Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • What is e-learning?

E-learning facilitates continuous learning, the delivery of multimedia contents, personal interaction and self-evaluation without limitations in terms of physical or cultural distance. Please refer to Wikipedia’s article “E-learning” for more information.

The flexibility of e-learning makes South Indian music a pursuit that is both enjoyable and rewarding. It is in the nature of Carnatic music that it is as much part of our personal lives as it may be of professional interest as students, performers and teachers.

Under the guidance of expert tutors, Carnaticstudent.org embraces e-learning as an opportunity to jointly explore South Indian classical music with fellow students and music lovers anywhere in the world.

  • How does e-learning work here?

An experienced learner with a personal teacher would naturally spend more time on certain aspects of Carnatic music than others. The course is therefore personalized and constantly being updated.

The beauty of e-learning consists in its scope for following an individual path. This means that the tutors can focus on providing in-depth guidance on subjects in their own domain of competence; and this as and when approached by a participant.

  • Are there any fixed timings? 

No – the course is “self-paced”; experience has shown that each participant has a different tempo and range of special interests.

  • When does the course start?

The standard English course, titled “The Music of South India”, has a duration of three months. It may be customised in accordance with specific requirements.

  • How is privacy safeguarded without compromising smooth interaction?

The contents management system (CMS) used for carnaticstudent.org courses provides participants and tutors to interact with one another without having to disclose their email addresses.

  • How much prior knowledge or musical experience is required in order to participate?

You are welcome to enroll even without any prior knowledge of Carnatic music or practical music experience of any kind. This course is part of an intercultural dialogue in which Carnatic musicians will continue to play a major role.

Among the course participants have been lovers and students of Indian music just as musicians, dancers, scholars, critics, teachers and others interested in Indian culture.

  • Is reading from a computer screen convenient enough for effective learning and full comprehension?

This course is not about reading long texts. All the essential concepts of Carnatic music are explained with the help of multimedia contents and discussed within special online forums.

As a course participant you are supplied with a textbook authored by Ludwig Pesch (course author and tutor) and rhythm expert T.R. Sundaresan (co-author): the critically acclaimed The Oxford Illustrated Companion to South Indian Classical Music. In order to serve as a “companion” in the true sense of the word, this reference work has been indexed and cross-referred throughout.

  • What are the technical requirements for participation?

If you can access your e-mail and websites with multimedia contents, nothing stands in the way of instant participation: from any computer, smartphone or other handheld device connected to the internet (e.g. on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch). A fast internet connection (e.g. wifi or adsl) is recommended for most of the media contents; and for interaction via a course forum, even a slower (mobile) connection is sufficient.

  • Can I follow the course on my smartphone or other portable device such as a tablet computer?

Every effort is being made to make the contents of this website accessible with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. Whenever a mobile device is detected by the course server, a special mobile browser enables you to access the course contents even on a small screen.

  • Where can I participate?

Virtually anywhere – at home or on the move, school, in a park, university, internet cafe or public library, during your lunch break at work: all you need is access to audio and video files via the internet. For current information, please check here >>

  • How much time will I spend on this course?

Do you enjoy learning together with others, anywhere in the world? If so, consider setting aside about half an hour per day over the entire course period for active participation; and a little more for an in-depth exploration of the course topics you are most passionate about.

As in any educational environment and learning process, the rewards for your participation in this course will be commensurate with your personal involvement. Experience shows that regular participation is most effective as regards long term effect and self-motivation.

The more you get immersed in the subjects covered the more you’ll enjoy discovering new facets, listening to Carnatic music, and interacting with others during and beyond this online course.

  • What is the nature of the course work?

Course participation here denotes a variety of activities: listening to music, watching online videos, reading text assignments and sharing your ideas or doubts in the course forums. Tests and quizzes for self-evaluation are made available whenever required by a particular course.

The privacy of several course forums helps you to interact with others effectively, be it with fellow participants or any one of your tutors. As a result, the course evolves around your personal involvement in a particular subject in a gradual manner. Your interest in Indian music and culture in general will make a difference too.

Three Indian tutors have graciously agreed to share their experience with participants: vocalist and vainika Sreevidhya Chandramouli, vocalist Vijayalakshmy Subramaniam, and percussionist T.R. Sundaresan. They are prepared to offer advice to all those who, like themselves, cherish the intrinsic value of all Indian music, be it at home or in the arena of world music; be it in the contexts of musicology, general or special education.

  • May I extend the period of course participation for a reduced fee?

You are welcome to extend your participation without assigning any reason if you cannot complete all the assignments you are interested in within the stipulated period.

Extension without re-enrolling or rejoining the course: please informing your tutor at least 2 weeks before the end of your current course; the reduced participation fee per course round is found here (contribution excluding textbook).

For participants wishing to rejoin and in need of another copy of The Oxford Illustrated Companion to South Indian Classical Music as textbook, it can be supplied at a concessional rate.

  • Is this course being “sponsored” or depending on advertisement?

No, this e-learning course is free from open or indirect advertising of any kind; nor does the course receive any private or public sponsorship.

The costs for hosting this course on world-class servers are entirely met by the modest contributions made by participants. This is backed up by private funding on the part a course author committed to its independence.

Among the other priorities, participants and tutors will appreciate the policy of ensuring privacy for all involved in the course.

  • What about my questions not covered here?

For comments or suggestions on musical and cultural subjects covered by the course itself, kindly use the course forums and personal communication within your course; simply log into the course and express yourself in a course forum offered for this purpose!