I was restless, in a good way, since I got the call for a blogger visit to Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music. I have always wanted to visit the Music college. Especially when I am writing a novel based on Carnatic Music and Western Music. I cant wait to get there. I have done my research before I went there. But still the campus took me in awe.
It is not close to Chennai. I would say that is the biggest plus of the school. I am not sure any kind of creativity is possible in the concrete jungle we call it as city. It took us close to two hours in car to reach the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music. The Marg properties had developed the project and they have put a lot of intricate details to this. The atmosphere was peaceful and warm. As soon as we entered, we knew we had come to a different place as the air vibrated with music. The whole building if observed from a bird’s view, will be in shape of piano. We were welcomed warmly and was led straight to lunch buffet, which was sumptuous. We saw people from all over the world sharing the space with each other but speaking the same language. Music.
We were given escorted tour of the facility which came in with more and more surprises. The practice rooms for each instrument was not only adequate but perfect. They also have a open space for students to come together and jam and let their creative juices flow. They also have small rooms like spaces where more introverted musicians can develop their skills and use it for practicing. We visited almost all the practice rooms before we sat for a small carnatic class. The rooms were equipped with instruments and boards. They also have music notes ready by the instrument for a tune may appear from nowhere. They have lot of workshops and great faculties. You can explore the campus for four or five days learning from different teachers and then you can decide if you would like the place or not. More over, they have collaboration with Music college in USA and doing an Undergrad here will take you straight to the Post graduation there. You wouldn’t have to do your undergrad again. And the best news is there are so many scholarships available with SAM so that you will be concentrating only in your music and nothing else.
We were then led to a session by Gatam Karthik Sir. He was such a pleasing personality and a great communicator. He was just interacting with us and in no time slid into the lessons. None of us noted that. He encouraged everybody to repeat what he said. I loved the way how he equaled music to maths. Though it is a universal truth, nobody speaks out loudly. I tried to be in the class for as long as I could. Suddenly the tempo increased and the combinations were out of the world. For those who could grasp it was an out of the world experience. I could see it in their faces. But to me it was mind bending. I quietly slipped out of the class and relived my college days. I went to the canteen again and ordered a cold coffee. It was just 30 Rs. And it is one of the best I had had till date. I would make a trip all the way to Swarnabhoomi Academy of music just for this. I heard that almost all the faculties in the SAM came together after Karthik Sir’s class and did an impromptu Jam. I missed it 🙁
But a bigger treat awaited us. The Grammy award winning violinist, Mr. L. Shankar graced the college with his presence. It was like an awe moment for the students and us. He was down to earth and he gave some very valuable tips which I would carry with me for a very long time. He was not boring and he didn’t talk about music alone. His words and the experiences he shared can be put into any situation and it would still make sense. He was patient, eentertained questions and answered each and everyone who wanted to know about his Grammy award, his collaboration with famous singers, Album producers etc. The session went over 2 hours.
It was time to head back home. But the Jazz concert which the music college had arranged in the premises didn’t let us go. We listened to the first piece of music they created and had to push off as it would get really late to reach home if we had to stay for one more song. The music traveled with us though, till Chennai as we were crooning to whatever song that came in the radio. I think that is the impact that SAM left with me.