Pratibha Parthasarathy was a typical Chennai kid – geeky and passionate about computers but also someone who started learning classical Carnatic music from the age of three! ! A computer science graduate from BITS, Pilani, Pratibha also did her management course from SP Jain Institute of Management, Mumbai and worked in blue chip firms like Infosys. The musical dream however, was always in her mind and she finally decided to make the leap to being a full time musician & entrepreneur! Today she runs her own online music academy and juggles the hats of performer, composer and entrepreneur!
THE FIRST NOTES
Pratibha was clearly an early adopter of music, starting off her “Sa Re Ga Ma Pas” at the tender age of three! She enrolled in music lessons because her family wanted to, but she didn’t really have any fixed goals as a child. She says her aspirations as a kid fluctuated from wanting to be an astronaut, doctor to even a tennis champ. She says, even her passion for music started budding much later, “once I started truly understanding music. Until then I didn’t really have any focused goals, I was just taking life in its stride.”
Pratibha professes she was a natural geek and so passionate about computers that BITS, Pilani seemed the natural choice for her graduation. So she enrolled for her engineering degree in Computer Science there. While it was a challenging course, Pratibha excelled in it and it also turned out to be perfect breeding ground for her musical journey. She says this is where she fine-tuned her own voice, honing it from a non-descript hobby into a grand passion, as she discovered other genres and musical styles besides Carnatic music.
As Pratibha recalls, “I was part of a very talented music band back in college, where we performed various genres ranging from carnatic to light music to hard rock. This really widened my perspective of music and helped me experience firsthand, all the elements that go into a single piece of music.”
THE ARTIST AT WORK
But those musical dreams had to incubate for a while. After graduation, Pratibha worked as a sales manager with a Consumer Durables company where her job revolved around aggressive sales targets and managing huge retail teams. She was working with multiple products like watches, accessories, jewellery and eyewear and travelled frequently to Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai. While she says she found the idea of sales very exciting and loved the potential to manage large teams and chasing targets, she knew that despite her burgeoning corporate career, music was always her one true love.
So she pursued her career for a few years to gain complete clarity on how to make music financially viable as a career. As she puts it, “Given that my parents had invested so much in my education I wanted to have a clear plan before taking the plunge.” And it was not an easy decision either. As Pratibha puts it, “I was letting go of a secure life to pursue a dream. But I was confident about my musical acumen and knew that I could make a career out of it.”
LIVING THE MUSICAL DREAM
She gave herself six months – to allow herself to brainstorm, analyze and take a calculated risk to move from a steady job to a passion. She wanted to be aware of the best and worst case scenarios. During this time, she explored the various avenues in music, performing live concerts and even uploading music videos on her personal YouTube channel. She took up freelancing projects to record and collaborate with artists globally on music.
Finally in 2014 she launched the Pratibha's Vocal e-Cademy with a talented team of professional trainers. It was a training platform for Indians across the globe to learn music via Skype. She focused on bringing in the first 50 enrolments and this gave her a good sense of the scope and opportunities available as a professional musician.e-Cademy with a talented team of professional trainers. It was a training platform for Indians across the globe to learn music via Skype. She focused on bringing in the first 50 enrolments and this gave her a good sense of the scope and opportunities available as a professional musician.
At this crucial juncture, her mother and her entrepreneur husband were invaluable to her as a support system. Her mother inspired her to focus on her new career goals and multi task so she would be efficient. Her husband instilled a lot of courage and self-confidence in her, just as she was taking a big leap of faith with the e-Cademy. She says, “Being a successful entrepreneur himself, he greatly helped me evaluate the business potential of my idea.”
The venture attracted an amazing response and the enrolments began rising. Like a true management graduate, Pratibha evaluates her foray in startup speak when she says, “I started looking at it as a scalable business and evaluated the various aspects of supply and demand. I set aggressive targets for the next 3 months, on achieving which, I decided to take the plunge.”
THE HIGH NOTES
Today, the e-e-Cademy offers a wide range of courses for all genres of vocal music, and they even have a special “Tiny Tots” program for toddlers. They have trainers who perform actively in the industry and are therefore able to impart a practical touch to the music they teach. The academy has enrolled students from 20 countries and 60 cities worldwide and teaches all genres of music. As Pratibha sums it up, “It feels extremely satisfying to be doing something you love. Each point on my to-do list is an exciting project that I can't wait to complete.”
Some of the signature moments that have justified her incredible leap of faith include career highs like sharing the stage with legends like Shyam Raj, the original saxophonist of RD Burman. She has also designed a flagship course called Voice Culture and Light Music that inculcates vocal techniques needed to sing films songs or semi -classical music, and it’s now one of the most popular courses among students of all ages. She now juggles the roles of vocalist, trainer, composer & performer as well as entrepreneur with aplomb as she lives her musical dream!
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