Trill Route Music Academy: Where your Musical Journey Begins
Varun Raj, Co-founder & Directors, Aarabhy Surendran, Co-founder & Directors

It is said of music that without it, life would be a mistake.

Thankfully, most lives have music in some form or the other, be it prepared or inadvertent. The mistake that invariably creeps in, in most cases is that music of the kind which could enrich our lives in a myriad of ways is either not taught the right way or not made available the right way for learning. And when it does, it’s available only to a select few at exorbitant costs with little in the name of standards and pre-set curriculums. A situation that has existed in India and to an extent, most parts of the world for ages in the name of education and career in music is all set to change.

Bringing humongous changes in the way music is taught, learnt, imbibed, and propagated is one institution that has taken upon itself the task of changing the very paradigm right from the grass-root.

The Trill Route Music Academy

It all started in 2016 at Bangalore with Co-founders and Directors, Varun Raj and Aarabhy Surendran. The founders were professionally touring musicians even before starting the academy and were students of music from the age of 7. Although infotech and aerospace engineering was their dissertation, music was always parallelly pursued predominantly from a very young age Accolades, adulation and accreditations coming their way, they nevertheless noted a distinct gap in the way music was taught, learnt, practiced and imbibed in India which extended to even the thought of taking up music as a career given the “unsafe” tag it carried when compared to the likes of engineering, medicines and commerce.

But then music is music like food is food, a necessity. If food could be an industry with its own qualification-based education and career, why not music they surmised. Aiding their efforts to bring a semblance of “industry” with its own standards, educational content and qualifications, and well-defined job profiles is the fact that communication, of which music is an important, important part is going through the roof, when it comes to the quantum of content requirements and variations, formats and genres, ways of communication in terms of gadgets, technology of recording and mixing and so on.

Exhibiting Excellence

The Trill Route Music Academy is then the solution that by its very thought shall bring change sure to benefit not just music lovers but also allied industries and sectors while providing employment and opportunities to sizable numbers who remain qualified and capable. A look at the Academy’s USPs:

An inspiring ambience that promotes the right learning environment which include:

  • Acoustically engineered classrooms to help develop required sound quality,
  • In-house recording studio for students to explore and create their own music
  • Well-equipped recital space and classrooms with professional grade instruments and sound systems.

A well-thought mix of short and long-term programs in subjects as varied as Western Contemporary Guitar, Keyboard, Piano, Ukulele, Drums, Violin, Western Vocals, Hindustani Vocals and, – Professional courses in Music Production.

– Curriculum highlights

  • Course content based on contemporary styles to develop usable skills for modern performing musicians with a strong focus on composition, improvisation and production for those aspiring to become independent musicians for sectors as varied as commercial movies, ad films, teaching, performing artists or even providing transcribing and other services for industries with audio divisions like gaming & radio
  • Seamless balance of technical work, music theory, repertoire, ear training, guided music listening and most importantly creativity.
  • Students are certified on the basis of recitals and ensemble evaluations.
  • Student Assessment Program (S.A.P), a Trill Route exclusive that’s far removed from the traditional system of evaluation.

Here evaluations done at strategic intervals consist of one-on-one faculty reviews, peer reviews and student recitals which lead to further fine tuning, and development in music and learning.

  • DISCOVERY, a yearly event where the student-pool works for over 300 hours in ensemble preparation thus helping students step into the shoes of professional musicians.
  • Proactive hosting of events, workshops, masterclasses, and discussions to strengthen the local student community of musicians.

What started as a Guitar-only school delivering quality education at affordable prices, saw a surge in demand. This led to their opening up to teaching varied forms of music in all their complexities at the hands of qualified and competent teachers and gurus who came with the same mind set. Demand for this form of teaching has seen them extend their footprint all over India and even beyond to places as far away as Dubai, US, and Australia.

The Root Notes

An idea develops into an edifice because someone cared to add the steel. At Trill Route Academy that steel was imparted by duo Co-founders and Directors, Varun Raj and Aarabhy Sudrendran who cut their teeth in the field for close to two decades. In their long and cherished career, Varun rose to fame with his band – “The Down Troddence” and is famous as a prolific session artist with over 20 films and 50 independent works under his name as also a Laney Amplification endorsee. He was awarded the “Best Guitarist of the Year” by Rolling Stones alongside 8 awards under Critic’s Choice & Popular Choice for the Album. This paved the way for international recognition for their own composition by Chris Adler of Lamb of God & Alex Skolnick of the Testament. He is also known for past collaborations with known for past collaborations with Motherjane and an upcoming project “Floe”. Aarabhy too remains a respected musician with innings as long as Varun’s which saw her perform and judge known cultural festivals in India like the BITS Goa Cultural Festival, JIPMER Cultural Festival Pondicherry, Anna University Cultural Festival Chennai, TAPMI Manipal Brand Scan Cultural Festival Bangalore to name some. She has in the past collaborated with the likes of Baiju Dharmajan Syndicate and was a featured artist with The Down Troddence. She was awarded the Best Guitarist by The Hindu, Chennai Live with past endorsements including IRET Guitar Enhancements With founders so accomplished, it was just a question of time before the academy too would show its mettle. It started with a quality certification, the coveted ISO 9001:2015 followed by an international affiliation for examinations with the RSL Awards of the UK for Western Contemporary Music Examinations & Certifications. Its community engagement initiatives have seen collaboration with accomplished musicians from Spain, U.S, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand besides those in India.

Expanding Horizons

The Covid-19 pandemic did prove a dampener on the institute’s plans to develop and expand its activities. That said, they have learnt from it and are in the process of harnessing technology to further strengthen the existing online infrastructure for music education and services. Their Learning Management System is undergoing extensive restructuring and streamlining to cater to the increasing demand.

Curriculum development and assistive learning aids, their core focus areas shall be scaled up in the near future. These besides, the institute is also looking to create more platforms to increase community engagement through online and offline resources.

In the end, it all boils down to a thought which in the case of Trill Route Academy is: “Our students and the musical community that we help build, are like the music we make. They embody our commitment to our art & uphold our musical image in their own way. We love our people and are constantly inspired by their stories.”

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