Choosing a Course

Should I learn Hindustani or Carnatic?

This is more of a personal choice. Each form of music is different from the other, and one can decide based on what sounds better to them. We advise you to take up the music form that you like listening to as listening is one of the most important components of learning how to sing.

Which course is preferred for me? I am a beginner and have no prior experience in learning music

Our 101 course covers the basics of music – knowledge of swar, singing in taal (rhythm) and pitch (sur). If your interest area is Hindustani music – please enroll in our HV101 course. For Carnatic music, please enroll in CV101. If your child is inclined towards world music please select any of our Grow with Music courses based on his/her age.

Do I have to start at the beginner level in a series if I have already studied music?

Pre-requisites are needed to join any level other than 101. You can find the pre-requisite criteria in our web site. For new students wanting to join advanced courses an assessment will be done, by the Academy to see if there are ready for the course.

Can a student enroll in multiple courses?

The Academy allows its students to enroll in multiple courses. Note that classes are subject to the availability of time slots and teachers

Will you be offering other types of courses in the future? Do you offer instrumental courses?

We will continue to expand our course offerings based on demand, so if you don’t see the course you are interested in listed on our website, please contact us. New courses may include other styles of vocal music, specific songs such as hindi movie songs or folk songs, or instrumental music such as the tabla or violin.

Is it possible for anyone to learn music irrespective of age/voice quality?

We definitely believe that one can learn music as long as there is a passion for learning, as well as practice on a daily basis.
The Academy conducts one-to-one interactive virtual classes with teachers and also provides the Online Music (OM) Book, which consists of valuable study materials, instructional videos, music notations, recording tools, and other features which help the students master their vocal skills. Weekly classes with the instructor and regular assignments and practice sessions will help a student master the course they’ve enrolled in.


Can two or more students use the same account for the class?

As per our academic policies, an enrollment is only applicable to a single student. Each additional student needs to have a separate enrollment.

What are the available timing slots (EST timings) for the classes?

This is the best part of an online class – you pick a date and time when you wish to start your class and each week you will have a class scheduled on the same day and time. We will try and match a teacher who will be available to you based on the time slot you select.

How do I pay for courses? Is payment secure?

You can enroll and pay for courses online. We use Paypal(USD) and EBS(INR) for secure processing of payments, and accept most major credit cards

Can partial payments be made?

We currently do not have any option for partial payments. We kindly request you to make the full payment at the time of enrollment.

How would we know if a payment has been made or not?

When you pay online, you will receive an automated email message acknowledging your payment details. However, feel free to contact us if you don.t receive the email after making the payment. We will be happy to help you with that.

After enrollment, what will be the next steps?

Once you’ve enrolled, our team will get in touch with you to take you through an orientation session. This will give you an overview of what to expect in your upcoming class, how to use our online portal to get the best learning and what to do in case you wish to reschedule your class.

What if I want to withdraw from my course? Do you offer refunds?

Our refund policy can be found in our academic policies. Please read the “Payments and Refunds” section of our Academic Policies for details. Before processing withdrawals, we would appreciate any feedback regarding the Academy. This can be emailed to feedback@shankarmahadevanacademy.com.

How will we know that who would be the teacher assigned to me?

Once we finalize a teacher who is available to you at the time slot you requested, we will let you know the same via e-mail.

Learning Online

How can I learn music online? Especially Indian Classical Music?

The Academy has done a lot of research and related work to make it easy for students to learn Indian Classical Music Online.
Learning music online is exactly like your traditionl learning and in fact has some distinct advantages:

  • Hindustani and Carnatic Classical Music courses follow a well-structured curriculum which is both progressive as well as encourages the student to get creative from the first course
  • Weekly

, which is designed to create and keep the interest for students to continue to learn music.An Online Music Book (OM Book) is made available for each course. This digitized multimedia book contains the necessary materials in various formats including videos, games and practice recorder to make it a lot easier for students to learn and practice.An online Tanpura or Shruti box is provided in the Online Music Book to help students practice.Last but not the least, Virtual Online Classes are made available on a weekly basis for students in the Virtual Online Courses and these classes are mad available on request on a per need basis for those who enroll into self-study courses. Software Tools Online Music Book contains a host of software tools including the OM Riyaaz practice recorder, online Tanpura or Shruti box to set a pitch and ability to save practice recordings and ask for teacher’s feedbackAll assignments and diagnostic quizzes to help understand the progress of the students are made available onlineA certificate generator generates the student’s certificate on successful completion of a course

How does the online learning experience compare with in-person learning? Or Skype?

Shankar Mahadevan Academy offers the same curriculum and pedagogy as traditional learning and also bolsters learning by leveraging technology. Some of the benefits of learning online are:

  • The convenience of learning from home, including evening and weekend hours
  • A structured curriculum developed by highly respected artists and teachers with milestone learning as against traditional learning which is mostly open-ended
  • An Online Music Book (OM Book) for learning and practising concepts anytime during the course
  • Well trained teachers to support learning
  • Virtual Class recordings and detailed study plan for reviewing prior or missed classes
  • Levels, assessments, and certifications to demonstrate mastery
  • Regular assessments, gradings and a certificate signed by Shankar Mahadevan

Can I change my class, teacher, or class time while I am in a course?

Please note that change in classes is subject to availability of time slots, teachers etc. However, we do not encourage changes to be made to the class schedule in between the program. Having the same teacher within the classroom enhances the learning experience, as different teachers have different methods of teaching. Please be assured that we will look into your request, and in case of genuine need for the change in schedule, we will do our best to assist you.

Does one 45-minute class in a group setting provide enough time to learn?

Absolutely. In the 45 minute online class, the student has no distractions. Unlike classroom trainings, there are no large groups in an online environment. The maximum class size for any online class is 3. If we have less than 3 registrations by the start date, we would still continue with the class for the students who have enrolled. For a small group, a focussed 45 minute class covers sufficient material for the student to practice for the entire week before the next class.

Learning Materials

What are the learning materials available to me ?

Every Academy student has access to the following learning materials:

  • OM Book – this will contain all the learning materials for the course you have enrolled in inlcuding video and audio lessons, lyrics, notations and theory
  • Class Recordings – students have the option to purchase the recordings of their class. This enables the student to recap what the teacher had taught in a previous class
  • Practice Recordings – Practice pages in an OM Book allow students can practice a composition or a swara pattern and submit them for evaluation by their teachers
  • Assessments – Regular assessments help students solidify their knowledge of the concepts as well as the compositions being taught

What is an OM Book, and how does it help me to learn?

The OM Book, or Online Music Book, is a self-paced learning tool. Students learn and practice weekly lesson material before each virtual class by reviewing assigned chapters and pages in the course OM Book. OM Books can include instructional video from renowned artists, music history, notations, quizzes, recorders for practice, and more.
Learning from the OM Book has a number of advantages over pure face-to-face learning:

  • It allows students to learn before each virtual class on their own time, at their own pace It provides rare access to exceptional quality instruction from renowned artists
  • It enables students to go back and practice what they have learned at any time
  • It provides tools such as recorders that aren’t available in traditional class settings

It encourages and guides regular practice, which is the key to successful learning.

Will I have access to all the OM books from my previous courses?

You will have access to all the OM books from your previous courses as long as you are a student of the academy.

Is it mandatory to have an electronic Shruti box?

Having a Shruti box or a Tanpura app is mandatory for all students enrolled into a vocal class because it is important to practice at one’s own pitch every time. You can either buy a Shruthi box (or) download it online. We recommend the following electronic tempura to buy online:

1. Ragini – available on www.haribhauvishwanath.com
2. Magic Plus – from Radel available on www.radelindia.com
3. iTablaPro – https://itunes.apple.com/in/app/itablapro-tabla-tanpura-player/id337350026?mt=8

The OM book also provides you with a tenpura that can be used while practising, however, please do not play the tanpura in your OM Book during a class as there will be a feedback effect that will diminish the class quality.

What are practice recordings?

As music is perfected through practice, the Academy encourages students to spend some time every day practicing through the OM book. The OM book has Practice Pages (marked in Red in your Table of Contents), which include the concept video and notations along with a recorder in the same page making it convenient for a student to listen practice and record their singing till they get it right

Is it mandatory to have a Taal Mala?

Yes, a Taal Mala is mandatory for all students enrolled in Hindustani classical courses above 102. You can either buy a Taal Mala (or) download it online. We recommend the following Taal Mala to buy online: 1.Radel Digi-100 2.iTabla for iPhone/iPod/iPad

Are all practice recordings graded?

Practice sections are provided for the student to practice and master the concept and are not graded. Teacher provides feedback on the strengths and areas of improvement for practice submissions.

What if I am unable to learn in the 12 weeks?

Different students learn at different paces. While our curriculum is designed to cover all the lesson plans in 12 weeks, we understand that this may not be possible all the time for all the students.  If you need to spend more time in a course, we provide the option of purchasing “Add-On” Classes. These are one to one sessions with the teachers and may be requested :

  • If you wish to spend more time on specific concepts or if you have missed any classes.
  • Teachers can recommend add-on classes to you to bring you up to speed.

Around the middle of the course i.e. the 6th class, the teacher will assess your progress and advise you on taking add-on classes should you require it.

Grading and Certification

Do I get a Certificate after the completion of my course?

Yes, our Hindustani Vocals, Carnatic Vocals and Voice Gym courses are Certification courses. You will be expected to submit regular assessments which will be graded by your teacher. At the end of your course, you will have a summative assessment and receive a report card and a certificate signed by Shankar Mahadevan.

Are my Assessments graded?

Yes, all assessments are graded and contribute towards your overall grade for the course

Your grade will depend on the total marks you receive for all assignments and your summative class performance

Grade Percent
High Honors 90-100
Honors 80-89
Satisfactory 70-79
Course Complete 60-69
Needs Practice 0-59
N/A Withdrawal

What if I don't want to submit assessments?

For those of you who consider music to be a  hobby to indulge in rather than a skill, you wish to gain mastery may opt for an Audit Course. An Audit Course will NOT require you to submit any assessments, rather, your teacher will evaluate your skills in the final class of your course and provide you with a summative assessment which will indicate your progress.
You will receive a Participation Certificate ONLY at the end of an Audit Course.

What if I am in a Certification course but do not submit my assessments?

If you miss the end date of your assessments, you will not receive any marks for the same. This will affect your final grade.

Missing A Class

In what cases, I will be offered a make up class?

  • A make-up class will be offered by the Academy for the following reasons:
  • The Academy teacher is unavailable for a class.
  • Technical problems arising from the Academy’s (Teacher) end.
  • Student requests a reschedule
    • A maximum of 2 classes will be provided by the Academy due to student request or if student is absent
    • The student needs to make an email request for a reschedule at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled class

The Academy will strive to provide a make-up class before the next scheduled class to ensure continuity of the course. The make-up class should be availed before the next scheduled class.For any class that is missed by students, the Academy also makes class recordings available (for requisite courses) for the students to review before the next class.

What happens if I miss a class?

To catch up on the lost class you can review the study plan along with the OM book and class recordings.

You can also send practice recordings for feedback to the teacher, which will enable you to catch-up on the material before the next class. Apart from this, you may also buy a 1-1 Add-on class during the week, which will be scheduled based on the teacher’s availability.

Can I download the recorded videos of the class?

You may opt to purchase the recordings of your classes to download. You may avail this option at the time of enrollment or any time during the course within 30 days of the last class. Your purchased recordings will be available to you for 30 days after the last class or 30 days after the date of purchase, whichever is later.

If I miss a class due to technical issues, can I make up the class?

Before starting with any course, please go through the technical requirements for the course. Once you have ensured that you have all the necessary equipment for the course, you can test your system by clicking on the “Test Your System” tab in the right side of your welcome page.

Due to unavoidable circumstances beyond the control of the Academy, like technical issue/teacher not available, the class will be rescheduled. An extra class will be added to make up for the same, within the period of the course.

Technical Issues

I am unable to register online. What do I do?

Please ensure that you have gone through the steps to register for the classes as follows:

  • In the courses section of the website, select the genre of music you are interested in (Hindustani, Carnatic, Hindi Movie Songs, Devotional songs)
  • Among the selected genre, please select the course that you would like to register for.
  • Next click on Enroll Now and complete the registration step
  • Next select Adult/Kid, check the pre-requisites (if any) and select your batch timings
  • Proceed to checkout and pay the course fees and you are done!

If you still have trouble with the registration, email us at admissions@shankarmahadevanacademy.com, with which specific course you are interested in enrolling for, and we will get back to you with availability.

I am unable to log in/I forgot my password.

If you have forgotten your password or your password is not working, click on “forgot password”. next to login in the upper right corner of the website. A link to reset your password will be sent to your registered email ID. If you do not receive the email, check your spam/junk mail folder.

How do I test my Webex setup?

Check your system requirements using this link:

Once on the page click the blue ‘System Test’ button on the top right.
Click on the link to test class. 
This should open a page where you can enter your email and name and click on ‘Test a Meeting’ to test if your Webex session is working.

I am having network issues/voice and sound clarity or lag issues.

Please check with your network provider in case of network issues. Voice and sound lags could also be due to your network connection andor problems with your headset. In order to avoid this , we recommend that you check your system at least 15 minutes prior to each class. In case of any other questions, contact us atsupport@shankarmahadevanacademy.com.

I am unable to view some pages in the OM book

Please check the following:

  • Make sure you have downloaded the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader (PDF plug in)
  • If you are using a Mac book, try using a different browser in the sequence – Internet Explorer, Firefox with plug in, Google Chrome, Safari
  • Log off and log back in. This often helps if the line is unclear.
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