Exciting Career Prospects in Music

Gone are the days when music was merely considered to be a hobby, or a good way to pass time. Music today is much more than a vocation. It has to have passion and zest. It is very competitive and youthful. And therefore this article has to be young; having the flavour of something new, probably because I am young, my readers will also be young, and it is the youth who make what the present day India is all about – a Young and Dynamic India. Thus foraying into the vast ocean of Music, and especially into Hindustani Music, many young buds like me are likely to be concerned about their careers in this field. With the growth of the entertainment industry, which comprises of all sorts of faculties and organizations, like the film industry, advertisement industry, radio and television industry etc., music has become a highly respectable and lucrative career option. But unfortunately, many of us from a small town like Allahabad are unaware of where music is actually turning to.

Well, in this fast paced age, where everything has converged to the era of “Nano” (I am talking of the latest technology that has zoomed up like a Sapaat Taan of the Gwalior Gharana), I better express my views in a simple, direct, but a comprehensive manner.

First things First – What is Music? Let us first know what Indian music in brief is all about.

“Geetam, vaadyam tatha nrityam, triyam Sangeet muchchyate”, a maxim from the granth – Sangeet Ratnakar by the famous musicologist Sharangdev.

The above maxim says that Indian classical music, which is a school of thought, comprises of three different arts which are:

(a) Vocal, or Singing (the expression of sound vocally like Khayal, Ghazal, Bhajan etc.);

(b)Playing of a musical Instrument (the expression of music through an Instrument like Sitar, Veena, Harmonium etc.) and last but not the least,

(c)Dancing (The expression of music bodily through the art of Dance).

No matter how you express it, these three arts are interdependent on each other. This is true of either the styles, or Paddhatees, in Indian music — the North Indian Music and the Carnatic Music.

The growth of the entertainment Industry has opened many new avenues and vistas for those who want to seriously pursue their love for music professionally.

The field of Music (Singing, Dancing and Playing of Instruments) offers many different kinds of jobs based on a person’s interest and capabilities. Broad categorizations of jobs available in the music industry include –

1. Teaching: One of the most traditional trades in music. Those who prefer a one to one interaction can start their very own music school where they can teach / train other aspiring singers. You can open coaching class for training students for scholarships and competitive exams such as the Sangeet Natak Academy, MHRD, NET, for shows like Sa Re Ga Ma etc., jingles for ad campaigns. This is no doubt a very lucrative career option as well.

Nevertheless I would like to suggest, come out of this and explore some other options as well!

2. Sound Recording: For this you need to be a trained sound engineer, or a trained sound recordist, a combiner or an editor. But for this one must know the latest computer softwares in the market, recording gadgets and should be able to manage the recording instruments and the techniques easily.

Singers too with a good trained voice can sing at recording studios and lend their voices as back up voices etc.

3. Concerts / Performances and Live Shows: A professional singer/instrumentalist/dancer, or a freelancer, has the choice to perform in front of a live audience at concerts and live shows, including marriage parties, birthday parties and can be a religious music impresario for the NRIs looking back to their roots in religious functions etc.

4. DJ’s, VJ’s & RJ’s: Those who are not directly into singing, but enjoy music all the same, can become a DJ (Disc Jockey), RJ (Radio Jockey) and VJ (Video Jockey). All three deal with music. However, what differentiates them is the medium they use to reach the audiences. A VJ presents music on Television like a Music compere for Antakshari type programmes, an RJ presents music on Radio and a DJ presents music at live shows, or Discos.

5. Instrument Repairing / Instrument Manufacturing: This industry has a lot of scope and prospects, particularly in large urban towns. The traditional as well as modern electronic instruments, or instrument substitutes, are spreading their wings and are getting accepted across the world. A career in this focused zone can not be ignored in today’s world.

6. Event Management/ Organizer: You need to be creative and an instictive manager, or a supervisor. One can organize music shows. These days jobs are available for teaching Mehendi and Banna Banni songs for marriages/event management etc. After all, what does SpicMacay do? Or, why to go that far, the music conferences organized by Prayag Sangeet Samiti every year too are an example. Wonder, they may be looking to outsource the management of the event to some one who can deliver.

7. Music Therapists: Examples are plenty where music has been successfully utilized for therapeutic purposes. It has been used even for increasing crop , or milk production. One can setup a clinic in a Spa, like that is done by an aroma therapist or a gemologist etc and cure people and do something for a social cause.

8. Music Composer: This is one of the most creative and innovative field in music where, “You Make Music”. Yes, you will make people tap and rap to your music. This seems to be very interesting but at the same time it has to be an intelligent work done. A music director, or a composer, must know various kinds of music. Suppose, you are given a task to make a track which has the ‘feel’ of Arabic music or Boul geet or Lavani. Did you notice, I said ‘feel of’…, that means it should present the mood of Arabic music (or Boul or Lavani), but at the same time it should not be totally Arabic music.

9. Music Arranger: His job is different than that of the music composer but is not exactly what people think. He has to ‘arrange’ music of a song or background scores. One needs to have a great knowledge of various instruments, sounds etc. and should be able to setup a network of all kinds of music professionals whose services can be harnessed as per need of the Music Director.

10. Orchestration: Remember “Maihar Band” of Ustad Allahuddin Khan! Another one of Zubin Mehta? I can suggest some more names like, Beethoven, Mozart, Hyden etc. All of them created music using various instruments and instrumentalists and created history.

11. Website or Software Designer: I am not joking. If you are a software professional, or a website designer, you can create a music website of your own and also a software and people will admire you.

12. Paper Reading: If you have a good understanding of music, you can write a paper and read it to discerning audiences. That means explain your research or project to an audience. If you know how to use power-point of Ms Office in Windows you can make a power-point presentation and can give lecture using it.

13. Music restorer: This means you can restore music recordings by becoming a music historian, like CDs, Cassettes, Videos, Tapes, books and create you own archive or a library.

14. Music vendor: You can sell music by opening a music shop etc..

15. Others: Go on for music in Hotels, Airlines, Railways, and Army Bands which are fancy and equally professional with fixed salaries. You can drive yourself towards a music Choreographer’s job if interested in dance but again be sure that you must know dancing styles from Kathak to Salsa or Jive, Music Journalism/E-journalism [where you need to have good writing skills].

There are many schools and institutions which offer training in music like Music Departments in various known Universities, autonomous bodies like Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, Prayag Sangeet Samiti and Bhatkhande University etc. Make sure to check the course schedule before enrolling.

 

Music Therapy – How Music Works As a Catalyst to Promote Health and Wellness

“If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again! It had a dying fall:
O, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odor!……”

Thus starts the Act 1, Scene 1 of Shakespeare’s romantic comedy “Twelfth Night”, with the love-struck Duke Orsino ordering his musicians at his palace to feed him with music all the night, as he desires to have the sweet strains feed his appetite for romance. The bard makes him describe the music played as an energizing “food of love”, and in the following lines makes him pour forth sweet words of passion, all of which originate from the tranquilizing effects of the music being played.

Centuries before, while this play had been staged, and even epochs later, the cultivation of music and the arts used to be perceived merely as aesthetic pursuits, entertaining and relaxing the mind and the soul and also connecting the performers with people at large. Today, while numerous groundbreaking researches have proved that music, as an entity, has a profound effect on the body and the psyche of all living organisms, that which was perceived only as an aesthetic pursuit is today regarded as an established therapy to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals of all ages. In fact, quite some time back researches had shown music used as a therapy to not only bring about qualitative changes in humans, but also in animals and plants.

While today’s youth are completely in love with music having beats and rhythms, it is a fact revealed by scientists that these beats have a definite impact on the stimulation of the body of an individual. Let us for once think about the immensely mentally invigorating music like the symphonies of Bach, Beethoven and Mozart! Can anybody ever deny the level of creativity, positive energy, powerful melodies and harmonies they produce that compel the mind and the soul to embark on a journey of powerful emotions and impulses? Any classical form of music, for that matter, has been said to have profound effects on both the body and the psyche of individuals, playing an instrumental role in the healing and harmonizing of the mind, body and spirit. Long accepted as both soother and stimulant, any form of “positive music”, including classical music has been proved to profoundly impact the cognitive abilities, creativity, optimism levels and the overall ‘state of the mind’ of an individual. By the term “positive music”, researchers have actually referred to the kind of music which is usually emotionally and spiritually uplifting, and that which is gifted with beneficial qualities, healing the mind and the body in the process. Apart from the pure classical variety of music, pop songs that are romantic in content, country tunes, and some amount of rhythm and blues (earlier referred to as ‘race music’) with evocative lyrics and tune are considered to be parts of “positive music”. Today’s world music, a vast arena of music dedicated to the great non-western traditions of music, including Indian, Chinese, Persian (Iranian) and Sufi forms-comfortably fall into the category of “positive music” as defined by scholars and exponents of music.

What the ancient cultures, including the Vedanta philosophy, the ancient Greek philosophy had to say about the effects of music on an individual:

If we look back into the history of ancient, age-old philosophies and cultures, the extent of philosophical, spiritual impact that music was said to have on the human soul would become obvious to us. Ancient historians have come up with the fact that for thousands of years, the Vedic culture had used the profound sound effects of music not only for the tranquility of the mind, but also for the proper balance and equilibrium between the body and the soul, for encouraging a heightened state of awareness in humans, and even for health enhancement and promotion of healing. It had been believed by the unique Vedanta philosophers that ancient oriental music, in its true nature, was an enriched exercise of the human mind in its path of exploration into the mysteries of Nature and of Ultimate Truth (the “Brahman”). It was ages and thousands of centuries ago that in the ancient Vedanta philosophy, music had been considered as a subtle divine thread capable of linking the “Jeevatma” (individual soul) with the “Parmatma” (Supreme Soul). And why not, when the Vedanta philosophers had identified “shabda” (sound) as “brahma” (absolute reality), the primeval source of creation of the universe? This ancient concept of the “shabda-brahma” had been embraced in its entirety by ancient Vedic philosophers to understand the beauty, depth and elevating powers of ancient Indian music. On the other hand, the myriad effects that the various “raagas” of classical Indian music that inspire the human mind and rejuvenate the senses are quite undisputed till today. Saying this, it is imperative why the ancient spiritual music form (termed as the “Dhrupad”) performed in the temples and the courts from the ancient to the medieval times was connected to its spiritual roots and also why even contemporary researches still try to delve deep into its magical prowess on the human body and soul.

On the other hand, researchers have found out that in ancient Greece, the legendary mathematician Pythagoras theorized that music had the power to diminish and even eradicate negative energies and emotions from the human mind. Other ancient Greek philosophers had full faith in the ethical powers of music, including philosophers from around the fifth century B.C. to around third century A.D. Most of them recognized the immense impact of music on the development of one’s personality. The stupendous power of music over the ethos of an individual, and on the overall human disposition has been time and again emphasized by philosophers like Plato and also by Chinese authors of various documents.