Over high tea and Bach, Rahul Ramakrishna catches up with Alexander Dolce to talk about music, and the Hyderabad youth
Thirteen years of teaching music has taught Alexander Dolce the art of fine tuning patience into practice. A diploma holder in teaching music from the National University of Singapore, Alexander has been in and around long enough to be a judge of the now fading music scene in Hyderabad.
What has music taught you over these thirteen years?
Since 1999, I have been teaching music. I have taught ten different styles of guitar playing, the piano, keyboards and the violin. After a point, having come across hundreds of students through this journey, I have realised that music needs patience and practice. Playing music cannot be a fast food noodle. It must need perseverance.
So is that the reason why the music scene in Hyderabad, especially live acts, is so tepid?
Absolutely. Today’s youth wants to woo audiences rather than play music. Most of these so called “gigs” happen at bars and nightclubs where a band plays more noise than music. The trend in Hyderabad has shifted gears from bad to worse. I think that is also a reason why musicians from Hyderabad who go to other cities to perform, are given a cold response. Most of them are not paid to play. Who has ever heard of, in the recent times, an international artiste performing in Hyderabad? Or a Hyderabad artiste performing at an international venue?
Given the kind of crowd you come in contact with, every year, what is their current favourite style of music?
Film music. Nobody wants to play soft rock or country anymore. Or jazz or blues. People want to be rockstars and that too, in the shortest possible period of time. I have come across hundreds of young fine players who with patience and practice could have been fine musicians, but most of them give into the “pleasures of youth” and leave it at that. The importance of Classical music, be it Indian or Western holds no appeal with our youth today.
Tell us a little about your fascination with Bach.
An organist, piano player, violonist and a composer, Bach is one of the masters of music, especially of the Baroque period. His arrangements and compositions are still much revered among the music circles and for me, he is, to me, the ultimate and highest of all musical standards.
Having come across so many students so far, what sort of student-teacher relationship do you have? Any particular memories you’d want to share?
My first student from 1999, who is now a chartered accountant, still calls me up. The kind of relationship I have shared with students over the years is chilled out and easy going. I tend to catch up on their lives and developments and almost always, we end up discussing music.
Do you see Hyderabad’s music changing for good in the coming years?
I cannot as such predict any change. It is not like we have a dearth of talent here in Hyderabad. But music is not respected much here anymore. It is played and served with intoxicants where the divinity of music is lost. Film music is being scored by music directors, who have no grasp or knowledge of basic music theory. It is appalling. People dont realise that studying a course in music can help supplement academics too. My student Ramya gained 35 credential points for having cleared her Grade 8 examination in music and that has helped her masters in the States. There are things like these about music that people choose not to listen to anymore.
I am no big fan of music that translates into noise in my ears, although that is what the crowds like today. The real musicians in Hyderabad, who really were pragmatic and serious about their music have all left for other metropolitan cities. That should tell us something about the scene now.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Tea drinker, imaginary bass player, posterchor, left liberal world planner, star gazer.. and other significant things.