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The Musical Journey of the Talented Balani Brothers

Ever considered learning to play an instrument, or stretch those vocal chords? Well Delhi offers students that chance - at the Global Music Institute - run by two very talented musical brothers - both alumni of the Berklee College of Music.
BY Ambika Behal |   16-06-2013

The simple tunes of a student practicing the piano greet you as you walk into a surprisingly cool, calm, and modern interior, from the Delhi dust outside. The occasional beat of a drum can be heard striking from a class taking place on the floor below. And while a fan whirs lazily overhead, the air is poised perfectly to embrace any melody that one of the many musicians gracing the space, may offer.

The space is the Global Music Institute (GMI) - the brainchild of musically-inclined duo Aditya and Tarun Balani. The Balanis, brothers, who both attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music – the focused institution of higher musical learning that has produced the composers of the musical scores for the currently acclaimed Game of Thrones series, Mad Men, Arrested Development, How I Met Your Mother, and summer blockbuster film Fast & Furious 6, among other popular singers, composers, and industry heavyweights.

While Aditya leads the Aditya Balani Group, which focuses on collaborative world jazz music, and has an album in the pipelines, Tarun is the founder of the Tarun Balani Collective, and recently released his ‘Sacred World’ album. Both brothers are also members of the Adi-Suhail-Tarun (A.S.T) trio – who are due to release their debut recording in August.

Braingainmag.com sat down with the talented brothers to talk a little bit about their musical journey with GMI. 

What are your educational roots?

Tarun Balani

Tarun: I studied Advertising & Marketing at the Delhi College of Arts & Commerce – while using that time to prepare for the Berklee College of Music entry auditions. I then went on to Berklee and finished a Bachelor degree there in 2010. On coming back to India in December 2010, we began preparing to start GMI and opened six months later.

Aditya: I was a Science student, and though I entered Delhi University for a Computer Science/Programming course, I ended up shifting to the BA Programme. After Delhi University I went on to Berklee and completed a BMus degree there in the Summer of 2010.

How did GMI come about?

Aditya: While we were here in Delhi, we were teaching music actively and that kept progressing as we advanced. Eventually we realized that was developing into a space where we could look at setting up a more fully established teaching program.

Tarun: I didn’t have much formal musical education [before Berklee College of Music] – and then I went to the Drummer’s Collective in New York City one year. It made me realize that in India we could have a structured music program with top-level musicians teaching and mentoring.

Aditya: There aren’t many qualified and trained teachers in India for contemporary music. There are really intensive courses for Hindustani [classical] music – but what if you actually want to study, go on to do, say, a PhD in music – where to go? We really wanted to create a space here, bring in international faculty, and create a holistic learning experience.

Aditya Balani

What can a student find at GMI?

Aditya: A student can find a programme at any level of experience – whether it is a one year training course, a full-time two-year diploma course, the City Music Program for a certificate course, or simply once-weekly lessons. Starting with the current Summer Semester this year we have incorporated the official Berklee College of Music curriculum in our 1 and 2 year diploma programs. And we regularly keep hosting orientation sessions for those ready to start their training.

Tarun: We teach a range of musical genres – jazz, rock, pop, blues, western classic, and world music. I learned table and Karnatic rhythmic music from the Indian classical space, so we also incorporate a little of that for those who are interested. The guitar is the most popular instrument that students want to take classes in.

Have you had any success stories with students so far?

Tarun: Well, there is Dhruv Goel – who received a 50% scholarship to Berklee College of Music – he is a vocalist with the band Jester, who released their debut album at Blue Frog in Delhi this past April. And we did an ensemble class with the band Ragleela - who played the song we worked on in the national LeapFrog to Coke Studio and got into the final round of the competition. A lot of our students are working professionals, so there are many success stories!

For more on the Musical Scene:

Global Music Institute programmes click here
Berklee College of Music click here


Dhruv Goel on his entry to Berklee College of Music, video courtesy of GMI

Ambika Behal is the Managing Editor of braingainmag.com
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