Performance Sans Formality

By Dr. Ragini Trivedi




Recently I came across UGC model curriculum for Performing Arts. UGC has formed a Curriculum Development Committee for reframing / updating the curricula for the subjects:

under the panel – History of Art and Fine Arts.

After studying carefully the syllabi of north Indian classical form of music I would like to raise my sincere protest against the approach of the committee. It seems that panel is trying to stress that from now on Universities and colleges ought to produce and create performers since it has failed to do so in past. I would like to quote this line from syllabus page 18 under the title ‘note on music.’ The whole curriculum of Performing Arts appears to have been designed by people who evince little value for the academic nature of the subject. Giving space to this very statement shows how capriciously misinformed they are. I have raised this issue on the first place because this very presumption has caused the whole idea of reframing and updating curriculum. Not a single University or Institution can claim that their institutions has mass produced or created poets, sculptors, connoisseurs, literary scholars or artistes. To practice the theory or practical aspect of a discipline is a matter of choice where one does not demean the other. The sole objective of Universities should always be to provide adequate infrastructure and genial atmosphere for research and current information so that even performers professionals may interact with academics and scholars to supplement and enhance their knowledge and focus upon subtle areas of the discipline.

Banaras Hindu University in 60s had already introduced post PG course that was actually a professional course specially designed to prepare performers. This professional course was called Doctor of Music in Composition and Performance. In this course students had to undergo a rigorous training with open discussions debates and analytical lectures followed by several public performances. The D.Mus. scholar was considered to be a growing artiste. On his being declared successful he was considered to be a full fledged performer. As far as I know BHU has produced many top artistes:

All of the above and the present panelists of UGC from BHU Dr. M.R. Goutam, were both – teachers as well as world class performers. Most of them were in true sense academicians who had greater knowledge of theory and vying tendency to explore and ascertain the new authentic theories through scientific approach. The BHU Music faculty students like Dr.Laxmi Ganesh Tewari, Dr. Indrani Chakrawarty, Dr.Patrick Moutal, Shri OmPrakash Chaurasia, Shri Rangeele Thakur are but few of the alumni who are holding top positions in the country and abroad.

Even if we try to list briefly there are ample examples of academicians who proved their competence both as performer and teacher. Listed below are a few musicians who were the creators and promoters of institutional music system:

Several of household names of Indian classical performers like Shubha Mudgal, Veena Sahasrabudhhe, Manju Mehta are all products of institution.

Natural talent is mere form; it is the institution that gives the content.

Historic preservation documentation and rigorous evaluation is the arduous task of scholars that finds expression through the performer. But when enchanted by the rising thrust of commercialism and populism the academic centers decide to compete with street and stage performers learning and knowledge are certain to suffer.


References :

Other articles by Dr. Ragini Trivedi

Role of Institutions in Distance Music Education

Ideal Objectives And Music Syllabi

...Shall Ever The Twain Meet?

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