Published: 20th June 2019
Ebenezer Premkumar tells us how he went on to build one of the top music schools in Bengaluru
Ebenezer Premkumar talk about how as a seven-year-old he learnt basic chords from his mother and how far he has gotten from there
I love you 3000 a famous line from the movie Avengers:Endgame is now used world over by couples, even by those who aren't big fans of the franchise. I have no idea why that quote was used and what it means. Not a Marvel fan at all! But before you go judging me let me tell you why I brought that up right now — I love you 3000 means a great deal to Ebenezer John Premkumar (Eby), a passionate musician, song-writer, artiste and teacher. Why 3000? He is the founder of MuzikGarage (MG) one of the top ten music schools in Bengaluru and this school just trained 3000 students over a course of 12 years. Being the passionate musician that he is — his goal is to impart his musical knowledge and the vision of MG was to raise skillful musicians — he has trained 3000 individuals from year 2007 and yes of course he loves all his students. Pretty cool right? If you are in Bengaluru City and are looking to learn the guitar, violin, drums or keys, this is your place to be.
Master it: MuzikGarage conducts Guitar Master classes at VIVO Expereinece Centre at Brigade road in Bengaluru
Eby sir, as his students lovingly address him spent his childhood in Gujarat and his only access to western music was a radio. Twelve years down the line when Eby sir goes back to his roots reminiscing about how it all began, this is how he narrates it to me, "My mother is a musician — a good one! When I was about seven-years-old she taught me the basic chords on the guitar. A lot of my days went by with me trying to imitate what I heard on the radio. I also used to play for the school during our assembly time. I moved to Chennai in the year 1997 and that is when music became a real focus in my life. I used to watch the cultural activities in Madras Christian College and that is how my exposure to music grew. I practiced harder and longer and I found musical inspiration in everything from advertisements on TV to honks and even beggars singing, music is everywhere its all about how you hear it and connect yourself. What kept me going through all these years was the constant support I recieved from my dear wife Rebecca and my baby girl and boy Suzy and Jaden," he says. This is such an 'awww' moment for me right now.
Variety: The students come flooding in from backgrounds of being lawyers, doctors and engineers and even those from the military
Eby is pretty much self-taught and that's what makes him special. Have you heard of the finger-style technique? Of course you have, Eby didn't know it was called that until he was told much later. He tells us how he discovered finger-style playing for himself and what inspired him to do so. "When I was graduating from school I was asked by my principal, Pearlin Sunraj to record the chords I used to play during the assembly. Back then we only had cassettes, as I began recording I realised that it didn't sound great because it lacked melody and I couldn't layer music or the parts one over the other (bass guitar and lead). Hence, I used to play a triple-role, which means a three-piece played by one man. I played the lead with my ring finger, bass with my thumb and with my index and middle finger I played regular chords, thus blending a perfect harmony with one guitar," he says.
Rock and roll: MuzikGarage has courses that train students in instruments like Guitar, Bass Guitar, Keys, Drums and they also give a range of vocal lessons as well
When did the passion for teaching kick, Eby explains,"While I was doing my bachelors in Karunya University I was exposed to vernacular music. Previously I had restricted myself to English music alone and Karunya played a massive role in connecting me with people from various musical backgrounds and opened my mind to different genres. Side-by-side I also yearned to share the knowledge that I had accrued over the years. I wanted to contribute towards raising skillful musicians. Therefore, in the year 2007 I opened a small place where I could share my knowledge and train musicians and two years later that place was named MuzikGarage. Apart from regular classes that MG conducts, I also travel across cities in India such as Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Kochi and many more cities and also Berlin, Denmark and Dubai — conducting five day workshops on music across various levels, from beginners to advanced," he adds. The one advise I remember from when I was his student is that (yes I was his student too!) — "There is no shortcut to learning music and nothing beats hard work and practice to become a good musician."
Age a number?: The ages of students range from five to seventy five
What makes MG special when there are so many music schools out there, Eby goes on to explain,"Each class is divided into beginner, intermediate and advanced. The courses provided for each respective instrument varies from section to section. Then amidst the sections every five students are monitored by one instructor. Apart from music lessons the students are also given life lessons and lessons on character building. My vision is not just to make people musicians, but also to make them better human beings, I focus a lot on character building and encourage my students to be confident." he concludes.