Learning classical music since the age of nine, first under Geeta Hegde in Bangalore and then as a scholar at ITC Sangeet Research Academy under the tutelage of Pandit Ulhas Kashalkar, classical vocalist Anagha Bhats feels that while any performing artist is bound to miss the live experience in terms of audience feedback and interaction, the lockdowns have also meant more time to practice and contemplate. “The move to a digital world has democratized the performing scene. Although finding means to monetize amidst all this has been a challenge.”
The vocalist feels that the process of how organizations discover and present newcomers in the classical space should become more transparent and inclusive. “My journey has been incredible, and there has been much learning from my gurus, who have been a source of constant strength, apart from support from my family,” says Bhat, who has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science Engineering and a Master’s in Hindustani Vocal Music.
Stressing that the government and corporate sector must come forward for the arts, she says that many more talented youngsters would like to pursue classical music seriously if given the right platforms and support in form of scholarships and fellowships.
“Funding their training from senior gurus, creating infrastructure, opportunities and the ecosystem for its distribution and consumption. This needs as much push and encouragement as it is for sports. Sports-persons are backed well to practice, train and hone their skills The same needs to be the case for artists. Considering Indian classical music tradition is so rich, and a science in itself, it needs to be represented on a global stage, like Yoga. All of this will have to be done through an open channel, accessible to all and not just a niche community.”
Bhat, who was recently part of HCL’s ‘Baithak’ feels more companies need to come forward and emulate what it is doing.
Adding that classical music promotes general well-being and exposure to music and its appreciation should be one of the key focus areas for all stakeholders in the education fraternity, she feels it would also help create a larger audience. “Indian classical music at the very core is elevating and not limited to it being entertaining. It’s an acquired taste that grows over time and hence advantageous if cultivated from an early age,” says the vocalist, who is keen on pursuing research in Music cognition.
For someone who believes that Indian classical music is best learnt from a guru, Bhat adds, “Modern institutions can complement such learning but not substitute it. Learning from the guru and making the right use of technology would be the best way to go.”