Wednesday, March 20, 2019
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Tune in to creativity

Tune in to creativity

Instrumental, vocal, composing, sound engineering and management, a career in music industry has a lot of choices20 Mar 2019 | 9:07 AM

Music has always been thought of as a leisure activity — we listen to it, play an instrument, sing, dance, watch performances…But now to make a living out of music is what many young people want to do. Is that possible?

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Usha Albuquerque

Music has always been thought of as a leisure activity — we listen to it, play an instrument, sing, dance, watch performances…But now to make a living out of music is what many young people want to do. Is that possible? 

There is no doubt that you need to have the talent to become an AR Rehman, Sonu Nigam or  Shubha Mudgal, but with the increasing popularity of TV and the digital media and with people enjoying greater amounts of leisure and discretionary income, the performing arts have become more widely popular and acceptable. And so its not surprising that many are wanting to pursue careers in this field. 

There are many new careers for those interested in making a career in music. You can choose to be a performer, a composer or song writer, music arranger, music journalist, or music teacher, radio or disc jockey, music therapist, sound recorder, conductor, music technologist/ engineer, artist manager, or work with music recording companies, in the music business and in the music industry. 

Getting in

Getting in requires more than talent. While some amount of inborn talent, a genuine love and interest in music, a good sense of tone and rhythm, is essential, you also require great versatility, strong creative ability and also heaps of confidence, particularly if you plan to become a performer.  In addition, some marketing savvy,  good contacts  and the ability to make them, and some financial support can go a long way in setting the stage for a successful career.

Often talent can be recognised at a young age and subsequently nurtured through the years, with the right kind of training and exposure. 

Training in music is now provided by a large number of schools and institutions. 

There are many prominent institutions for Indian music — among them is Kalakshetra in Chennai and the Sangeet Natak Academy in Delhi. Examinations for these courses are conducted at the certificate, degree and the diploma level. 

There are also several universities that offer degree courses in music — BA in music (Indian/ western/ Hindustani etc). Course areas include Indian music, western music, theory, music interpretation, history of music, composing, voice instruction etc. There are also diploma and certificate courses in music.

Western classical music training is also offered by many private schools and institutes — often affiliated to examining bodies such as The Royal Schools of Music and the Trinity School of Music. Among the better recognised is the Delhi School of Music, which offers courses in learning guitar, piano, cello, violin, recorder, and flute. Similar is the Calcutta School of Music, and the Bangalore School of Music. 

Job prospects

Today there are an increasing number of job openings for students willing to put in time and dedicated effort into their musical training. While at school and college students can try experimenting with performances at clubs and college functions, and so put their talent on test. Some artists have been able to command attention and move onto the pursuit of their art as a full-time career. But the numbers are few. Competition in this field is intense. Most musicians take whatever work they can find and try to supplement their income with another job, until they can make a good break. Some musicians have been teaming up with film makers and music directors to take out their own music videos. This is one area which has witnessed a mushrooming of young talent.

Disc jockeys are also much in demand and receive employment in discotheques, five-star hotels and restaurants. Youngsters with a good knowledge of popular music can also join the television as video jockeys, they can also work as radio jockeys for the radio stations.

Musicians and composers are also employed by academies, kala kendras, Doordarshan, All India Radio, music channels, production houses, television studios, and teaching institutions. There are also opportunities for self-employment in the form of freelance writing of books on the performing arts, holding private classes at home, producing and directing independent programmes.

As a music technologist or sound engineer, you can look for openings in music and film recording studios, broadcast and dubbing studios, television channels and software companies. Companies dealing with recording audio cassettes, CDs and music videos, radio stations and channels and advertising agencies also recruit music technologists. 

With the flourishing music and film industry, Bollywood is a big draw for many looking for a career in music, but the mercurial nature of the opportunities available can be rather daunting. You can be on safer ground in careers such as a music writer, jingle composer, sound designer, music publisher, music producer, music teacher and so on. The entertainment business with stage shows, performing arts in music and dance, and any number of events has also increased opportunities. Several aspiring musicians choose this field, so that they have a better understanding of how to improve the quality of the albums they produce. 

Institute watch (india)

  • The KM Music Conservatory set up by the AR Rahman Foundation offers a range of part-time and full-time courses in western and Hindustani classical music and music technology. The courses which encourage students to take up careers in performing or composing music can lead to internationally recognised degree from Middlesex University, UK. KMMC also offers a range of short time courses in instrumental and vocal music. 
  • Madras Music Academy, Chennai, is one of the oldest music academies of India set up to promote the Carnatic style of Indian classical music. The academy offers full-time and part-time courses, as well as a special Vocal music course for a duration for 4 years.
  • The Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, offers a three-year full-time postgraduate diploma course in sound recording and sound design, as also a postgraduate certificate course in sound recording and television engineering. Bachelor's degree holders in any discipline who have studied physics at the Class XII level are eligible for admission. 
  • The Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, conducts a three-year full-time residential postgraduate diploma course in cinema audiography. Bachelor’s degree holders who have studied physics at the Class XII level are eligible for admission. 
  • The MGR Government Film and Television Institute, CIT Campus, Chennai, offers diploma in film technology and television production (sound recording and engineering). Candidates who have cleared Class XII with physics and chemistry or diploma holders in electrical or electronic engineering or electronics and communication engineering are eligible for admission. 
  • The Centre for Development of Imaging Technology (C-DIT), Thiruvananthapuram, offers one-year PG diploma in science and development communication for graduates in any discipline.  
  • The Keltron Advanced Training Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, conducts a short-term diploma course in sound engineering. 
  • The School of Audio Engineering (SAE) with study facilities and studios in Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi conducts degree and diploma courses in audio engineering. 
  • Whistling Woods International Institute for Film and Television, Animation and Media Arts, Mumbai, conducts a three-year BA degree course in music production and composition, and a two-year fulltime course in sound recording 
  • Christ University, Bangalore, offers a bachelor’s degree course in western classical music (voice, piano and wind instruments) focusing on basics like theory of music as well as ear training and sight reading and the use of music in various fields.
  • ITC Sangeet Research Academy, Kolkata, conducts courses in music, instrumental and vocal

Many Indian students are also seeking admission in music schools abroad. These include:

  • Juilliard School of Music, New York, www.juillard.edu possibly the most prestigious performing arts educational institution in the world, admission to which requires huge talent and a solid repertoire of musical work
  • University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, www.mdw.ac.at among the world’s largest and most renowned universities specialised in the performing arts of music, theatre and film. 
  • Royal Academy of Music, London  www.ram.ac.uk, which boasts of alumni such as Elton John and Annie Lennox
  • Royal College of Music, London www.rcm.ac.uk part of the ABRSM (the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music), dedicated to teaching the art of performance and with an alumni like Benjamin Britten, and Andrew Lloyd Webber, composer of musicals like Evita, Phantom of the Opera, and Jesus Christ Superstar. 
  • Berklee School of Music, in Boston, www.berklee.edu/ ideal for those looking for a career in pop music, 
  • Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, www.curtis.edu which has produced some of the most accomplished musicians in the world particularly in the field of opera. 

Sound engineering

Music or sound engineering involves recording, mixing and dubbing or mastering sounds and music on machines. Music technologists and sound engineers are responsible for the overall recording quality of music and for interpreting the producer’s or music director’s ideas into reality. They can work in music and film recording studios, background sound, broadcast, dubbing studios, recording companies or on the sets of live shows, concerts and events. This is a good option for those with musical talent and technical skills.

Music Management

Music Management is a recent career option, which like in the western world, involves managing the music of a particular musician or group/band of musicians. Music management involves planning, organising and negotiating of a musician’s career. The work involves meeting with radio and television producers and getting air time for their artist, negotiating with recording companies and programme sponsors etc. 

Experience and training in music as well as a some management skills help to be successful in the field. In some cases, music producers  get into becoming music managers for a particular artiste or group.

Video & Disc Jockeys

This is now a popular career option for those with  talent and good communication skills. With the advent of various music channels on TV and radio, DJs and VJs are in good demand. 

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