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    Personalised training centres to hone your budding artistes’ skills

    Meet two city-based instructors, Wendy Dickson and Elena Smith. Both on a mis-sion to bring out the creative best in their students through person-alised classes — from theatre and music to painting and creativity.

    Canvas ready
    Moving from computers to art, Elena Smith learnedpainting from a neighbourhood art teacher a few years ago, ‘got hooked on the joy of painting and ended up doing it ever since’. After exploring her new found passion for a while, Smith channeled it into a slightly different direction. She started painting classes for kids. “I started by taking on the kids who lived nearby, then the group grew and developed. I began to relive my childhood and the joy of discovery all over again.”

    kids7Smith’s classes are quite
    unique. They begin with kids dancing to Happy by Pharrell Williams. Then they focus on something that made them angry during the week.

    “I get them to start painting with their left hand, splashing red and black paint onto newspapers because the left is connected to the emotional side of the brain…it’s just a way to release tension,” she explains. The group is called Elle’s Well and budding artists start with water colour on paper and eventu-ally graduate to acrylic and then to oil on canvas. Adding some more value to the course, kids are also exposed to cooking and reading with regular sessions in between.

    At Victoria Layout. Details: 9845186384

    Sound of music

    Wendy M Dickson, a popular English Literature professor at Jyoti Nivas College (who also ran their choir), has always been able to channel her nat-ural musical talents, thanks to encouragement from her late mum Rosalind Dickson and the choir mistress of her school (Baldwin Girls), Jean Fritchley, from whom she inherited a large collection of classical music scores as well. “Growing up, mum would play the mandolin, my brother, Peter his guitar and the three of us would sing songs from the fifties in three-part harmony,” she recalls nostalgically. Dickson now runs the Kiara Music Academy, a vibrant space for budding young musicians. It specialises in voice training for children aged five to 18, teaching them the right way to sing and all the nuances of a good vocal performance which include style, expression, interpretation and fundamentals of sight-singing. Their reper-toire covers genres like pop, gospel, acapella, rock, jazz and classical. “We have performed medleys from bands like ABBA and theme songs from musicals like Pocahontas, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, The Wizard of Oz and The Prince of Egypt with our Kiara Kids & Teens Chorale,” enthuses Dickson. The academy also conducts keyboard, guitar and drums classes for kids and adults with violin classes expected to start soon. The academy will stage Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor DreamCoat, in November with a cast of over 100 kids.
    At 80 Feet Road, Indiranagar. Details: facebook.com/pages/
    Kiara-Music-Academy

    —Avinash Kumai

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