Taalim Foundation - Examination System for Indian Classical Music
Brief History of Traditional Learning Methods
Indian Classical Music is a vast subject. It is categorized into three branches: vocal, instrumental and dance. In early times, a music student had to go to the guru's residence (known as the gurukul) and reside there as a family member for a minimum period of ten years in order to learn music. During the training period, it was not expected that the student attend grade school or college for general education.
The guru often examined the student's musical advancement and progress using three methods. First, there were informal surprise tests once a week throughout the training period, in which the guru listened to and evaluated the student's performance. Secondly, a monthly concert was organized in the gurukul, in which the student had to prepare a piece to play/sing/dance in front of a small audience. Thirdly, whenever a senior artist visited the gurukul, the student was required to provide vocal/instrumental accompaniment to the artist (or the artist's disciple), or the student was told to perform a solo. The student was under great pressure of performing in the presence of a group of musical experts who would critique him. During such a recital, the student was continuously evaluated orally by his guru and the senior guest artists. In this informal type of exam, if the guru or any senior artist remarked with a "Wah! Kya baat hai!" ("Wow, great!") in response to the student's playing, this comment was equivalent to a "A" grade result. If they commented "Shabaash." ("Very good."), this indicated the equivalent of a "B" grade result. And if they said "Theek hai." ("It is OK."), it meant the student was not yet up to the mark.
In India, this system is still prevalent in several regions of the country, and in general, full-time music students or students growing up in a family of musicians are comfortable with this system. In this case, there are no certificates, no written exams, and less emphasis on theoretical knowledge. However, times have changed. These days, students must pursue their academic studies as well as numerous extracurricular activities, and understandably, it is not possible for music students to reside with the guru and learn in the gurukul. And so, today, our world sees a trend of written and practical exams and certificates, which signify and attest to graduation in the particular musical subject. This has led to the development of a formal examination system, even in our special field of Indian Classical Music. The Taalim Foundation examination system for certified completion of course-work in Indian Classical Music is described below.
The Taalim Foundation Music Examination System
Taalim Foundation has introduced a very successful examination system of Indian Classical Music. This system has been developed by Pt. Divyang Vakil with the help and guidance of numerous senior musicians and academicians of India.
How it works:
The Indian Classical Music examination system is conducted by Taalim Foundation (India), worldwide. The foundation conducts exams from first year to Visharad (graduation level) in vocal, tabla, pakhawaj, sitar, sarod, flute, sarangi, santoor, violin and kathak.
Taalim Foundation respects all musicians and music teachers who work for Indian Classical Music. Private teachers, established schools, universities, colleges and cultural institutes worldwide can register themselves and become members of the Taalim Foundation or any of its approved centers. Upon registration, members will be familiarized with the printed syllabus for the entire six years examination course. Members will follow their own training systems. (On request, Taalim Foundation can suggest text books.) Members will also receive examinations forms and exam fee forms for the students who enroll in this curriculum. The actual written and practical examinations, conducted by Taalim Foundation, will be held every six months during the first two years and yearly during the remaining four years. Taalim Foundation will refund 25% of each student's examination fees to the member institutions as it's share.
Benefits of the Examination System to the Student:
With a clear target in mind, studets will be motivated to complete their music course.
Students will learn not only practical performance, but also theoretical aspects of music.
Student's parents will receive high confidence in their child's music education when they know that their child will be examined and certified by an internationally accepted institution. Because the Taalim Foundation is a registered institute, certificates will be useful and impressive outside of the music field as well, for example when applying for college admission, and as support document for radio and television auditions, visa etc.