Wednesday 31 July 2013

MUSIC EDUCATION @ Our Fingertips

This post under The Idea Caravan is about how a young Musician, Usman Riaz, has learnt to play Musical Instruments with the help of the Internet. Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012 Music Education benefits from the Internet. 

In the Mahabharata, Eklavya trained himself to be the best archer; just by having a statue of Guru Dronacharya by his side as he diligently practiced! Later, even his ‘teacher’ was astounded when he discovered his amazing skills! Eklavya gave due credit to his teacher. Feeling insecure, Guru Dronacharya felt free to demand Ekalavya’s right hand’s thumb as Guru Dakshina (Teacher’s due) so that as per his promise, his favorite student, Arjuna, would continue to be the best archer 

Here, the Internet is Usman Riaz’s Music-Teacher! However, unlike the Mahabharata Story, the advantage with the Internet as the Teacher is that it would never permanently demand a body part and de-thumb us! All it needs is- Power/Electricity, a Laptop/Smartphone with Internet Subscription and a good download speed!

Usman’s video struck an immediate ‘Chord’ with me! First, it is about Music and I simply love Music! Second, ‘Music Education’ was my idea that was shortlisted from thousands of entries and earned the honour amongst the Top-4 entries that won the "AMD Future Is Me Contest" conducted during 2011-12


My Music Education Video-


Usman Riaz has Music in his genes thanks to his illustrious Family’s Music & Arts background. His parents recognized his aptitude for Music and encouraged him to learn. However, as the facilities were limited in his country, Pakistan, with poor availability of suitable teachers, Usman adopted the Internet as his Teacher. He learnt his Music lessons from YouTube videos serving as his Guides. He watched hundreds of YouTube videos. He played Videos, paused and replayed those several times to learn Music. 


Usman learnt to play Musical Instruments like the Guitar. He noticed the finger positioning and learnt by playing and pausing and replaying the videos, while imitating the same moves with his instrument. Usman has taught himself how to play many different instruments like the Mandolin, Harmonica, Piano etc. Usman is at ease with Body Percussion and has even applied the combination of all his learnings to direct a Music Video Film! That Usman is a budding Musician in his own right proves that the Internet is a great Teacher!


Usman rightly feels - Acquiring knowledge & sharing ideas can lead to many wonderful things… 

The musical journey of Usman has catapulted him to International Cultural & Musical Exchange Tours. These facilitate brilliant ideas exchange and learning that betters the talents. Usman is grateful for the incredible experience to interact and perform with Musicians all over the World. The Internet sure has opened a whole new world of possibilities for this promising young man.

Advantages of Using the Internet for Music Education

 The Internet makes us to ‘feel at home’ while learning world music at home at any part of the globe! Smart cost-effective music-classes without any barriers through mobile-phones & computers enable interested students to learn music without leaving their homes. We save resources in learning to sing & play instruments at our time & pace from experts without any constraints.

Extensive Music-training/coaching lessons/guides are available by accessing videos through cell-phones now. Learning to play instruments & to sing e.g. Western Classical music or Indian Classical Raagas, will be at our time & pace at home. Presently, it is cumbersome to attend classes at the other end of the city while taking care of day-to-day commitments. Also, good-teachers are either not available or one spends much higher time, effort & resources in accessing/affording them.


Target Audience

Music Education has a huge target audience with music-lovers of all ages & nationalities. They may be at different stages of Learning; with basic learners who are starting out or some are at advanced levels. All get quality affordable music education & lessons from the best teachers worldwide; without any location, time or resource constraints. Anyone can learn to play music instruments. Also, they may choose to learn to sing whatever form interests them.




With the Internet & 3G-mobile telephony becoming an integral part of our lives, smart music-classes are possible with better quality-mobile-phone-handsets that support 3G & 4G and better download speeds & uninterrupted Internet access.

Aspiring singers & musical-instrument-learners get to exercise their vocal-chords & learn to play instruments. We can learn any music starting from scratch- Opera-style-singing, pop-songs, Bhajans etc. The students just repeat after the videos & learn music!
For musical instruments, learner has to keep her instrument ready before joining in for the lessons. Learners can also take the help of audio-visual instructions and play through video-conferencing software like Skype & Internet MIDI. There can be private-teacher student music-lessons, teacher-directed group lessons, student-led peer-to-peer forums & video posting & sharing in 'Gallery' that can be viewed by all (viz. music-directors).


Market Impact

Talented pop-star Justin Beiber was ‘discovered’ as his mother posted his Videos on YouTube.

Music Education can give promising artists scope for employment/public-performance. Further, there's an incentive for the best students to be selected by experts for a face-to-face interaction, training or live-concert. After learning, students can create own music, copyright & earn royalty.


Environment Impact

This music-education is environmental-friendly too as we save resources- time, effort, money & fuel commuting from one part (of the city or globe) to another to learn music! No vehicles or passports are required to travel for Music Education!


Usman Riaz’s hard-work, sincere learning by observation and disciplined practical experience thanks to the Internet has proved to be the key to the treasure-house of knowledge & information at his finger-tips…


Like Usman, we too can adopt the Internet as our Friend and Guide, who’s available 24X7 by our side! Mastery of Music and Musical instruments requires the learning spirit, enthusiasm and interest, ‘riyaz’ i.e. practice and talent. Lucky are those who seek, find and respect the best Lessons and Teachers as Guides. 

Best wishes to Usman Riaz for a great future. 


A ‘Note’ for other aspirants- ‘Seek and you shall Find…’ 

Dhoondne par Bhagwaan bhi mil jaate hain’ i.e. If you search, then you can find even God! 


With that positive ‘Note’ and the ‘Song’ of belief and hope on our lips,

Let’s ‘Tune’ in to the wealth of ‘Music’ Education at our Fingertips!


I loved to share my views about Music Education thanks to & Franklin Templeton Investments. Please do let me know what you feel...

Sunday 28 July 2013

And I Earned my Seat

Indian Bloggers

Tring- Tring, the phone rang…!

I woke up from my reverie! These days I don't know what I am up to. Am I awake or dreaming? I pinched myself! Ouch! Jolted to reality! People say I am like Alice in Wonderland, lost in my own world...! I often get lost there! "There I go again...", I thought! "Enough of thinking! Get the phone, Honey!" The phone was still ringing. I muttered a prayer & gratefully rushed to pick the phone!...

A rich and extremely famous voice greeted me- "Hello!" and introduced himself. It was Amitabh Bachchan's recorded message! Boy! Was I excited! Ah! So, I had finally got the all-important call from the immensely popular TV-Quiz Show- Kaun Banega Crorepati i.e. KBC...after all these years of trying like crazy! 

Suddenly, all my effort in the past decade flashed in front of my eyes! The registration ills have always given me the chills! I have been registering for all the questions from multiple phone numbers to enhance my chances to win! And not to mention the hours of burning the midnight-oil patiently registering for hundreds of times! Also sifting through the pages of the General Knowledge books! Strongly believing that my turn will come & someday even I will occupy the Seat! I felt relieved that I hadn't really blown up the fortune on the phone bills! Here is the prize, the rich outcome! 


For the first time, after more than a decade of trying, I had cleared ALL the rounds mandatory to earn a place on the show. I had made it to the Final Shoot in Mumbai!  Yes! Yippee! I would now occupy the famous 'Hot-Seat' & get to meet & greet & touch the feet of this 'Century's Superstar'! I imagined winning the Jackpot!


At this victorious moment, I remembered my grandparents and my Mom who had always wished me & blessed me for this day. They had waited and prayed... and waited and prayed...just to see me getting a call from KBC and then winning BIG on TV! 


Why had God answered our prayers so late? I cursed my luck that why didn't I get the call just some months ago...before they left for their heavenly abode... I consoled myself saying my Guardian-Angels will proudly watch me win from wherever they are...  


"Time to plan!", I instructed my brain urgently! "What will I wear for the show? Saree or Salwar-Suit? Which Colour? Which one?! What gift should I take for Mr.Bachchan?..."So many questions queued up happily. I put the "House-Full" board on my mind's door! The entire experience had made me feel so tired! I felt as if I had slogged for years and that now that I had been gifted the golden fruit, I might as well safe-keep it and relax! I had to catch up with my sleep first to think rationally! 

Tring- Tring, the phone rang…!

I woke up from my reverie! These days I don't know what I am up to. Am I awake or dreaming? I pinched myself! Ouch! Jolted to reality! People say I am like Alice in Wonderland, lost in my own world...! "There I go again...", I thought! "Enough of thinking! Get the phone, Honey!" The phone was still ringing. I muttered a prayer & gratefully rushed to pick the phone!...

A rich and extremely famous voice greeted me- "Hello!" and introduced himself. It was Amitabh Bachchan's recorded message! Boy! Was I excited! Ah! So, I had finally got the all-important call from the immensely popular TV-Quiz Show- Kaun Banega Crorepati i.e. KBC...after all these years of trying like crazy!  

I had made it to the Final Shoot in Mumbai finally! 

I felt tears of joy streaming down my face happily. 

My dream & that of my parents and grandparents had really turned into reality!

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda . 
Please do share your thoughts on this. Thank you so much!

Saturday 27 July 2013


There was a Twitter contest organized by a leading media channel for its show hosted by a world-famous Director. When the question- ‘Who do you consider India’s Best Pradhanmantri (Prime Minister/PM) and why’, was asked, I conducted a quick poll in my family and found diverse answers! Everyone has a unique choice of PM and reasons to support! My Dad’s choice and supporting reasons for- Lal Bahadur Shastri, the second Prime Minister of India, sounded very convincing. Special mention to my hubby’s choice- Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, our first PM. I researched and read about all the PMs voted by my family-members to arrive at my own conclusion. It was an enriching experience to learn more about our illustrious PMs and their notable achievements. 

This post has my random views about why I consider Lal Bahadur Shastri as the Best Indian Pradhanmantri. I had posted it in separate tweets as my entries for the same contest. I put in a lot of thought, effort & time & got pretty creative & instantaneously composed tweets on-the-spot that rhymed! Yet, I was not ‘lucky’ to win one of the five smartphones on offer as prize! I believe in the quote ‘The harder you work, the luckier you get’. But, such lucky contests prove otherwise! However, though my creativity found no mention, I still have my dedicated tweets as expression! Proud that India boasts of great leaders like Lal Bahadur Shastri. Hope and pray that may his tribe increase quickly!

With unflinching faith, hope, resolve, support, dedication, perseverance, adaptability,
Honesty, integrity, determination, strength of character, ethics, morality, ability,
Shastri painted hope & victory rainbows in the sky; Solved challenges for India's flag to fly high!
Owned moral responsibility, had rare probity; Lofty ideals, vision, & integrity!
Stepping in during adversity & making India & Indians strong in every village & city.
Post Pt.Nehru, handled India efficiently, Post China-War defeat, lifted morale effectively.

Strongly voiced India's concerns successfully; Stepped into PM's Shoes effortlessly…
India’s exceptionally honest statesman- Clean reputation, keen vision & focus on plan...
Victory-believer, premier compromiser, conciliator, negotiator, coordinator, challenge-solver
Humility but fortitude; Charting Victory in feud; Head & heart forever India-glued...
Kept politics & religious faith separately; Gave hope & leadership during uncertainty, ably.
Proudly sported Indian spirit great; People of all religions important; politics is separate!

An honest visionary with great zeal; He was like the best medicine for India's wounds to heal.
Smoothly took over programs& policies; Made India strong in reality, explored possibilities.
Staunch supporter of Unity in Diversity, Inspired Indians to set aside partisan loyalties...
A leader who raised India's collective positive outlook, Lived up to high values in his book.
His motivating Speeches stirred d country; Upheld India's peace, freedom & sovereignty.
Forward looking great man! ‘Export pessimism' not in plan! Exporting products began!

Agriculture's Solution- Supervised Indian Council of Agricultural Research re-organization
With foresight, made experts head institutions; with focus, suggested great solutions.
Steered India out of defeat & stressed on Unity; Agriculture,defence,exports,stability.
Ably shouldered responsibility with tact; Upheld India's pride, prestige & self-respect
True patriot- slogan Jai Hindustan Hailed India as a whole; also Jai Jawan Jai Kisan!
Upheld our Country's pride & respect; Victory in War had the positive effect!

Shared his ideals, hopes & aspirations; Made lasting impression & instant connection!
A socialist, he was open for India's progress, Wanted the best for Indian Economy; nothing less
Stepped in at such a difficult juncture; did everything to raise India's stature
Had India's best interests at heart; played the perfect India-loving PM's part...
Patronised India's food production Hailed our farmers & ushered Green revolution
Promotion of White Revolution- Amul & National Dairy Development Board creation

Exemplary ethics & socialist economic policies; Central planning & industries.
Calmed riots in our nation; Retained English in 1965 Madras antiHindi agitation.
For wise solutions for all problems; approaching uncommon issues with commonsense
For Smoothly maintaining good relations, Peace & friendship with all nations...
For showing the straight way to freedom Clearly building up democracy at home...
For smoothly stepping in Pt.Nehru's shoes, Giving hope & leadership & driving away blues.

Worked at the grassroots level & helped everyone; Uplifted the masses including Harijans.
Captured the imagination of our nation With fiery speeches, plans & heartfelt action...
Set high values & ideals & followed them- His Actions shine like a brilliant gem!
Stalwart who rose above barriers of caste; Dropped his surname, upheld Secularity mast!
Practised what he preached; Made sure that Indian boundaries weren't breached...
Lived up to his ideals & values True role-model for India, inspired all with his views...

His slogan - "Jai Jawan Jai Kisan"- hailed Soldiers & Farmers & united every Indian!
Able leadership during uncertainty, Inspired all with his exemplary honesty...
During hopeless times, he painted hope; his able leadership gave courage to cope...
During tough times, took over the reins; Stamped Victory & wiped away pains...
For his amazing uprightness & honesty, For his awesome inspiration & probity
For giving Indians courage; Catapulting India on World's Stage! Writing d Victory page...

Solved challenges & adopted tough stand; made neighbours understand that India is grand!
The hero who charted new roads; & won over all, being respected at home & even abroad...
Showed our country direction, implemented his exemplary vision with able execution.
He focused on the social good, concentrating on policies like exports, defence & food...
He painted rainbows of victory in our sky & kept our flag flying high!
Had India's best interests in the mind & heart, played a great tough & capable PM's part!

When the going was tough with no smile; his tough measures ensured India got going in style!
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