As Preetam Venglet sang Papa Kehte Hai Bada Naam Karega at his school farewell party many years ago, little did he realise that he would not only become a renowned performer and music teacher, but also train all his children into becoming young performers. They recently performed at the World Music Day celebrations as the ‘Musicology’ team.
Preetam recalls, “My childhood was spent in Kerala and I initially learnt music from my mother, Pama Venglet. Everyone in our family, including my cousins, were interested in music and singing. For any small occasion, the guitars would come out and singing would continue till late into the night. Such was the passion that we would play rhythms on ‘buckets’ as there were no drums at home!”
He adds, “We then shifted to Bengaluru and for a short while, I learnt the piano. But since there was no instrument at home, I had to discontinue it. I then started learning guitar when I was around fifteen years old and took lessons from my mother and cousin for vocals. At this point of time, my family was a bit concerned about me taking up music so seriously, since one of my cousins was quite deep into music but had taken to drugs.”
Preetam continues, “But my music journey continued. I came to Hyderabad in 2001 and started teaching at a private school. After about two years, I shifted back to Bengaluru and was working daytime for companies in customer service while I pursued music in my leisure time.”
In 2013, Preetam returned to Hyderabad to work for a software company. “It was a very short stint and before I could jump into the new assignment, the pink slip was given. For a few months, I was stuck at home not knowing what to do. It’s during these difficult times that I decided to dedicate my time and life to music. I started taking home tuitions and trained all my children in music. My eldest son, Pratinav plays the guitar and sings in a group. Pradyun plays the keyboard and also sings. The youngest Prasidh is developing his vocal skills,” says Preetam proudly.
“I have been learning music for a short while and enjoying it. It’s nice to learn from my father,” says Pradyun while Pratinav adds, “Guitar is an amazing instrument and I have been playing in my school choir. I like rock and pop genres. I am a little nervous and have stage fear, but I could manage a prize winning solo performance when Dad accompanied me on the guitar. He is a good teacher, but strict at times.”
Preetam feels that the western music scenario in Hyderabad has a long way to go. “Most of the western classical music teaching in Hyderabad is focused on ‘exams’. The basics and techniques of music are all inclined towards appearing for exams and getting certificates which are valued all over the world. Children must develop a habit of listening. They need to work out the music themselves and play compositions that inspire them. We should not force them to practice and play just for the sake of certificates,” he cautions.