Published: 23rd April 2020
How Bengaluru's Indian Music Experience has taken their craft and classes online
We speak to Manasi Prasad, Director, Indian Music Experience in Bengaluru to know how they have explored online classes to help students and trying to make their exhibits virtually available
When the government announced the lockdown at the business end of March, the faculty of the Indian Music Experience, the country's first experiential museum on music, was worried about helping students complete their diploma programme in music, dance and Yakshagana. So, they decided to shift the classes online and around 200 students have been dutifully tuning in every day for two hours. Manasi Prasad, Director, Indian Music Experience, says, "Like every other sector in India, even the cultural sector has been hit badly."
However, Manasi and her team are happy at how smoothly things have transitioned to the digital space. "Classes like Hindustani Vocal, Western Guitar, Veena, Bharatanatyam and a few others are happening at particular timings on particular days. We inform the students and their parents in advance about the classes. Meanwhile, we are also going to launch classes for the next semester's diploma programme. But before people can sign up for the semester programme, we conduct a pre-diploma hobby programme online. They can take these classes to analyse their interest, improve their skill sets and finally decide on taking up semester programme," she explains.
While online classes are part of the IME's Learning Centre, they are also conducting online storytelling sessions for students through the medium of music. This initiative is called Story GA MA Online. Last weekend, IME collaborated with Kathalaya's International Academy of Storytelling and several students were part of it. On April 25, Manasi Prasad will be holding a live session on Instagram with Shreyanka Basu, who is the Founder of Museum Culture Marketing. They will be discussing the impact on cultural life during the times of COVID-19.
Aside from this, IME will be part of the Google Arts and Culture Virtual Museum project. Hence, they are working to transform some parts of the museum into virtual exhibits. "Once, we complete this project, people will be able to view and experience some of our exhibits virtually and that is going to be a plus point," she concludes.
The only downside is that an exhibition that they had curated with a lot of love needed to be closed midway. She explains, " The sad part for the museum was it was only a week ago that we had put up the exhibition of Pandit Ravi Shankar called Ravi Shankar @100: India’s Global Musician. It went on for a week and people also attended the exhibition. From March 15 onwards, the situation became critical and we decided to close. But once this lockdown is lifted, we plan to continue with this exhibition for a few more days."
Other museums in India that have gone online:
-The Birla Industrial and Technological Museum in Kolkata launches virtual gallery on March 31 and since then, they have more than 522 people who have logged in to view and experience the same
-Similarly, Indian Museum which had online gallery created two years ago has been visited by a lot of viewers and audience
-However, places like VisVisvesvaraya Industrial & Technological Museum and Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium have not been able to go online. But they have been conducting special webinars and posting videos on interesting topics like Climate Change, the study of stars etc for school children