Very few institutions in Delhi have music pervading the total environment to the extent we have in our Vidyalaya. No single factor is responsible for such an atmosphere. It is the interface of the following features that has resulted in the creation of this music-oriented atmosphere:
At the formal level
Music is compulsory for the first seven years of a pupil’s life in the Vidyalaya from 3+ (Pre-school) to 11+ (Class V).
In the critically important years between 3+ and 5+ children are exposed to music everyday. This programme is not confined to the more common set of songs or nursery rhymes sung in the traditional fashion.Rather the young ones are trained to differentiate simple notations (alankar), rhythm (laya), and beats (tala). Our Pre-school orchestra of four-and -five-year olds include eight simple instruments such as dholak tambourine, triangle, jhunjhuna kartal, cymbals, dandia and the most ancient of rhythm ‘instrument’ clapping.
Between the ages 11+ and 13+ pupils are offered Music as one of the options. Those choosing to pursue Music at this stage master ragas, talas and are knowledgeable about our musicians of today, a brief history of Hindustani and Carnatak styles. They also build up a good collection of different types of songs.
For those opting for Music at the advanced stage of Class IX and X under the 10+2 system, the emphasis is on the theory of Music. The standard that they attain is that of a diploma from reputed Music Academies.
At the informal Level
At the informal level (and it is this that gets our fifteen hundred strong soaked in this tradition), among other things, is the morning assembly that consists of:
The ‘stuti’ may be in Sanskrit or Hindi and is invariably sung (rather than recited) by a special trained choir. The song may be a bhajan, a seasonal song, a patriotic song, a folk song, an inspiring song expressing a beautiful thought or a philosophy, Rabindra sangeet, etc. Songs may be in Hindi, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Gujrati, Assamese, Pahari, Marathi, Rajasthani, Malyalam, Telugu, Tamil, Sanskrit etc.
The community Shloka with which we end the assembly is usually a thought expressed in four lines, sung by the entire school as one and rendered in simple music.