Baithak @ Classes at Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj English Medium School, Kasarwadi
An account written by Saumitra Kshirsagar
The first day of school every year is always a mix of excitement and curiosity, especially for young children. New classrooms, new teachers, a sense of growing up – all makes it special. Over 120 students freshly promoted to grades 3 and 4 were in for a musical treat at Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj English Medium School (CSMEMS), Kasarwadi on 18th June 2018, their first day at school for the current academic year (2018-19).
Baithak Foundation had organised a flute concert at CSMEMS, as a part of its initiative – “Baithak @ Classes”. With this concert, Baithak and CSMEMS entered in their second year of partnership. Baithak Foundation believes that exposing children to good music in their formative years will have a lasting impact on them, and thus on the society. When it comes to schools and education, the Foundation also strives to erase the artificial boundaries created by class and community, thus trying to reach to every student through music.
Children were excited to know that there would be a music concert in their school. After the stage was set, teachers queued up students outside their respective classrooms, and assembled in the hall. Saurabh Vartak and Unmesh Banerjee, the artists for the day, presented Raag Bhoop. Saurabh, a young promising flautist, presented a detailed Alaap-Jod-Jhaala in the beginning. Unmesh on the Tabla joined in, for presenting compositions in medium paced Zhaptaal and fast paced Teentaal. The duo engaged in an exciting sawaal-jawaab towards the end of the concert, and students were amused to see the musical conversation between the Flute and the Tabla.
Saurabh patiently explored the nuances of Bhoop, and improvised various themes of the Raag gradually. His alaap was soothing, and taan-s were clear and crisp. Unmesh’s tabla blended well with the flute. Though almost all children were listening to a Flute recital for the first time, Saurabh sincerely maintained the authenticity of the art form and presented a complete Raag end to end.
We elders are often skeptical about the attention span of kids, but students as young as grade 3 attentively listened to the concert for an hour, and the entire credit for this goes to the artists. Saurabh kept the students hooked to the sound, a rarely seen thing in today’s music performances. Post performance, students asked many questions. They were curious to know how flutes are made, their history and the efforts required to learn how to play it. Saurabh patiently answered all questions and motivated them to excel in what they do. All the teachers of the school and a few parents were also present for the concert.
Saurabh and Unmesh said it was a memorable experience for them, and were surprised that students were quiet throughout the concert without anybody monitoring them! We now look forward to many such concerts!