Published: 21st April 2018
At Chennai's Pioneer Music Gym, amateurs are mentored to become professional singers
Singers, working professionals and entrepreneurs don the role of singers at Pioneer Music Gym on weekends
"I am going to the gym tomorrow, for sure!" You've said this several times in the past, but ‘tomorrow’ never comes, right? Or maybe it's because of those aching muscles that you loathe going back to the gym. (Oof! Cramps!) But did you know that Chennai has a gym that people love going to and they have a lot of fun there instead of cramps? Instead of working out their biceps, triceps and abs, people work out their vocal muscles! The Pioneer Music Gym (PMG) isn't a regular gym, it is a place where non-professional singers get to sing in a professional setup while being mentored by a musician, V J Suresh aka Pioneer Suresh.
Not just that, the singers who are mentored here also get to perform on a big stage a few months later and all the money that is raised goes to charity. A brainchild of Suresh, who is a musician with more than three decades of experience, the gym currently has 68 members comprising of working professionals, entrepreneurs and students.
"As a musician, I worked in films and then in the live industry with a lot of big names. That was when I noticed that there are many people around us who are extremely talented in music, but who had to give it up owing to various reasons. A stage to perform is all that they need. That's when I thought of starting the music gym," explains Suresh. What began two years ago with 13 members, now has 68 aspiring singers divided into four teams. So far, they've conducted seven concerts and have donated around `12 lakh to various charity organisations.
Singing out: One of the performances by PMG singers
So, how does one enrol? If you're a music enthusiast who would like to be mentored, all you have to do is send a couple of your voice clips to Suresh. If you're musically inclined, you gain direct entry into one of the four teams. Every Saturday or Sunday (based on your convenience), you get to go to PMG, where Suresh mentors you for three hours. Also, you're mostly performing in front of your batchmates, which works as an exercise to eliminate stage fright. In case you require individual mentoring, you can book your slots during weekdays.
"It is not a regular music class. People have a lot of fun too while learning music. Also, it is a great stress buster for them," says Suresh, adding, "They and I are connected through music. Also, we're giving something back to the society.” PMG also has a social service wing, where they identify homes around the city and perform for the residents.
We finally asked Suresh the most obvious question — Why is it called a gym? "Because here, you are working on your muscles anyway. It was my wife's idea to call it a gym. It sounded a bit weird to me at first, but when she explained it to me, I was convinced," he laughs.