'Idea of the new Whistling Woods music school is to create a non-film music industry'

  • Nisha Shroff, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Apr 08, 2015 17:45 IST

The Whistling Woods International (WWI) film institute in Goregaon will launch a music school starting in July, with diploma courses in various aspects of music and music production.

Speaking to HT Education, Bollywood director and chairman of WWI, Subhash Ghai, discusses the need for professional music education in India, and what the school aims to offer. (Interested candidates can apply through Whistlingwoods.net)

Tell us about the idea behind the music school.
The idea is to build a structured education that not only allows students to do Bollywood music, but also alternate forms.

The music course will impart essential musical training in melody, rhythm and harmony, drawing from the practices and methodology from India, Europe, the US and world music traditions.

What sets the WWI music school apart?
WWI has had music as a co-curricular subject since the beginning. We have taken that and the traditional gurukul-gharana training concept and merged the two to make a two-year full-time diploma course.

So, there is an individual attention, while still being a structured course. The idea is to not only to elevate film music but to also create a non-film music industry, which has been pretty much eliminated.

In the first year, students will learn the fundamentals of music.

Through the foundation course, students will learn the art, science and commerce of media. After this, they can specialise in singing, composing, an instrument and so on.

How will the course be taught?
Students will be provided with relevant instruments, software and hardware. Our faculty has at least 10 to 15 years of hands-on experience, ensuring that the learning process is relevant and up-to-date. Students will also be required to give background scores for actual short films.

The programme aims to also provide the basic fundamentals of filmmaking, since music directors are directly involved in the process of making films.

What are the challenges of art education in India?
Lack of awareness is the biggest challenge. The general perception is that artists are not professionals. We talk about art and culture but we don’t encourage the profession, which is a great tragedy.

There is a direct correlation with society progress and progress in the arts. For way too long, India has not given any importance to education in the arts. Creative studies are mandatory in Italy, France and Japan. The US has a population of 300 million and they have 1,500 film programmes and 1,50,000 film graduates in a year. In India, with a population of 1.2 billion, we have four film schools and less than 500 graduates. The country needs at least 10 more WWI-sized schools.

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