From music gurus and community teachers of yesteryears, to the YouTube music stars of today, education in music has seen a dramatic shift in India in the last two decades. Music and music education careers have became more popular among India’s burgeoning young population, which is increasingly keen to break the status quo and embrace rewarding alternate career choices.
The aspirations of the younger generation drive music education today. A music career is not limited to playback singing and composing for Indian films; instead, almost every digital platform presents opportunities for young music talent to showcase their skills. Learners are now better informed, goal-oriented and are ready to take on the challenge of charting their path to success as creative professionals. They pursue vocations that allow them to nurture, grow and express their creativity and connect emotionally with a billion people.
Music Learning in India
While India has remained a centre for arts and music since ancient times, music learning has been limited to a select few. As people realised the benefits of music learning and ‘riyaaz’, there arose a greater demand for qualified and experienced teachers. Internet penetration has fuelled this demand further, with music education at the forefront of the EdTech revolution. Tech advancements in the past decade with high-quality video conferencing, digital whiteboarding and file-sharing have facilitated this adoption by teachers and students alike.
While local community teachers have been around for a while, the lack of qualified instructors for different music instruments and subjects has been a handicap for learners. Highly experienced teachers have also been limited by their geographical reach. The advent of online music classes has been a boon for both teachers and learners.
The lockdown woes
As people were under strict lockdown for the last year, many music teachers were thrown out of work. Paul Devaraj Mohan, a music teacher from Chennai, says he faced many struggles during the lockdown months when his students stopped showing up, and he was suddenly out of work. An online music learning platform helped him get back on his feet, and now he has more than 50 regular music students. He is one of the many teachers who have benefitted from the online music education model.
A bright future ahead
Online music lessons have enabled access to quality music education to a broader set of learners from all over the country. Previously, top-notch music schools and qualified and experienced teachers were accessible only in the metros and large cities. Online music classes are in existence for more than a decade, but there were no organised platforms and scalable solutions. With the advent of music EdTech, many aspiring students can seek quality music education that was previously out of reach for them. The lockdown restrictions further hastened this adoption.
However, this transition to online digital delivery of music lessons has not been smooth. Teaching music online requires an entirely different set of skills compared to traditional classes with the students. Independent music teachers will find it challenging to adapt to this new form of learning without a structured teaching approach and methodology.
In the future, many of these new approaches to music education will continue to stay, even as we slowly return to physical learning spaces. Given the numerous possibilities compared to neighbourhood music lessons, one could choose to learn from expert music teachers from anywhere in the country and across the world and be a part of an expansive network of musicians forming a global student community. On-demand scheduling, learning from the comfort of one’s home, reviewing and re-experiencing lessons on-demand make online music learning an attractive option. Learning music remotely has become popular leading to many more aspiring musicians taking up formal music education to realise their creative potential.