Shaival Thakkar

After living in dry Ahmedabad and hot-tempered Delhi for a long time, I knew that Banglore was the city which would save me. I bumped into information about the Nathaniel School of Music while surfing the Banglore map on Google Earth. So, I came and saw NSM once and met the guitar teacher Varun Murali.

I chatted with him about how I didn’t want to learn to read notations but just wanted to learn  enough music theory to help me crack songs and also help me write some songs of my own. And he said that NSM was the right place for me. After doing the Level 1 guitar course, I agree that NSM was the right place for me to learn music.

I got in-depth knowledge about music theory that I  always wanted and we also learned some contemporary songs in the class. Now I know enough music theory to jam with another guitar player. And when I jammed with my batch mates a couple of times, we were sounding like Guitar Gods! (Or at least that is what we like to imagine!)

I also had enough time on my hand to do another course. And so I did Level 1 Vocals course. Like a lot of people out there,  I always wanted to sing. And that dream came true in Lillian Madam’s classes. Attending her classes was so much fun that it was like one big picnic 🙂 Apart from rigorous vocals exercises, she helped us practice sounds which can be useful in singing songs. Musically we covered a lot of things from different scales like the melodic, the harmonic minor to the blues and pentatonic scales to  styles of singing like acapella and scatting.

We were also taught to sing in different voice registers like the head register, the chest register and the falsetto. We also learned some very helpful warm up exercises for singing and got many tips on what to eat and and other such to-dos in order to improve as singers. Once in a week we would sing a song of our choice acapella style or do its karaoke version. After the song was sung, other students would give feedback about the song and Lillian Madam too showed us the merits and the demerits in the way we sang the song and gave advice for improving the singing.

And to let you in on a little secret, we were always treated to two rounds of home-made coffee and frequently treated to homemade cakes, biscuits and other such goodies. 🙂 And thus our wonderful vocals teacher Lillian Zachariah with her vast knowledge of music, a whole lot of inspiration and with some gastronomic delights helped me and people of my batch become singers or as she likes to put it, she “conned” us into singing! 🙂

After the course work ended, we started rehearsing for our performance which is a part of any course one take’s up at NSM. After a lot of organising on Facebook and a meeting with all the muscians, we agreed on the songs everyone wanted to do. And after a lot of practice and improvements with the help of Varun Murali and  NSM’s director Jason Zachariah, we finally went on stage on 23rd November and gave a mindblowing performance to our long suffering families and friends at Kyra Theatre & Pub.

The chance to perform on stage is a unique experience that NSM offers and it gives one a glimpse of what it takes to be a musician (like the amount of practice required, co-ordination with fellow musicians, and how to play as a band)

So, I recommend NSM to everyone out there who wants to learn music seriously and wants to have lots of fun while doing it!