From The Horse’s Mouth: Pursuing Passion As A Profession – Classical Music

Career In Indian Classical Music – the popularity of classical music in our country is still lacking. Youth is more into the western music. However, there are many young talents who pursue classical music but their promotion is missing.

Last weekend in Mumbai started quite on a blissful and soulful note as the Governor of Maharashtra came to felicitate the classical musicians.  

Amongst all the artists was this very young artist Samrat Pandit.

Samrat is just 30years old and at such a young age he received the prestigious Sangeeta Shiromani Award from the State of Maharashtra at Shanmukhananda Hall that witnessed the music amalgamation in the event ‘Fine Arts & Sangeeta Sabha’ on Saturday, 6th December 2014.

This young maestro received the award for his contribution in Hindustani classical music (north).

Hailing from a music background Samrat Pandit talks about the plight of the classical music scenario in India and gives a reality check about pursuing your passion as your profession.

What is the scope of classical music in India?

Right now, the popularity of classical music in our country is still lacking. Youth is more into the western music. Yes, there are many young talents who pursue classical music but their promotion is missing.

The mainstream media is not doing much to promote classical music properly. Classical music has a stereotype notion of being dull and monotonous.

What do you do differently to make classical music sound interesting?

I belong to the Patiala gharana. I am the 6th generation from my family into music. I have tried to revolutionize the classical performance style.

I have studied that most of the performers or established people have kind of restricted the acceptance of classical music by focussing heavily on khayal, thumris, etc. Of course they are important but I don’t like the idea of deliberately making it a gombhir byapar (serious thing).

The performers make it sound hard but in that process, they are depriving the mass population of the soulful and colourful form of music. I try easier beat cycle that people can connect to easily and that way the youth can connect to this too.

You hail from a music background, your father Late Pandit Jagdish Prasad. Give a little detail of your background.

My father was as we all know a great Hindustani classical vocalist and my mother Sandhya Pandit are my biggest pillars. Music started at a very early age in my life. One thing about my mother that I would like to point out is that even though she came from a common family she always influenced me to pursue my interest. That is very unusual.

You had a background and hence you got the training but do you think classical training is expensive.

(Smiles) Oh it has become a huge business over the years. All established or branded artists have opened some or the other institute. So they are not really physically present to teach the students enrolling in the institutes and classical music training is the most crucial part. Not everyone can impart the knowledge that the select peers have. Lot of students enrolling in big institutes are often demoralized, as the amounts of money they spend on those names aren’t really met with the kind of training received.

The established artists should actually come forward and promote the upcoming talents instead of restricting the knowledge to themselves and making business out of the whole thing.

What do you think can the media do to promote classical artists?

Stop restricting classical artists to only the big brands. I know of lot of talents amongst many youth who do not hail from any background but hey talent doesn’t necessarily has to have a background.

You have any suggestion for such upcoming artists?

Sure there are lot of scholarship opportunities in music that Govt. gives to promote young classical musicians.

Also I would like to suggest them to keep an eye on those music conferences that keep happening. For example ‘Sawai Gandharva Mahotsav’, ‘Doverlane music conference’, etc. they promote lot of upcoming musicians.

Also DD Bharti has this show called ‘Naadbrahma’ wherein the classical musicians from north as well as south get a platform to showcase their talents and the winner also gets a lump sum amount.

Last but not the least I still feel the path should be promoted more and the classical musicians should be supported by media, Govt. and everybody. People who want to pursue this wonderful passion should be able to make it their profession. It is still restricted and more scope of development is needed.

Follow your passion might not really be feasible option for many right now but one day would definitely yield the result. I really hope the scenario changes.

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