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...


  1. I have been thinking of this particular video of the Idea Caravan - how Usman Riaz has learnt Music with the help of the Internet.
    I had submitted this Music Education idea two years ago for the 'AMD Future Is Me' Contest. My Idea ultimately won me the top prize.
    The fact is Usman has implemented Music Education much before that and has actually gained such proficiency, that too at such a young age. Kudos!
    May the Idea Caravan continue!

  2. learn vocal music , but could not at my early age. Now reading this article , a hope in me again rekindled. Thanks Anita for sharing this with us.. Will you also help me know , from where vocal training can be taken !!.. Saying that I also want to tell sitting in front of a Guru is altoghther a different experience that cannot be compared. But yes in the era of Web Revolution, we should use internet in positive direction.. & what better it can be other than Music Learning !!! Kudos!! Arunima Ghosh

    1. Arunima, Thanks a lot for sharing your views.
      The Internet is a great repository of information & is the modern-day GURU!
      A Google-search should provide Music-info.
      YouTube videos are a good option to learn from.
      Great to see your passion for Music!


Your words mean a lot to me.

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