NMIMS’s OCAC Journey: A Candid Conversation with Dr. Ramesh Bhat & Dr. Vikas Bharadwaj

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In a compelling dialogue, Dr. Ramesh Bhat, Vice Chancellor of NMIMS, and Dr. Vikas Bharadwaj, Associate Dean of NMIMS School of Performing Arts, discuss the transformative role of Out of Class Academic Collaboration (OCAC) in reshaping Performing Arts Education.

Q: Dr. Bhat, how does OCAC resonate with NMIMS University’s vision and its potential impact on future education?

Dr. Ramesh Bhat: OCAC is central to our vision at NMIMS. We believe in fostering an environment where students actively collaborate beyond the classroom. This not only solidifies their learning process but also encourages them to engage with peers, discussing curriculum insights. Our K.A.S.H framework – Knowledge, Attitudes, Skills, and Habits – is testament to this. Today, Dr. Bharadwaj will share how OCAC has been pivotal in honing skills and fostering positive habits in the intricate realm of music education.

Q: Dr. Bharadwaj, can you detail the design process behind the Bachelor’s program in Indian Classical Music?

Dr. Vikas Bharadwaj: Indian music education is deeply anchored in the ‘Guru-Shishya Parampara’. While this tradition remains invaluable, modern education has evolved. My journey in music has often led me to question why not all graduates become performing artists. At NMIMS, I’ve integrated my experiences with traditional teachings to craft a curriculum that’s both unique and comprehensive. A pivotal element we’ve introduced is ‘Riyaz’ (practice), ensuring students engage in rigorous practice, which is essential for skill development.

Q: Dr. Bhat, can you delve into the ‘Brahma Muhrat Riyaz’ concept?

Dr. Ramesh Bhat: The Brahma Muhrat Riyaz is transformative. It instills discipline, allowing students to immerse in their art during the early hours, free from distractions. This peer-driven initiative not only bridges the gap between knowledge and skill but also fosters a culture of consistent practice.

Dr. Vikas Bharadwaj: Music is a spiritual journey, and early morning is considered a divine time for practice. Our initiative ensures students and faculty share their practice timings, creating an environment that’s both inspiring and collaborative.

Q: How do the different OCAC approaches integrate within NMIMS?

Dr. Ramesh Bhat: Each NMIMS school tailors OCAC practices to its unique context. The Brahma Muhrat concept, akin to the western ‘5 am Club’, underscores the benefits of early rising. Schools can adapt this concept to their disciplines, fostering habits that shape world-class professionals. Whether it’s school-driven, faculty-driven, or student-driven, monitoring and documenting OCAC activities is crucial to ensure they enhance student learning.

Q: Dr. Bharadwaj, how does the School of Performing Arts promote cross-disciplinary engagement?

Dr. Vikas Bharadwaj: Music transcends boundaries. At NMIMS, we’ve introduced courses that bridge music with other fields, such as music production and technology. This interdisciplinary approach ensures students from various domains can benefit from the richness of music.

Q: How do Guided Listening Sessions contribute to holistic skill development?

Dr. Vikas Bharadwaj: For musicians, listening is a gateway to deeper understanding. Guided Listening Sessions not only enhance musical comprehension but also foster essential life skills.

Dr. Ramesh Bhat: Listening is a universal skill. In management, for instance, being a good listener is crucial for leadership. Drawing parallels between disciplines can enrich the learning experience, emphasizing the importance of OCAC practices.

Q: What challenges has the School of Performing Arts encountered with OCAC, and how have you adapted?

Dr. Vikas Bharadwaj: Challenges are a part of any journey. However, our focus remains unwavering. For me, education is about instilling values and culture. Despite obstacles, our commitment to delivering quality education has always prevailed.

Dr. Ramesh Bhat: OCAC is about enlightening students on its benefits. While initial resistance is expected, conveying the advantages ensures everyone’s participation. It’s about stretching beyond comfort zones, fostering holistic development, and enhancing focus.

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