Creative tunes bridge gaps

A student-run group propagates positive effects of Western classical music in the city schools

Creative tunes bridge gaps

When Vandinika Shukla, a final year student of BA (history) at Lady Shri Ram College (LSR) for Women, attended an orchestra concert in Vienna in 2008, she felt an urge to be on the other side of the crowd and not remain merely a part of audience.

After five years of rigorous training in piano, she – along with her music group Ensemble – has grown as not only a performer, but an activist of sorts.

What, however, sets Ensemble and its founder Vandinika apart from other music afficionados is the fact that the group pursues its love for music like an activism by spreading the good word about Western classical music among Delhi’s youth.
“When you actively listen to music, you will find a lot of hidden meaning in it and I felt the need to channelise it because of which, we started Ensemble this January to reach out to the city schools,” says Vandinika.

So far, the group has held a workshop in Sanskriti School, Chanakyapuri and others are lined up in other city schools where Ensemble members – Vrinda Mathur, Aditeya Shukla and others interact with the students. If you ask Vandinika about her interest in music, she will attribute shaping of her personality to her association with piano for the past six-seven years. “I have been learning piano since I was 12. It made me a better person,” she says with oodles of confidence.

To substantiate, she quotes studies conducted at leading international universities such as at Cambridge and Stanford and the 1997 bestselling book “Mozart’s Effect” by Don Campbell to prove that continuous engagement with music makes you smarter and helps improve memory concentration, critical thinking, emotional intelligence and communication skills.

On Friday and Saturday, the group will hold an opera workshop in Connaught Place for the same purpose. Ensemble members are quite excited about the upcoming workshop especially after the joyous experience they had at Sanskriti School. “There were around 20-25 students. Most of them were already aware of the Western classical music. They were in sync with what we showed them. Though we didn’t perform before them, we did share a set of audios and videos with them,” says Vrinda Mathur, a product designer by profession and a member.

For these experiences and many more, they regularly meet musicians, artistes and aspiring musicians to bridge the gap between those “who have made it big” in the world of music and those “who want to”.

When kids do such meaningful activism, even parents don’t complain. Dr Ashima Shukla, a psychologist and Vandinika’s mother, likes the fact her kids are more disciplined after their engagement with music and she is also an ardent believer of “Mozart’s Effect” and is happy to see that her girl has become smarter since she took to music six years ago.

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