Composing Melody from Notes and a Career from Melodies: Samuel Prashanth’s Musical Journey

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The beginning of a dream

I was born and brought up in a small town called Bellary in Karnataka, in a business family. We had a normal, middle class upbringing and were brought up with values and discipline. My father always believed that one day, me and my brother will eventually join him and help carry the business legacy forward. And we did become a part of the business on completion of our respective graduations. However, I wasn’t able to stand the constant anxiety and stress resulting due to business related conflicts . Hence, I chose to quit the family business and decided to pursue a different career path. It was the year 2009.

I felt lost and disoriented and didn’t know what to do. I was a regular at church and I had grown up learning and playing music in the church. I felt a strong connect to music at that time and hence decided to pursue western classical on piano. The logical first step was to get some sort of coaching and direction. So I joined Ashlee Wesley school for Performing Arts in Bangalore and started getting trained in piano.

I was a natural at playing keyboard and I had learnt playing on my own, so learning in a systematic way was a process that entailed me to undo the previous learning and then begin learning in a systematic way. I completed 4 grades western classical course and cleared trinity music exam till grade 3 at Ashley School. After a year of learning piano, I also picked up violin and guitar, and was able to do some course correction and fine tuning on what I had learnt. I must say it was a challenging but interesting journey at that time, but I finally felt that with music, I have arrived.

Venture into the unknown and making it work

Passion gives rise to news ideas. And upon returning to my hometown Bellary, I met a few fellow musicians and shared with them my passion for music and the idea of starting music school since I knew there was a clear gap in that segment in Bellary. But my idea was tough for everyone around me to accept and I was ridiculed and discouraged. But by the grace of God, I stood my ground and was sure that this will work.

My mother provided me with seed fund to encourage my venture and with that, I put together a small one room set-up behind our house and borrowed old instruments from friends. I got the center registered as MARANATHA COMMUNITIES SERVICES and under that banner, I started Maranatha School of Music.

With a guitar on my shoulders, smile on my face and my head held high, I went to banks and hospitals, colleges and schools and played guitar and sang songs and spread the news about Maranatha Music school and asked people to visit us at least once. We managed to get a registration of 21 students keen on learning music and I was truly excited to begin my journey as a music instructor.

Finally, on 3rd May, 2010 we inaugurated our first batch. And we have never looked back since. Slowly,  the news spread through word of mouth and from only 1 batch in a week, we had grown to taking 3 batches in a day. We also formed a local Rock band by selecting students from our school, who were good at playing different musical instruments. We started looking out for events to perform in schools and colleges and very soon, we became the only rock bank in Bellary, who possessed latest and good musical instruments and churned out good music. We became the name to reckon music with and i was in a happy place, not to mention the sense of achievement and contentment one feels when you know you have passed on something of value to someone.

Dreaming of greater gains, the musical way

I was doing very well, but Bellary was too small a town to give wings to my aspirations. I felt I wanted to learn more, understand more, do more. I realized that whatever musical knowledge I had was not enough and that I needed to shift base to Bangalore to further my growth.

I handed over the school to my brother Pramodh (he is successfully running and growing the school till date) and moved to Bangalore. I knew I will have to begin from scratch and operate in fierce competition, but I was prepared for it.

I surveyed quite a few music schools to understand their modus operandi and figured out that I was ready to start one of my own. That is when I met one of my sister’s friend residing in Brigade Metropolis, a community of apartments in Whitefield, Bangalore. I shared with her my passion for music and eagerness to start music classes in their apartment complex. She referred me to their association and on 28th August, 2011, I got our rock band from Bellary to perform in their community as a promotional activity and got 45 enquiries. I started taking classes in the name of Maranatha School of Music from October 2011 (the classes are successfully running there till date). After that, we started our classes in HSR layout and then on ECC Road, Whitefield.

After 2 years of coming to Bangalore, I joined Centre for Music Education (CME) in New Life College, Bangalore and continued learning western classical Piano under Ms. Vinita Henson and finished 7 grades. I also cleared grade 3 in Violin with the help of Mr. Wati. I played piano at St.Peter’s church. The pastor there liked my music and recommended me to Bishop cotton Women's college. They hired me to conduct choir for Christmas carol for 2013 and 2014.

Directing the Choir

I also thought of expanding into schools to generate awareness in youngsters about music. I approached quite a few big schools in Whitefield and Varthur, who assured me of an opportunity but things never took off in the right direction there. On the way, I also met with a few individuals who wanted to open their own music academy and they approached me through common acquaintance. I thought of joining hands with them, since opening a music school on my own, in Bangalore, seemed like a far fetched idea. Since I had the backing of Maranatha School of Music and was aware of the course material and the teaching methodology, I put that offering on the table. However, within a few months, I figured that they never intended to include me as their core member, but they wanted to use my offering only. It was a bitter experience, but nevertheless taught me to be not so trusting of strangers.

During one visit to Phoenix Market City mall (biggest mall in Bangalore), I observed that there was no one playing their grand piano since 3 months and that there was an opening for the post of Lobby pianist. I felt this fitted my bill, since it was a great opportunity and a dream come true to get to play a high end grand piano. Such an exposure would give me an immense learning experience, not to mention performing live for customers of the mall. So, I approached them for a job opportunity. It was a very tough call and tight competition, but finally I got selected from among 3 candidates and have been performing in Phoenix Market city Mall from 4th July, 2015 till date.

The thrill of performing on a Global Platform : Hampi Utsav 2015

The way I look at it

I believe that a good teacher is the one that never stops learning. I am exploring new genres of music like Jazz and Blues. I want to make new music, new melodies one day. I aspire to have a very distinguished career in music and want to make the younger generation aware about music. I hope to take my rock band places. Music is like an ocean and I have a lot to learn and a lot to teach. And miles to go before I sleep....

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