Gone are the days when music was merely considered to be a hobby, or a good way to pass time. Music today is much more than a vocation. It has to have passion and zest. It is very competitive and youthful. And therefore this article has to be young; having the flavour of something new, probably because I am young, my readers will also be young, and it is the youth who make what the present day India is all about – a Young and Dynamic India. Thus foraying into the vast ocean of Music, and especially into Hindustani Music, many young buds like me are likely to be concerned about their careers in this field. With the growth of the entertainment industry, which comprises of all sorts of faculties and organizations, like the film industry, advertisement industry, radio and television industry etc., music has become a highly respectable and lucrative career option. But unfortunately, many of us from a small town like Allahabad are unaware of where music is actually turning to.
Well, in this fast paced age, where everything has converged to the era of “Nano” (I am talking of the latest technology that has zoomed up like a Sapaat Taan of the Gwalior Gharana), I better express my views in a simple, direct, but a comprehensive manner.
First things First – What is Music? Let us first know what Indian music in brief is all about.
“Geetam, vaadyam tatha nrityam, triyam Sangeet muchchyate”, a maxim from the granth – Sangeet Ratnakar by the famous musicologist Sharangdev.
The above maxim says that Indian classical music, which is a school of thought, comprises of three different arts which are:
(a) Vocal, or Singing (the expression of sound vocally like Khayal, Ghazal, Bhajan etc.);
(b)Playing of a musical Instrument (the expression of music through an Instrument like Sitar, Veena, Harmonium etc.) and last but not the least,
(c)Dancing (The expression of music bodily through the art of Dance).
No matter how you express it, these three arts are interdependent on each other. This is true of either the styles, or Paddhatees, in Indian music — the North Indian Music and the Carnatic Music.
The growth of the entertainment Industry has opened many new avenues and vistas for those who want to seriously pursue their love for music professionally.
The field of Music (Singing, Dancing and Playing of Instruments) offers many different kinds of jobs based on a person’s interest and capabilities. Broad categorizations of jobs available in the music industry include –
1. Teaching: One of the most traditional trades in music. Those who prefer a one to one interaction can start their very own music school where they can teach / train other aspiring singers. You can open coaching class for training students for scholarships and competitive exams such as the Sangeet Natak Academy, MHRD, NET, for shows like Sa Re Ga Ma etc., jingles for ad campaigns. This is no doubt a very lucrative career option as well.
Nevertheless I would like to suggest, come out of this and explore some other options as well!
2. Sound Recording: For this you need to be a trained sound engineer, or a trained sound recordist, a combiner or an editor. But for this one must know the latest computer softwares in the market, recording gadgets and should be able to manage the recording instruments and the techniques easily.
Singers too with a good trained voice can sing at recording studios and lend their voices as back up voices etc.
3. Concerts / Performances and Live Shows: A professional singer/instrumentalist/dancer, or a freelancer, has the choice to perform in front of a live audience at concerts and live shows, including marriage parties, birthday parties and can be a religious music impresario for the NRIs looking back to their roots in religious functions etc.
4. DJ’s, VJ’s & RJ’s: Those who are not directly into singing, but enjoy music all the same, can become a DJ (Disc Jockey), RJ (Radio Jockey) and VJ (Video Jockey). All three deal with music. However, what differentiates them is the medium they use to reach the audiences. A VJ presents music on Television like a Music compere for Antakshari type programmes, an RJ presents music on Radio and a DJ presents music at live shows, or Discos.
5. Instrument Repairing / Instrument Manufacturing: This industry has a lot of scope and prospects, particularly in large urban towns. The traditional as well as modern electronic instruments, or instrument substitutes, are spreading their wings and are getting accepted across the world. A career in this focused zone can not be ignored in today’s world.
6. Event Management/ Organizer: You need to be creative and an instictive manager, or a supervisor. One can organize music shows. These days jobs are available for teaching Mehendi and Banna Banni songs for marriages/event management etc. After all, what does SpicMacay do? Or, why to go that far, the music conferences organized by Prayag Sangeet Samiti every year too are an example. Wonder, they may be looking to outsource the management of the event to some one who can deliver.
7. Music Therapists: Examples are plenty where music has been successfully utilized for therapeutic purposes. It has been used even for increasing crop , or milk production. One can setup a clinic in a Spa, like that is done by an aroma therapist or a gemologist etc and cure people and do something for a social cause.
8. Music Composer: This is one of the most creative and innovative field in music where, “You Make Music”. Yes, you will make people tap and rap to your music. This seems to be very interesting but at the same time it has to be an intelligent work done. A music director, or a composer, must know various kinds of music. Suppose, you are given a task to make a track which has the ‘feel’ of Arabic music or Boul geet or Lavani. Did you notice, I said ‘feel of’…, that means it should present the mood of Arabic music (or Boul or Lavani), but at the same time it should not be totally Arabic music.
9. Music Arranger: His job is different than that of the music composer but is not exactly what people think. He has to ‘arrange’ music of a song or background scores. One needs to have a great knowledge of various instruments, sounds etc. and should be able to setup a network of all kinds of music professionals whose services can be harnessed as per need of the Music Director.
10. Orchestration: Remember “Maihar Band” of Ustad Allahuddin Khan! Another one of Zubin Mehta? I can suggest some more names like, Beethoven, Mozart, Hyden etc. All of them created music using various instruments and instrumentalists and created history.
11. Website or Software Designer: I am not joking. If you are a software professional, or a website designer, you can create a music website of your own and also a software and people will admire you.
12. Paper Reading: If you have a good understanding of music, you can write a paper and read it to discerning audiences. That means explain your research or project to an audience. If you know how to use power-point of Ms Office in Windows you can make a power-point presentation and can give lecture using it.
13. Music restorer: This means you can restore music recordings by becoming a music historian, like CDs, Cassettes, Videos, Tapes, books and create you own archive or a library.
14. Music vendor: You can sell music by opening a music shop etc..
15. Others: Go on for music in Hotels, Airlines, Railways, and Army Bands which are fancy and equally professional with fixed salaries. You can drive yourself towards a music Choreographer’s job if interested in dance but again be sure that you must know dancing styles from Kathak to Salsa or Jive, Music Journalism/E-journalism [where you need to have good writing skills].
There are many schools and institutions which offer training in music like Music Departments in various known Universities, autonomous bodies like Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, Prayag Sangeet Samiti and Bhatkhande University etc. Make sure to check the course schedule before enrolling.
Whichever field you choose, if you want to seriously pursue a career in music, you must get professionally trained. Basically there can be nitch marketing concepts and ideas which create job opportunities. A strong professional training will help you to make your space in this highly competitive industry. Make sure to train well for a good number of years to gain confidence and go a long way in your career because music is a performing art where you cannot afford to have a phobia for stage or Manch as we call it. Try to ‘think’ beyond the routine. After all, a major part of our music is based on the simple theory of Khayal. Thus be bold and come forward because you have opted for the most wonderful and creative subject which can never be measured. Believe me!