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September 2011

Economics of Chennai Music and Dance Season
- Sandhyavandanam Madhva Muni Rao, Bangalore
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Published version of my article
The Hindu
Today's Paper OPINION
December 25, 2010

Letters to the editor
Music season

This refers to the article "A peep into the economics of the Chennai music and dance Season" (Dec. 23), which calls for introspection and remedial measures. Barring very few academies and institutions, we find that there is a lack of professionalism and excellence in event management skills. Event managers have a conditioned mindset and give priority to self aggrandizement, relegating the noble cause of serving music and dance to the background. Artists are after opportunities to perform even if it means compromise, humiliation, loss of dignity and self-esteem.

There is a well-entrenched freebie culture as far as classical music and dance is concerned. Many rasikas identify taste and enjoyment with mass, not class. Sponsors are unwilling to fund classical music and dance as generously as they do western and film music. Institutions and sabhas do not support meritocracy over popularity and give opportunities only to a few prominent artists, leaving the rest to sulk.

Gurus should do more to strive for the development of their students' knowledge. Opinion-makers and influential persons should get rid of their prejudices. The media should overcome nil or conditioned coverage and allot more space and time slots for music and dance.
Sandhyavandanam Madhva Muni Rao,

Full version of my letter

Economics of Chennai Music and Dance Season
The Hindu deserves high praise for giving the centre page space and publishing Meera Srinivasan's article "A peep.........." Dt.23rd, Dec, 2010, which beckons serious introspection and remedial measures and actions.

The most critical issues are:

1) Lack of professionalism and excellence in event management skills, barring a very few academies/institutions/sabhas/trusts in - policy, practices, resources and infrastructure factors, in particular.

2) Conditioned minds influencing and affecting:

2.1. Event Managers - self aggrandizement, leaving the noble cause to serve the music and dance taking a permanent back seat.

2.2. Artists and practitioners - weakness for accepting opportunities to perform even with great compromise, humiliation, loss of dignity and self esteem, to meet their deep, genuine and insatiate desire for performing.

2.3. Patrons- Rasikas - well entrenched freebie culture for CM and Dance, unwillingness to learn even the basic knowledge for appreciation and true enjoyment, adoption of easiest method of identifying taste and enjoyment with mass over the class.

2.4 Patrons-Sponsors - unwilling to fund equally and generously the classical Carnitic Music and Dance, in comparison with other forms- western and film music.

2.5. Patrons- Institutions/Academies/Sabhas/Trusts- not supporting meritocracy over popularity, giving opportunities only to select very few prominent artists, leaving the rest of the majority to sulk and suffer in, ignominy. By making ridiculous and shameful remuneration to the teachers, practitioners, research scholars and musicologists and not making music and dance art forms and its practices attractive enough for confidentially making a comfortable living option.

2.6. Patrons-Gurus- not sincerely striving for the development of lakshya gnanam of their students by the acquisition of knowledge through listening and attendance of Great Maestros/Maestros performances.

2.7. Patrons-Opinion makers and influential persons - are not getting rid of their prejudice and bias.

2.8. Patrons-Media- both the print and visual media's abysmally poor (or even no coverage) and conditioned coverage and space/time slots for music and dance.

Meeting, decisions, actions from all the stake holders together is the need of the hour for results, including better economics of Chennai Music and Dance.