Kidding around with music
A western classical music concert is to showcase 16 of the brightest young talents from the country, with the oldest performers in their teens
How does learning music help in a child's evolution as a human being? What are some of the qualities that the kid picks up? Fourteen-year-old pianist Navya Mittal tells us, "It has really helped me concentrate and since we have to practise a lot, it has taught me the importance of hard work." Her counterpart Josh Varghese, 13, echoes her. "Music helps you express yourself better. It also aids your concentration and improves hand-eye coordination. That apart, it really boosts your confidence," he adds, while another young pianist, Dhruv Ghoshal, 15, simply feels, "It has helped me relieve stress and add to my list of extracurricular activities."
Those are pertinent points, and all these qualities will be on display at NCPA this week when Mittal, Varghese and Ghoshal take the stage with 13 other children aged seven to 15 for a western music concert named The Budding Brigade. The rest of the performers comprise pianists Avni Benjamin, Malika S D'Cunha, Neel Maheshwari, Shruthi Narayan, Daya Maithri Ravi, Tara Salgia-Patel, Kiara Michelle Soares and Zachary Siqueira Vaz; and violinists Ruchir Sachin Ingale, Gayatri Joglekar, Arav and Arnav Lalsare, and Cayla Rodrigues. They have all been handpicked from across the country after their teachers recommended their names once The Stop-Gaps Cultural Academy, which is organising the event, sent out a call for applications. And they will each perform a 10-minute solo set with their instruments that will involve numbers by classical legends like Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Schubert.
Alfred D'Souza of Stop-Gaps tells us, "We started a series called The Young Talents Concert 30 years ago for people who had reached a certain level in their musical education. The reason is that we had discovered that young performers have really few platforms that help them go forward. So it's a big thing when they perform at a prestigious venue, and The Budding Brigade Concert is an extension of our desire to encourage children to take their musical aspirations further."
D'Souza also agrees that the qualities the three young pianists listed out all hold true. He says that children get to appreciate the finer things in life through music. The arts give kids a sense of grounding. And when it comes to western classical music specifically, he feels, "It lays the basic foundation for other forms of music. The basis of what you learn doesn't change, but then you can use it to improvise in a genre like jazz, for instance."
Navya Mittal at her piano
In that sense, this gig is meant to be a shot in the arm for the musical aspirations of the youngsters. Varghese says, "I hope this concert helps me get rid of pre-show nerves, because I feel quite tense before any concert starts," while Ghoshal adds, "It's a really prestigious event and simply getting a certificate would be worth it, I feel." Mittal, meanwhile, just "hopes to play well," but D'Souza explains things further when he says, "The first thing is that the children go back with a huge feeling of pride, and the other thing is that they are given certificates that say that they have performed at this venue. That's a big factor because these will hold them in good stead when they apply to universities or conservatories abroad."
Josh Varghese with his instrument
D'Souza is assuming, then, that some of these young musicians will fly the nest. But the larger picture is encouraging because it conveys that the talent on display, thanks to such platforms, assures us of a growing talent pool for western classical music in India.
On: August 8, 6.30 pm
At: Godrej Dance Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point.
Entry: Rs 200
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