Distinction in Carnatic Singing

Over the February half term, I attended the convocation for my Carnatic music diploma and received the title Sangeetha Kalajothy. In August last year, I passed my Grade 8 in Carnatic Music or Karnataka Sangeetham with OFAAL (The Oriental Fine Arts Academy of London) and was lucky enough to receive a distinction. This was the culmination of 10 years of training. OFAAL is the world’s largest oriental fine arts exam board.

Carnatic Music is a vocal form found in Southern India and is used in films, temples and homes on a regular basis. Compositions are typically devotional, written in a variety of languages from Sanskrit to Telugu. While the basics of Carnatic Music and Western Music are very similar, there is a distinct sense of worship in Carnatic Music which has really taught me to love India and its many art forms.

I have always viewed Carnatic Music as a way to keep in touch with my South Indian roots and singing devotional songs has become an incredible experience for me. Granted, as I started learning this music at the age of 5, it took me a while to really fall in love with it, but today being able to sing along to beautiful compositions is a gift I can only thank my vocal teacher for. What started out as a regular Friday evening class led to me receiving my diploma in front of hundreds of people, some of whom had been on the journey with me.

Learning Carnatic Music has opened a lot of doors for me, from being able to appreciate beautiful works of art to being accustomed to performing in front of large crowds from a very young age. Another benefit has been a larger vocal range as Carnatic Music does not use the upper register of voice, which meant I could sing lower and lower as I progressed through the years. OFFAL grade exams include both theory and practical assessment.

I am extremely lucky to receive my diploma and to have been granted this title. I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience and education in history and art..

Arya (Year 10)