use music to change the lives of young people from Chennai and, more broadly, Tamil Nadu.
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