“Happy is a man who is living by his Hobby.” – George Bernard Shaw

A Hobby is any regular day-to-day activity that is done by a person for his/her enjoyment  during one’s free time which keeps him/her engrossed in something creative and relaxing. Hobbies are a great stress buster and helps in overall growth of a person.

A hobby is something which anyone can pursue at any age, any time, depending on their interest in that field and the amount of relaxation and enjoyment they gain through that constructive activity. These hobbies provide added advantage to the personality and skills of the person and can be showcased through the résumé during college admission interviews or job interviews in any field.

We, the whole human race are endowed with the gift of  being unique and having a variety of skills and talents in-built in us which takes shape in the form of hobbies as we grow. These talents and hobbies can be honed and sharpened with the right amount of dedication and training. 

When hobbies meet passion and dedication, a happy and successful career can be carved out. The person stands out from the crowd because he/she has followed their dreams and passion through thick and thins.

Parents, teachers or guides should nurture the innate talents and hobbies of the child at the right age and continuously encourage them in every little progress they make to increase their self-confidence and provide them with the right amount of motivation to achieve their dreams and passions.

There are different type of hobbies like Drawing, Painting, Sketching, Photography, Observing the nature, Cooking, Collection of stamps, coins, currencies, pictures, postcards etc., Singing, Dancing, Acting, Calligraphy, Creative writings, Arts and Crafts, playing various instruments, Blogging, reading story books, novels, reading informative books, research, sports, fitness activities, cycling, mountaineering etc. And the list goes on.

Among all these thousands of hobbies and vocational activities, the art of music and singing have always carved a niche of its own around the world and has entertained all the generation of people from a very long time.

Music and singing is one of the most beautiful form of art and a very fine skill. Some people either have innate talent or have the interest in learning the skill, which can be shaped and honed through regular practice and training.

Not everyone has the talent to sing, understanding the work of music and rhythms that add soul to a song. Each and every person has a different talent and skill in them. Those who understand these nuances of rhythms, music and song has the skill, interest and talent and thus, pursue it as a vocational  activity or hobby. Many among these gifted singers pursue music and singing as their career and has been successful in their field.

India is a  wonderful land which has  given birth to varied cultures and heritages and has nurtured talents and skills in every nook and corners of its vast diversity.

Music and the art of Singing has been the base of each and every culture of this great country that has made it stand apart from rest of the countries around the world. Our rich culture has been honoured and respected since time immemorial and has been whole-heartedly accepted and revered by the western culture.

This land has given birth to gems of singers, who, with their single-minded devotion, focus and dedication followed their passion for singing and music. 

One can find a plethora of genres and different forms in Indian music and singing like Classical, Folk, Patriotic, Sufi, Devotional, Bollywood, ballads, Rabindra Sangeet, Nazrul Geeti, Pop and Rock music, Indie-Pop, Indo-western Fusion, Folk and Pop Fusion, Classical and Western Fusion and a lot of such other varieties. There has been tremendous advancements in the development of this art form and culture.

 Our history of this beautiful and soulful art and fine skill dates back to several centuries, generations and beyond which has developed tremendously and is still developing around the whole country to this date. 

There has been extreme influence of cultures, cultural practices and cultural cross-overs on this art form that has given it a different shape in every different states across the country. This has thus, given birth to composition of numerous heart-rending and soul-stirring songs, ballads and ‘raagas’ and their derivatives.

Mythology

According to Hinduism, Goddess Saraswati is known as the goddess of music, art, learning, wisdom and peace.

Whereas in Western culture, according to Greeks and Romans, the Greek god, Apollo is known as the god of Music and other things.

Egyptians consider Hathor as the goddess of music, fertility and many more other things in mythological belief.

Others like Orpheus,Pan, Benzaiten etc., are considered as the mythological proponents of music and singing in various other religious beliefs and customs.

The History of the classical music culture

The Indian music has been broadly divided into Hindustani classical and Carnatic classical which got distinct from each only after 16th century.

Tansen, known as the founder of Hindustani classical, studied music and innovated several musical wonders during the 16th century under the reigns of Gwalior king Ram Chand and Akbar. He is known as one of the greatest classical singing proponent of India. 

The Hindustani classical gave birth to several gharanas or lineages. For example Agra gharana, Gwalior gharana, Kirana gharana, Jaipur- Atrauli gharana, Bishnupur gharana, Thumri gharana etc. This classical system and custom is followed mostly in northern parts of the country.

Some famous exponents of Hindustani classical are- Amir Khusrau, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Jasraj, Bade Ghulam Ali, Kishori Amonkar, Rashid Khan, Shubha Mudgal, Abdul Karim Khan etc.

Whereas in South Indian tradition, Purandara Das is known as the ‘Pitamaha’ (grandfather) of Carnatic music. He was a monk and a staunch devotee of Lord Krishna and thus through his devotional song compositions and unique style gave birth to the ‘Dravidian’ form of this art. 

There is no gharana culture or other divisions in Carnatic music forms and is followed mostly in the southern parts of the country.

Some exponents of Carnatic classical are- M.S. Subbulakshmi, M.D. Ramanathann, Aruna Sairam, Nithyashree Mahadevan, Bombay Jayashree, G.N. Balasubramaniam, K J Yesudas, K.S. Chithra etc.

The Folk Songs of India

The folk music and songs are an inherent part of music culture of India which forms the basis of the varied cultural practices and heritages and has gained recognition and acceptance and soon became popular among the general population from the ancient times. Folk songs and music varies from state to state like the Bihugeet of Assam, Baul of West Bengal, Lavani and Koli of Maharashtra, Naatupura paatu of Tamil Nadu, various folk songs of Punjab, Haryana etc. This defines the richness in the diversity, the intra-cultural and inter-cultural unity among the people of this country that makes it one of a kind in the world.

Some popular exponents are- Kalikaprasad, Haren Mahato, Teejan Bai, Sharda Sinha, Deepali Barthakur, Papon, Lopamudra Mitra, Parvathy Baul, Swaroop Khan, Kollangudi Karuppayee, Rabbi Shergill etc. 

The Modern Musical Marvels and Advancements

The emergence of modern era, western culture, modernity and the Indian culture and folks got intermingled with each other. This amalgamation gave rise to Bollywood songs, pop and rock culture and fusion songs involving folk and classical, folk and modern music, folk and western songs and music and much more. 

Modern songs have introduces the use of guitar, violin, drums, keyboard, saxophone, cello etc. In fusion songs the Indian instruments like sitar, harmonium, tanpura, veena, shehnai, flute, etc., are used along with the modern instruments and nuances of Indian music that makes up beautiful compositions or give a modern form to the already existing songs and music.

Such experimentations have resulted in beautiful renditions and soulful songs and music and has been popular with every generation. 

Some famous Indian singers are- Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi, Asha Bhosle, Mukesh, Manna Dey, Hemanta Mukhopadhyay, Bhupen Hazarika, Geeta Dutta, Shreya Ghosal, Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan, Usha Uthup, Yesudas, Jagjit Singh, Chitra Singh, SP Balasubramanyam, Kumar Sanu, Sonu Nigam, Shaan, Sunidhi Chauhan, Arijit Singh, KK, Anupam Roy, Papon and several others.

Advantages of Singing and Music

There are surprisingly several health benefits associated with singing and music, according to researchers and Scientists.

  • It reduces stress, anxiety and restlessness. 
  • It boosts immunity and strengthens the immune system. Scientific researches have proved that there is an increase in Immunoglobulin A, one of the important immunity proteins essential for  providing immunity to our body.
  • It improves sleep and helps to reduce sleep apnoea and snoring by tightening the throat and palatal muscles.
  • It is a great breathing workout and vocal exercises.
  • It improves posture of the body because singing requires a person to stand or sit straight and hence helps in correcting the spine and the posture.
  • It increases mental alertness and improves memory and concentration which is due to increased flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and stimulates proper function and inhibits early ageing and shrinkage of the brain size.
  • It boosts confidence and widens social recognition among friend circle, family and society.
  • It increases communication skill and inter-personal skill of the person.

Music and Singing – A great career choice

Music and singing can be a great career choice for those who wish to build a professional life out of their interest and passion. It is definitely one of the best career choice which gives them ample of choices, options and opportunities in future in the music industry, film industry and other reputed institutions and organizations.

Career options

  1. One can pursue a career in music industry as lead vocalist, back up singer or as a chorus member.
  2. Lead vocalist for a band or can form their own band and perform at state as well as national and international level.
  3. Music teacher, lecturer or trainer in schools or organization or in any reputed fine art colleges.
  4. A career as a singer for film industry
  5. Music Studio professionals
  6. Professional Show singers or singers for bigger events
  7. Songwriter/ Composer
  8. Lyricist
  9. Music director 
  10. Various national and international projects and concerts.
  11. One can collaborate with different artistes and form an orchestra and perform at different levels to showcase their talent worldwide.
  12. Career in a music production team, concerts and musical tours.
  13. Private music teacher or guide and conduct their private music and singing classes with affiliations to  private musical organizations or government organizations.
  14. Music historian and research and post-doctoral researches and much more.
  15. A singer can get their big break in to the film or music industry through participating in various state level or national contests, programs and competitions.
  16. One can put up tutorial videos or live performances or other musical activities on  YouTube and other singing platforms to showcase their talent and reach out to worldwide population and can have a great career through it.
  17. Music publisher
  18. Music journalist
  19. Music therapist
  20. Owning a music company, label and musical troupes for events and concerts.
  21. Artist management and training

Qualities of a singer

Other than being talented and interested, the person should be continuously dedicated, motivated, optimistic, hard-working, punctual, passionate and should have confidence in himself or herself. They should keep up with their vocal trainings and practice every day without fail and try to improve themselves consistently. They should have the capacity to accept criticism and judgements positively and improvise wherever needed.

Riyaaz (Practice) and Nishtha (faith, devotion and culmination) are the two main key factor towards a successful career that a person must possess to reach greater heights in life.

Trainings and courses

There are several public or private organizations and colleges which provide music and singing trainings and courses that span from one year to several years depending on the type of course chosen by the student. In recent times, many newer and advanced music academies have come up which nurtures and polishes the skills and provide surplus opportunities for the students not only in basic forms but also contemporary and international forms too.

Some elite colleges of India provides diploma degree and graduate degree in music and singing courses. To name a few-

  1. Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata
  2. Maharaja Shayajirao University, Vadodara
  3. MIT Vishwashanti Sangeet Kala Academy, Pune
  4. Amity University, Noida
  5. Lovely Professional University, Delhi
  6. Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
  7. Hindu College, Delhi
  8. Mumbai Music Institute
  9. Fergusson College
  10. Bhartiya Sangeet Mahavidyalaya, Vashi, Navi Mumbai, etc.

Some other elite music institutes –

  1. AR Rahman’s KM Music conservatory, Chennai
  2. Delhi School of Music
  3. Shankar Mahadevan Academy
  4. Calcutta School of Music
  5. Swabhoomi Academy of Music, Tamil Nadu
  6. Prayag Sangeet Samiti, Uttar Pradesh
  7. Madras Music Academy
  8. Asian Academy of Film and Television
  9. Subharati Sangeet Parishad
  10. Bangiya Sangeet Parishad 
  11. Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya etc.

Courses types:

  1. Certificate or Diploma course
  2. As Major (Bachelor’s degree)
  3. Post graduate degree
  4. PhD or Post- Doctoral 

Diploma and certificate course

This course gives an overall idea and views regarding music and singing. Student is given a basic training, knowledge and their skills are honed thoroughly through ample practical and theoretical classes. It is a short period course of maximum two years depending on the nature of program selected by the student. 

The student is given the certificate from the institute or college upon successful completion of the course which can be used to upgrade their career goals in music and singing and help them attract wonderful opportunities in this field.

Music and Vocal Major

Many colleges across the country provide majors in music and vocals in graduate level which is of three years and post graduate level which is again of two years.

It involves in-depth study of music and vocals, history, components, advances and other theoretical subjects. There are extensive practical classes using a wide range of musical instruments and other devices and the students are thoroughly trained and tested through college and university examinations. 

Afterwards eligible students on successful completion of the course and training periods are provided with degree certificate. Thus, the student can achieve their career goals and work at various institutes, organizations or other field of music and singing and thus can achieve their dreams and attract their dream job in this field.

These courses are provided for- Hindustani classical, Carnatic classical, modern music, Rabindra sangeet, folk songs, Nazrul geeti, Ghazal or Sufi songs, Qawwali  and Regional Songs and Ballads. Instrumental music training like Tabla, Violin, Sitar, Saxophone, Guitar etc., are also provided in these institutes or colleges along with other fine art courses.

Various courses other than singing can be pursued by the aspirants like Sound Engineering, musical instrument making, music production, music technologies, contemporary musical subjects, entrepreneurship and management skills and training and other related courses.

The students get opportunity to perform solo or in groups and conduct concerts and community based other programs, competitions and nationalized programs in India as well as abroad.

Post- Doctoral or PhD Courses

This is a fully research based course on Music and Singing. The interested student has to apply for the colleges for this course after the degree course through UGC-NET or other such similar research entrance exams. A student can do research in Historical Musicology, Compositions, Analysis, Musical Therapies, Cognition and much more.

Opportunities Outside India

Even aspirants can pursue singing and music courses outside India depending upon their interest in their chosen courses. Some of the best places outside India are Vienna, Paris, Tokyo, Milan, Barcelona, Dublin, Berlin. These western capitals are on the top list of the students to pursue world-class musical and singing knowledge and practice with eminent trainers and personalities.

Other eminent colleges or schools to name a few-

  1. The Julliard School, New York
  2. Berklee College of Music, Boston
  3. Royal Academy of Music, London
  4. Moscow Imperial Conservatory, Moscow
  5. Royal College of Music, London
  6. The University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna
  7. Conservatoire de Paris, Paris
  8. Yale School of Music, Connecticut
  9. New England Conservatory of Music, Boston
  10. Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia etc.

All these colleges provide excellent programs on Vocal arts, jazz studies, Composition, Modern Music, Pop and Rock Music, Historical performance and conduction, Sound Engineering, Music production, design and management, electronic production, music journalism,  extensive research, community based programs etc.

One can choose from wide range of courses that this hobby as well as a career choice provides. Tremendous opportunities and career options have made the music and singing field a most sought-after hobby or vocational activity among the budding artists and enthusiasts who want to pursue it as their future profession and excel in it.

Music and singing is an art which is liked by almost all the generation of people, their choices may differ but the essence remains the same. This art is revered and respected by everyone regardless of their caste, creed, colour, origin, religion or orientation. The rhythm, melody and lyrics of music and songs reverberates in the heart of every human all around the world. 

Our rich heritage of music and songs unite everyone of this country together and creates harmony in the society we live. Melody, rhythm and lyrics have no boundaries, no limitations. It is way beyond that. It is the ultimate language of peace, love, happiness, prosperity and unity not only in our country but have also united people from different countries and culture across the borders with us. ‘Aman ki Asha’ was one such peace and cultural exchange initiative started jointly by the Jang group of Pakistan and the Times of India group in India which aimed at improving the diplomatic and cultural relations between these two countries.

Music and singing has always been one of the fine skills chosen for Peace Programs or other programs of national importance like awareness programs, propagation of an idea or knowledge among the people in the nation and outside the nation. It has been the symbol of integrity, unity, peace, progress and prosperity. 

Thus, Music and singing as a career is a great choice for the all budding music enthusiasts and singers who want to pursue his/her hobby in the future and excel in it. With undiluted love for this art form, honest and undeterred determination and self- confidence, one can follow the path of success, peace and happiness in this cut-throat competitive world.

Indeed, Practice makes a man perfect.

By Dikshya Bose, Bangalore, India

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