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Mehli Mehta Music Foundation (MMMF)
If there’s one institute that really knows its western classical music and how to teach it, it’s the Mehli Mehta Music Foundation (MMMF). Ever since its inception in 1995, the not-for-profit organisation has been hosting concerts and conducting music education programmes for children. At the MMMF children from the ages of one year can start with the Discover Music for Toddlers and Parents programme. This exciting class for up to six year olds is conducted by teachers who have trained under UK’s finest early years’ music specialist Naheed Cruickshank. For older children, there are the Singing Tree choirs that teach voice exercises and singing or the Instrument Classes. Music students are required to partake in choir, string ensemble and theory classes.
The Stop-Gaps Cultural Academy
The Stop-Gaps Choral Ensemble is a recognized name across the globe. Under the direction of its conductor Mr. Alfred J. D’Souza, the Academy was formed in 1984. This cultural academy promotes music, dance and drama. Through the medium of song this group has effectively broken down religious, economic and social barriers. The group has tied up with partners such as the National Centre for the Performing Arts to create platforms like Young Talent series and the popular Festival of Festive Music. The Stop-Gaps Junior Choral Ensemble is for children 5 years to 15 years. Class is held at St. Joseph’s Convent School in Bandra every Sunday morning. Sessions cover classical techniques and fun songs along with pronunciation, breathing techniques, jaw exercises, tongue exercises, moving to music while singing and reading aloud. The Junior Ensemble performs at two concerts in the year and at charity events too. While the choral training is a group class, Mr. D’Souza also offers solo vocal training for children at his venue in Chembur.
The Gleehive is a children’s choir started by a former violinist and piano teacher Mrs. Celeste Cordo. Under the guidance of Dawn Cordo a professional in the music industry who has studied music education at Berklee College of Music, this choral program explores different approaches to education. The focus at The Gleehive includes understanding musical concepts, ear training, basic vocal training and exploring different genres and forms of music. Children learn group dynamics and imbibe an all round musical education. Children from 8 years to 15 years are accepted into the courses organised into three age groups conducted at venues in Bandra, South Mumbai and Borivali. The choir performs on request at various events in the city.
Western Classical Music at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA)
Through the year NCPA brings the best musicians and performances in terms of western classical music to the city. This centre has continuously been a torchbearer for western classical music and has created several initiatives for the promotion of music in the country. Their teaching and training programs aim at introducing and inculcating the love for music in young adults. They also promote music education for children in the form of music workshops, music concerts featuring young musicians and more.
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Theme Music School
Western classical vocal training is offered at the music Institute of Theme Music School for children 6+ years. Experienced teachers take the students through the various levels from beginner to advanced with courses that are structured to suit the student. The course components include vocal technique, diction and pronunciation, phrasing, dynamics, posture and breathing exercises. They offer group classes as well as solo classes. Students can appear for international practical and theory exams.
Psalms School of Music
Western classical singing training is available at Psalms School of Music for children 5+ years. Students are taught to sing in various parts based on their unique voice which could be Soprano, Alto, Tenor or Bass. At the classes children learn breathing techniques, respiration, phonation, resonation, articulation, etc along with different styles of singing like Staccato, Legato, Acapella, Humming, group singing and more. This centre also offers training in Indian classical vocals that places emphasis on improvisation.
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Shankar Mahadevan Academy
Shankar Mahadevan Academy’s mission is to bring the ‘Joy of Music’ to the world and towards that end it presents the Grow With Music program for children 4 years to 6 years. This program teaches music using appealing formats that will inspire learning in children. The course is a foundation before branching into classical disciplines and unravels musical elements like beat, patterns, pitch, notes and dynamics. After the 12 week course, participants develop a strong foundation and appreciation in music. They also develop cognitive skills and lateral thinking abilities, learn about musical elements, garner leadership skills and confidence and are exposed to diverse genres of world music.
True School of Music
The True School’s Foundation: Learn Hindustani Vocals workshop is designed to teach students traditional Indian music and singing. The course is conducted in association with The Shankar Mahadevan Academy and classes for children are on Saturdays. The course duration is twelve weeks to include ten lessons, one rehearsal and one performance. The live classes with experienced and trained teachers offer a highly structured curriculum that provides a clear path of progression. Students are given a grade and certificate at the end of the course.
The Fine Arts Society
At this well known institution, children 4+ years are offered a nine year course in Carnatic music and a seven year course in Hindustani music affiliated to the Akhil Bharatiya Gandharva Maha Vidyalaya. Classes for all disciplines are held twice a week at timings that suit the convenience of the students and teachers. Students are encouraged to appear for exams and competitions.
Little Ustaads specialises in introducing toddlers and children 6 months to 5 years to Indian classical music and dance. At the 45 minute class the young learners and their parents discover and appreciate Indian classical music through rhythmic tunes, rich vocals, mini instruments and visuals. While this class is not just for vocal training it does provide a basic foundation for the young ones.
The Sound Space
The Sound Space aims to demystify Indian classical music and make it approachable and understandable by all. Towards that end one of their programs is Shadaja. This group singing three to four month long program combines rich traditions of Indian music with the innocence of childhood. The course that introduces children to different forms of Indian classical music provides students glimpses of Indian traditions and culture too. The training culminates in a performance by the children.
Open to all age groups, Gravity Music offers a 1-3 month course in Indian classical vocal training depending on the student’s requirement. The classes cover vocal warm up exercises, ear training, posture, pitch correction, ragas, taals and a lot more. A Gravity Music Certificate is given at the end of every four modules. The instructor is a postgraduate in music and has been trained in classical and semi classical music from Banaras Gharana and Kirana Gharana. This course aims to provide students the tools, knowledge and inspiration to be leaders in music performance and education.
Ajivasan earlier known as Vasant Sangeet Niketan was founded in 1932 in Srinagar by Acharya Jialal Vasant. The institute was named Suresh Wadkar’s Ajivasan Music Academy after the demise of the guru by his daughter Prem Vasant and his disciple Suresh Wadkar. One of the popular courses offered by Ajivasan is training in Hindustani Classical Music. Children as young as three years are encouraged to learn music. Strong traditions such as Guru Shishya Parampara, scientific training in music based on Guruji’s research, and an affiliation to Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Allahabad that enables students to acquire degrees in music all go towards making this academy very popular.
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