Updated: Oct 2, 2020
Learning music is a craze among many but not all get a chance due to the unavailability of a good guru, financial constraints or ease of accessibility, etc. Hence, a Bengaluru basked startup, Global Performing Arts Academy (GPAA) has developed three online platforms Octavez, Octavez Classrooms, MyMusic lessons to promote learning music online at an affordable price. To impart quality music education, GPAA has brought renowned musicians and Gurus on board to teach music. GPAA is the brainchild of founders Ravi Krishnamurthy, Bhupeshh Sharma, and Sudarshan Sharma.
In an exclusive interview with Music Beat, Global Performing Arts Academy Founding Partner Ravi Krishnamurthy talks about GPAA and the idea behind launching it, Octavez and other platforms, on having music maestros as teachers, and why their initiative stands out!
Was it only lockdown that led to this amazing online start-up - Global Performing Arts Academy? Can you tell us the complete story?
No! It is not the lockdown that led to GPAA and its platforms, but we have been developing it since 2015-16. Our other venture is Growthcode Technology Solutions Pvt Ltd, a Human Capital Actualization company. Our work there largely deals with learning and development and we have developed many connected and integrated solutions. We found a lot of gaps in learning and we didn’t want to stop at corporate and academic verticals. We knew similar gaps exist in learning and development irrespective of what is learnt, more so in Performing Arts, which is largely unorganized. GPAA was formed to solve these issues and bring the best of teachers to the fingertips of enthusiastic learners at most affordable prices in the utmost comfort where learning is maximized with minimum fuss.
We are bringing world renowned performers who are gurus to the learners facilitating learning truly at their place, their pace and their time I respective of their location and time zone differences. Enthusiasts can now be personally mentored one-on-one by the best in the music industry from Western to Indian, Vocal and Instrumental, Traditional and Modern genres.
Can you tell us in brief about the various platforms and what they are offering?
We have three platforms currently for music.
OCTAVEZ: It is a music learning platform which has leading artists and gurus teaching their craft and mentoring students. On OCTAVEZ one can find renowned artists, it is an app made for individual learners located anywhere in the world. It is a platform built on the Learner first concept. It is a platform where learners can find their favourite stars, access them and learn from them at any time and any place
OCTAVEZ Classrooms: As the name suggests it is an extension of OCTAVEZ into classrooms of schools. OCTAVEZ Classrooms brings leading artists and gurus to schools and school children. Schools can now offer music classes from leading artists in their schools at a fraction of the cost including progressive assessments and guidance. Imagine a guru of gurus Vid Anoor Anantha Krishna Sharma teaching mridangam in every school! OCTAVEZ gives access to gurus, makes stars available in schools and we have made it unimaginably affordable.
MY MUSIC LESSONS: MML is a platform we introduced in the wake of Covid 19 pandemic. It is a platform built for Music Teachers reach out to not only their existing students but also expand their reach beyond geographical boundaries. With all the features of OCTAVEZ, My Music Lessons is a great platform for Music Schools, Academies and Teachers to continue imparting lessons to their students from the safety of their homes without physical contact. We have made the subscription free till the pandemic ends to help Music Teachers and Academies continue to get revenues.
What is the process to enroll, fees, etc? Are there any eligibility criteria?
Enrolling to courses is as simple as enrolling in any new service online.
Students can download the app from Google Play Store, and sign up by keying in basic details. Once they sign up, they can see a host of sample courses and sample assessments for them to not only experience the content, but also the personal mentoring of their favourite gurus.
The fee to get personally mentored from stars on our platforms is very affordable. No course is more than Rs 2000 per month. On OCTAVEZ Classrooms, the fee is less than a fraction of this price. On MY MUSIC LESSONS, the fee is as decided by the individual music academies and teachers. The subscription fee is currently free till the pandemic ends and later it is going to be very affordable that will work out to less than 10% of the fee they collect
As for the eligibility criterion, we restrict the app usage and download it to people aged 10 yrs and more. We usually do not allow kids under the age of 10 to subscribe simply because they may not be able to handle mobile phones. There can be an exception once the parents or guardian agrees. Even as an exception, we do not recommend children under the age of 7 to use our platforms.
Octavez music learning and teaching app is quite noteworthy as global artists are mentoring aspiring students. How challenging was it to set this app and bring renowned musicians and their teachings accessible through Octavez?
OCTAVEZ is our dream platform. Bringing global artists on the platform has been quite something. It has taken us more than three years to get 10 of the best artists we have on the platform today. These artists are renowned and are hardly available. To make them available 24/7 and accessible anywhere and at any time is a dream come true especially in schools that are located far off places. It has been quite a pleasure to work with these stalwarts. They are great artists willing to share their art and with a platform like OCTAVEZ, they can continue to be engaged in their schedules while also being available and accessible to their students. Our mentors today can interact and guide their students while they wait at an airport or while traveling in a cab in a far-off country. With them online, no student misses a class ever! It has taken quite a lot of effort, coordination and time to get them all on a single platform.
How has been the response so far? Do online classes give the feel of an in-class experience to the students?
We only went to the market early this year. The pandemic hit us in Feb. There has been a very encouraging response. People find it very convenient and everyone who has used the app has said it is something unbelievable to interact with stars and get to learn from them directly. In a short span of time without making too much noise, there are 100s of registered users and the number is steadily growing.
What is the plan going forward with the nation stepping out in stages?
Our platforms were not built during the current pandemic. We started developing it in 2015. Our platforms will bring more value to users once the economy restarts. The very idea of our platforms is to learn at maximum comfort and minimum fuss. Our users can get back to their work lives and yet continue to learn music and other art forms on our platforms without breaking a sweat. They will still not miss a class!
When it comes to investors and promoters, which brand are on board to support the start-up? What is the financial plan?
We are a bootstrapped company. We plan to invest heavily in our platforms to make sure we bring global music to the fingertips of our people and take Indian Music to the global users’ fingertips. We have quite aggressive plans to reach out to the masses and going international with our OCTAVEZ Classrooms platform where global audiences can authentically learn Indian Music from qualified teachers from the comforts of their homes and schools.
What is the marketing strategy of GPAA?
With our aggressive expansion plans and our platforms being online, our marketing strategies are going to be “online first”. We will soon see international artists on our platform
Have you guys made a profit so far?
We have gone to the market early this year. We should be breaking even by the next year and then Profits will come
What changes do you want to bring through Global Performing Arts and Octavez?
We want to make learning convenient. We want to help people learn from the best in the industry. We want to make learning the most affordable and easy. We want to make music and other performing art forms accessible across the world. We want to make sure that learning performing arts becomes truly progressive and purposeful to everyone who learns it, anywhere.
Are there going to be more additions or enhancements when it comes to the platforms coming under the Global Performing Arts?
Oh Yes! As the name suggests, we are a Global Performing Arts Academy. We have started off with music and soon be introducing platforms to learn Dance forms of the world from the best in the world. We will also be introducing a platform to learn DRAMA in which people can learn acting, writing, direction, lighting, pre-production, production, editing, special effects, makeup, and everything there is to learn in the field for theatre, small screen, and the big screen.