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McNally Smith Announces Partnership With Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music in India

In 1968, the Beatles traveled to India to immerse themselves in the country’s rich musical and spiritual culture. Their transcendent experience resulted in the White Album—widely considered the Fab Four’s most creative and ambitious work.

Now, students at McNally Smith College of Music are invited to take advantage of the same amazing opportunity the lads from Liverpool did many years ago. President Harry Chalmiers and Vice President/Provost Cliff Wittstruck have struck an alliance with the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music (SAM), located 80 km south of Chennai, India, allowing for students from McNally Smith to attend SAM and vice versa. The exchange could start as early as Fall 2012.

“Our concern is not just with music education, but with education of the whole person,” Chalmiers says. “Travel and study abroad programs provide an unusually rich environment for learning and development to take place.Our board, faculty and students are excited to partner with SAM and look forward to a new chapter in multicultural educational experience.”

The partnership increases the international reach of McNally Smith, which already boasts a strong relationship with the Shenyang Conservatory of Music in China. According to Wittstruck, The Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music is a school of communal learning: Students and faculty reside in the same apartment complex and learning transpires 24 hours a day.

“The Swarnabhoomi Academy provides an unusual and highly interesting approach to music study in comparison to western style education,” Wittstruck says. “It is an immersion system where the teachers and students spend most of their time together sharing classes,meals, rehearsals, and performances as a fully integrated group. The performance level of the students at SAM is very high. In turn, we hope to share our educational programs at McNally Smith with those who are interested in continuing their study in the US toward a degree. This exchange will enrich our campus environment by having more cultural and ethnic diversity.”

 About Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music

Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music is a modern gurukula commune of learning, about 80 km from Chennai in Swarnabhoomi. SAM’s 4 acre campus is located in beautiful lush green surroundings where the soul of rural India shines. The breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, an awe inspiring night sky and a magical quietude provide a fitting backdrop for making creative music. In the centuries old traditional Indian gurukula system of learning for classical music, the student lives together with the teacher and acquires a much deeper educational experience that is as much learning about life as it is about music.

Blending this concept with a modern western educational system of learning and driven by a uniquely designed curriculum that focuses on true multiculturalism in music, SAM is a quintessential global music school. At SAM, learning happens 24 hours. To find an impromptu Clave-meets-Carnatic or Samba-meets-Kopanitsa jam sessions on tables with knives, spoons and forks in our dining room at any time of the day is part of everyday life here.

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