Getting schooled: Music education in India

Traditionally, music education for the Indian art forms has been via the guru-shishya parampara where the student learns directly from the teacher without an institutional set-up. While this continues to exist, the idea of ‘music institutions’ have drastically evolved today.

Manasi Prasad, Museum Director, Indian Music Experience Museum / Classical vocalist, says, “The pandemic has led to an explosion in online music education. However, with the glut of options available, now that location is not a consideration, finding the right option becomes a challenge. Also, the quality is very uneven because online music institutions do not need any set up. Another untapped opportunity is music education in schools which despite a lot of emphasis in the National Education Policy is still very uneven in implementation.” Music Plus lists the country’s top institutions that will get you the right education.

Subramaniam Academy of Performing Arts (SaPa)

Courtesy Indian Music Experience Museum

With classes in Carnatic, Hindustani, and Western music (singing and instruments), SaPa has an in-school program where they teach Indian and global music, and use music as a gateway to help children develop 21st century skills. “We believe in the transformative power of music, and our vision is to make world-class music education accessible to every learner,” say Bindu Subramaniam, Co-Founder & CEO, SaPa; and Ambi Subramaniam, Co-Founder & CCO, SaPa.

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KM Music Conservatory

Courtesy Indian Music Experience Museum

Started by the A.R. Rahman Foundation, KM Music Conservatory (KNNC) in Chennai offers music programmes ranging from six-month part-time courses to full-time, two-year diploma courses. The institute teaches all genres including Hindustani, traditional Western music, opera singing and Western classical. Certificate in Composition, KMMC Diploma, KMMC Audio Engineering Course and Certificate in Performance and Electronic Music Production Course are also offered.

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T-Series Stage Works Academy

Led by the Bollywood Singing Sensation, Tulsi Kumar and her husband Hitesh Ralhan, the academy is focused on creating a pool of skilled professionals who can match global demands through music, sound production, basic and advanced singing and instrumental, both in online and offline modes. “T-Series Stage Works Academy is unique from all aspects and one of its kind where we integrate arts and the academics. The Academy not only envisions creating superstars but has already created many,” says Dr. Deepti Trivedi, Vice President, T-Series Educational Wing.

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Calcutta School of Music

The century-plus premier institute was started in 1915 by Phillipe Sandre and is one of the oldest, most prestigious music schools in India. The institute offers a host of Indian and Western music courses. The Institute offers diplomas under Related Board of Royal Schools of Music, Trinity College London and London College of Music and follows a graded course. The comprehensive course spans music and discourse, using hypotheses and viable examples to make students ready for the examinations.

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The Sound Space

Shadaja, an important music training and appreciation program at The Sound Space, helps children and adults gain exposure into the world of Indian Classical music. “We firmly believe that sound has the indefatigable power to touch every aspect of human life,” say Kamakshi and Vishala Khurana, Co-founders, The Sound Space. “From a child with Attention Deficiency Disorder or Autism to an employee struggling hard at work, from cancer patients to little ones wanting to learn a new form of art, the various programs at The Sound Space have the miraculous ability to heal and revive mind, body, and soul,” Certified courses, parent-toddler music sessions with singing, simple movements, music games and listening to music is also offered.

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Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music

Located in Chennai, this renowned contemporary music school offers signature courses such as the Emphasis Program and Diploma in Audio Engineering & Music Production, SAM Online Foundation Program, Diploma in Music Performance and Advanced Diploma in Music Performance are some of the key courses offered here. The school focuses on the nuances of music by imparting education in music performance, audio engineering and music technology. The focus is to give students an evolved knowledge of music and help them enter the music industry.

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AAFT Online

Mohit Marwah, Co-founder and Co-CEO

This EdTech venture offers a professional course on Music production and a certificate course on guitar, combining cutting-edge technical skills with theoretical knowledge. “These programmes are authored and taught by renowned faculty and industry experts, catering to freshers interested in music as well as people working in the music industry who wish to upgrade their knowledge. They also try to instill an entrepreneurial spirit in their learners so that they can thrive in the professional world. Their courses are pragmatic yet technical,” says Mohit Marwah, Co-founder and Co-CEO, AAFT Online.

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Prayag Sangeet Samiti

Established in 1926 in Allahabad, Prayag Sangeet Samiti musical school has courses in dance, vocals and instrumental music. Spread over 300 acres, the focus is on Indian Classical Music. The school has two buildings in South Malaka and Alfyed Park. The Institute can be credited with the fact that music is recognised as a subject of study by many State Governments of the country including Uttar Pradesh. The diplomas and degrees awarded by this Institute are accredited by many educational bodies and universities.

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Pracheen Kala Kendra

Pracheen Kala Kendra, Chandigarh has been working towards promoting, preserving and disseminating Indian classical arts of music, dance, and fine arts (painting) from 1956. The center offers a Carnatic Music (vocal and instrumental) course; Prarambhik (two-year preliminary course); Bhushan (three-year course after Prarambhik); Visharad (two-year course after Bhushan) treated as equivalent to bachelor’s degree in music. There are also courses equivalent to Postgraduate degrees. Shobha Koser, Registrar, Pracheen Kala Kendra says, “We are working across India basis and have five regional offices and our organisation is Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) empanelled.”

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Bhartiya Sangeet Mahavidyalaya

Also called Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Mandal, this institute in Vashi, Navi Mumbai has over 1,200 affiliated institutions across the country. The school works to promote and expand Indian classical music and dance. Interestingly, the courses in music span elementary levels to diploma, Bachelor’s, Master’s and even Doctoral levels. Examinations are conducted twice a year across 800-plus centers.

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Artium Academy

Founded by Ashish Joshi and Nithya Sudhir, Artium Academy features faculty heads such as Sonu Nigam, Shubha Mudgal, Aruna Sairam, KS Chithra, Louiz Banks, Gino Banks, Raju Singh, Aneesh Pradhan and other eminent musicians. With a performance-based standardised curriculum focused entirely on virtual learning, the institute offers courses in vocals (Hindustani, Carnatic, devotional and more) along with stringed and percussion instruments.  

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Some other music schools

  • Madras Music Academy
  • Bhatkhande Music Institute Deemed University
  • Shankar Mahadevan Academy
  • Indira Kala Sangit Vishwavidyalaya
  • Delhi School of Music
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