Hindustani Vocal by Chinmayee Athale at CSMEMS Kasrwadi Pune

The sixth Baithak concert at CSMEMS featured vocal classical music for the first time in the school. Chinmayee Athale, a promising young musician honoured Baithak’s request to perform for the children. This concert was the culmination of year long efforts taken by the Foundation and by all the CSMEMS teachers to integrate good music in the daily school hours. This included integrating music with the regular syllabus as well as conducting weekly music classes for grades 3 and 4. As compared to the first concert which happened a year ago, this concert witnessed a remarkable change in children’s behaviour in the concert hall, as well as in their approach towards such concerts.

When children lined up, came in the hall and settled down, no announcement was needed to remind them to sit quietly. Almost every student remembered the guidelines. Many of them were intently observing the artists tune their instruments. Chinmayee started the concert after a brief introduction about what she would be presenting today. Chinmayee conversed with the children affectionately. She performed three elaborate compositions in Raag NatBhairaw, and concluded with a bhajan written by saint Kabir. Leeladhar and Abhijeet, her accompanists, were in tune with her singing, and together they weaved a beautiful musical dialogue.

Questions and appreciation came in from all directions as soon as the session was opened for interaction. Many children wanted to play the Taanpura. Quite a few insisted on trying the Harmonium and Tabla. Children had questions about Chinmayee’s Guru, for how long was she learning, how did she end up focusing on music full time, etc. It was great to see many children shoot up their hands and tell, “No, no! It is not a Sitar! It is a Taanpura”. The last concert of the current academic year at CSMEMS was most definitely a proof of the importance of integrating music as well as other traditional art forms in the daily lives of children, and persistently exposing them to various art forms and experiences.

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