Why engineers have to deal with music and art
After the NEP 2020 and the focus on multidisciplinary learning in technical institutes, the need to promote creative disciplines in Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) has become imperative. At IIT Kharagpur, the Academy of Classical and Folk Art was established to achieve this goal. “NEP 2020 has shown a clear path for interdisciplinary studies, including fine arts and music, that give engineers space and empower their thought process by immersing themselves in creative avenues,” says Virendra Tewari, Director IIT Kharagpur.

The maestro for classical music, Pt Ajay Chakrabarty, who heads the Academy’s “100 Ragas Initiative”, serves to blur such boundaries between the disciplines. “It gives students the freedom to make their choices and live their dreams without affecting their academic careers,” he says.

In conversation with
Educational times Speaking of the mix of music and innovation, Pt Chakrabarty says the performing arts help develop several traits that are not encouraged by the current education system. “The fundamental characteristics of innovation are the ability to focus, improvise, communicate, and have the courage to make change, all of which are developed through training in music and other performing arts.”

He believes that music and the creative realms can help engineers think from a “much broader perspective” and increase their confidence. Indeed, a career in both science and music is not impossible. “I’ve had students who play musicians, as well as scientists, doctors, and engineers. However, that number will be much smaller than the many who will benefit from learning music or the fine arts while pursuing a career in science or engineering at the institute, ”says Pt Chakrabarty.

As part of the “100 Ragas Initiative”, he will work at the academy on formulating the deep structure of Indian ragas in order to create a connection between the creative arts and the cognitive sciences such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (AI). ML).

According to Pt Chakrabarty, modern innovation is rooted in collaboration and communication, but graduates of the existing competitive landscape often lack these virtues. “Music helps understanding and developing collaboration, be it in western symphonies or spontaneously
Jugalbandis in Indian music. ”

Pallab Dasgupta, professor in charge at the Academy of Classical and Folk Art, agrees: “Scientific excellence is not based on learning by heart, but on the ability to assimilate, innovate, apply and communicate knowledge. All of these qualities are automatically developed through training in music and art. I have studied the sitar for many years and can approve of how this has helped me develop my research skills. ”

“We have an excellent brain on campus that has gone through an educational system that has suppressed anything but memorization of facts and formulas. Many of them would have liked to have done something different. We can’t change any of this, but if we can change their perspective and level of happiness, we will help them develop into superior people, ”adds Dasgupta.

In addition to lectures and workshops, the Academy offers microcredit courses in areas that combine music, visual arts and technology. “In the medium term, we may offer microspecializations consisting of such microcredit courses and related technology courses (like signal processing, acoustics, etc.). At this point in time, we hadn’t thought about new study or diploma programs, ”says Dasgupta. The academy also plans to offer courses for those interested in music around the world to learn about the unique aspects of Indian music, the people and the fine arts.


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