Anil Srinivasan, pianist extraordinaire, believes that all forms of music must be celebrated. In his collaborations with Sikkil Guruchuran, he consummately blends the cultural influences of the east and the west. With the Festival of Parallels, he gently teases the idea that all forms of music must be celebrated and discussed. Equally, he also believes that everyone must have an opportunity to appreciate music. For the past 4 years, he has been actively involved with music education. A year ago he launched a social enterprise Rhapsody – an organization that strives to make music an integrated part of primary school curricula.
Rhapsody caters to children of different schools – both private and government – and provides music lessons spanning from practice to concepts and theory and linkages with various subjects. With Rhapsody, the sound of the ambulance as it approaches you and goes further away is as interesting as listening to African drums or a classic Indian hymn. Children explore the basics of harmony and rhythm, learn to enjoy songs drawn from a variety of cultures and also learn other subjects – be it physics or biology through interesting tunes and compositions. Already, Rhapsody employs over 20 music graduates and has reached over 15,000 children.
Anil Srinivasan came across Agastya’s work at a CII conference and it was only a matter of time before Agastya and Rhapsody joined hands to start a new program at Agastya’s creativity lab called Music and the Mind. Already Anil and his associates Dr. Sudha Raja and Shruthi Vishwanath have made several trips to the Kuppam campus understanding Agastya’s approach to teaching and creating a curriculum tailored to the children of Kuppam. As they go about recruiting and training a cohort of instructors to introduce learners to the joy of music, it is clear that the musical bug has bitten more than just the children or instructors. Dr. Baluragi, head of Agastya’s Teaching Learning Department has come forth to devise a set of physics experiments on sound and music. Not missing the beat, staff in the Model Making Workshop is already excited about making new models that elaborate musical concepts. The small batch of Young Instructor Leaders who were among the first few children to receive Rhapsody’s music lessons have taken to singing and teaching these songs to one another. Meanwhile, Anil Srinivasan and team are exploring ways to recruit village entertainers from the community to help teach music.
“Agastya will be a friend for life”, says Anil Srinivasan remarking at the rapidly developing association with Agastya. Agastya feels the same about Rhapsody.