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October - November 2006


Degree in Indian Music in Britain: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (London) and Trinity College of Music join hands - Guru Kul or a Conservatoire!!

Can Indian music be taught on a western conservatoire model? Will the ardent seekers of Indian music have to go to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka to learn? These are challenging questions in the changing times where the world is becoming smaller and the technology is offering opportunities unparallel in the history. Further more, is Indian classical music accessible to all humanity? If so, why should it not be available to people distant from the countries of its origin? Evidence shows that communities are maintaining their traditions with more vigour when dislodged from their original forefather’s home. Interest in Indian Music performance is increasing world over.

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, the centre for Indian art and culture in London, and Trinity College of music are joining hands to create an opportunity to study the performance of Indian music in London. Both the institutions are coming together in a marriage which will help strengthen each other in order to meet this unique challenge. Trinity College Of Music brings its one hundred and twenty five year old tradition of conservatoire teaching and Bhavan its Ghandian principals rooted in antiquity.

Can this new approach to creating performing musicians in Indian music be called a Guru Kul (age old Indian system of student disciple) or a conservatoire? The answer to this would be, neither and both. The designers of the BMus (Hons) in India music have attempted to take the best of both the systems. The Trinity system ensures accountability, planning, quality, transparency and integrity within the public funding system. The Bhavan’s tradition nurtures devotion, humility, sanctity, spirituality and integrity in relationship to one self.

What do we want to achieve? The aim of the course is to develop students into responsible human beings with high level of skills of music performance, teaching, improvisation, composition and other transferable skills. The course aims to create a firm foundation for the students to enhance their own quality of life, responsibility for life long learning, and play a major role in society to enhance the quality of life.

The unique nature of the course is that it is taught within a common framework, where North and South Indian music come together to enrich each other and never lose their own identity. The course also integrates aspects of other contemporary music’s and encourages inter cultural explorations. The course will be predominantly taught at the Bhavan Centre in West Kensington, London. The centre offers the best possible environment for personal learning including personal practise, small group work, stage performances, library and archive.

The common element in both the systems is the one to one contact with the teacher or Guru. This degree positively draws on this and uses this method to ensure the authenticity of the Indian music teaching tradition. The one to one teaching is enhanced by nurturing wider knowledge and experience, gained from a variety of tutors, mentors, musicians, dancers and project leaders. The degree will not only nurture the values of solo musicianship but will also create the ethos of team spirit through ensemble work and projects. Appropriate computer technology will also be encouraged in order to enhance knowledge, understanding, creativity, research, writing skills and communication.

The four year programme is particularly designed for a serious student of Indian music who has been learning North or South India music for a number of years. Gifted musicians of other styles can also be prepared through Bhavan’s diploma and foundation programmes for the degree.

Admission requirements are three GCSEs or ‘O’ levels (including English language) at Grade C or above (or equivalent); Plus two ‘A’ levels or equivalent.

Students will be selected on the basis of audition on principal study instrument or voice, and interview.

Funding for the course can be accessed through the normal channels including education authority funding and or student loan.

Those interested please contact Degree Administrator, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 4a Castletown Road, London W14 9HE, Tel: 020 7381 3086, e-mail:, for further information

Dharambir Singh, Bhavan Academic Manager and Degree Adviser

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