The strains of music meld with a clear, soulful voice that washes over you, drawing you into the circle of magic that the singer weaves. Music has that magic to enthrall and please, but to Pratibha Parthasarathy it’s more than magic—it is a way of life.
Pratibha is the founder of Pratibha’s e-Cademy, a music e-learning platform where Indians across the globe can learn vocal and instrumental music via Skype. A computer science graduate from BITS Pilani and MBA from SP Jain, Mumbai, she is a classically trained vocalist with over 10 years of performing experience in various genres like Indian Classical, Western and Light Music.
Her reason to startup Pratibha’s e-Cademy stems from the way the world around her has changed. She shares, “A lot of us grew up learning music from a teacher next door or down the street. I observed that this scenario has drastically changed today. Distances have increased, time has become a scarcity and traffic has made commuting a big challenge. Also careers and education have become more competitive, leaving very little time to pursue hobbies or extra-curricular activities. So people either choose to discontinue their music learning, or end up travelling long distances to learn from a good trainer. The idea behind this music e-Cademy is to break these barriers and help students reach out to professional trainers from the comfort of their home.”
A musical journey
Pratibha’s own journey with music began at the age of five. She pursued Carnatic music for 10 years before leaving for College. She has performed over 300 live shows spanning various genres.
While in College she formed a band and her exploration with other forms of music such as light music and western music began from there.
This exposure to various musical styles, has come in handy to her as an entrepreneur for it has helped Pratibha to identify the distinct flavour of each style and build the syllabus required to learn them.
She also has a YouTube channel called Pratibha’s Music, which showcases her unique take on music.
I love to experiment and surprise my audience each time! Some of the themes that I have produced are Carnatic-Rock fusion, Acapella, Classical Dubstep, Unplugged, Mashups etc. I have worked with 30 different artists across India to create these videos.
Her biggest challenge so far has been juggling the various professional roles she dons. In a typical day she goes through a series of transitions – from a vocalist and trainer to a composer and performer and not to forget the entrepreneur. Each role needs her complete involvement and an in-depth understanding of each of these roles has helped Pratibha transition smoothly.
Her mother’s daughter
She looks up to her mother for inspiration. An extremely dedicated career woman, Pratibha says that,
My mother would never take a single day off from work but she still managed to raise me with a lot of care and values. Her commitment towards work and her ‘no-excuses’ policy has been of great inspiration to me and I believe that I have adopted those traits from her.
After finishing her school, further studies took Pratibha away from home and those ten years living away from home shaped her personality and transitioned her into an independent woman.
Her education and work experience has contributed greatly to her thought process and her approach towards Pratibha’s e-Cademy.
All about music
In the past nine months the venture has received students from 50 cities across the globe, and has found encouragement especially from Indians residing overseas.
The USP of the venture is that it is flexible in terms of time and location, for both- the student and the trainer.
“Each of our trainers are active performers in the music industry, so our students get a very practical perspective of music learning,” says Pratibha.
Pratibha’s e-Cademy offers a wide range of courses spanning every genre of vocal music relevant to the Indian music lover. Apart from the structured courses in Indian classical and Western genres, she has designed a
flagship course – voice culture & light music that focuses on vocal techniques required to sing film songs and semi classical music. There is a program for kids too.Two entrepreneurs in the house
Her husband is also an entrepreneur and has been a great source of support and inspiration.
It is not a cake- walk having two entrepreneurs at home but the ride according to her becomes enjoyable with a partner who “understands your passion. Someone who can relate to your obsession with your goal, and the fact that you need to do whatever it takes to get there.”
Talking about entrepreneurship and the challenges that come with it, Pratibha says, “The initial stages of a startup can be quite ambiguous. So one needs to really quantify the tasks at hand and adopt a structured approach else you may end up feeling disoriented. Entrepreneurship also comes with its share of disappointments and heartbreaks. There are times when your hard work does not pay off immediately. That’s when one needs to be patient and keep working without losing focus.”
Her calendar for the year is packed with dime a dozen stage performances so she can reach out to a larger audience through her channel and to rapidly expand Pratibha’s e-Cademy’s reach in newer zones.
“I have no tolerance for mediocrity, so it is my mantra to ensure that the quality of my venture is nothing short of ‘outstanding’.” That is what keeps her motivated.
Read: ‘More than being a profession, music for me is a way of life’ – Subhadra Desai
Read: How two women are connecting popular and Indian classical music through ragas