Raga Labs FAQs
Q. What is the value of Raga Labs and why should I/my child do it?
Raga Labs is a great, cost-effective, and enriching way of learning how to produce a high quality collaboration in the form of a music video. It incorporates several key learnings into one organized learning package, which you otherwise do not get all in one place at such a low cost. Teams learn how to come together as vocalists, instrumentalists and percussionists and work with each other to create a unique, interesting piece. They then develop the skill to record in a studio environment, and develop camera presence for a professional video production.
The benefits of this are several. Firstly the performer develops a skill that is not otherwise taught as part of arts training. From an individual journey of learning material and perfecting their technique, they figure out how to apply that in a group setting while interacting and collaborating – which is critical in the 21st century for any artist to do. Secondly recording in a studio environment to produce a piece that will stay online forever demands high practice and perfection which helps them gauge their strengths and weaknesses. Finally, the video becomes part of the artist’s online presence and portfolio and will show up when potential university admissions committees, recruiters, event organizers search for them. This can be an avenue to start developing a professional angle to your training under an iconic brand like Raga Labs that is known for quality and high standards.
Q. What happens after a Raga Lab? OR I’ve already done a Raga Lab, so how would the next one be different?
After a Raga Labs production is released, participants are encouraged to observe the feedback posted by audience on the piece. This can help them understand what worked and what could have been done better, so they can directly relate to the experience and implement for the future. We encourage participants to reply personally to the various comments on the IndianRaga social media channels, so that they can connect directly with audiences.
Many Raga Labs participants develop a strategy with us for building a portfolio of Raga Labs videos that they feature in, based on their interest and focus. For instance, some participants choose to stick with a pure classical domain like Carnatic music. In this case, the series of Labs they do will all be in the same genre, but the style and type of piece they choose, the improvization (manodharmam), the ragams they choose for each will vary. After doing 2-3 such Labs, they are able to start leading parts of the experience such as the creative concept, or the video screenplay, etc to gain more experience in leading entire projects.
Some others on the other hand, choose to build a portfolio involving diverse genres. They may start with one genre, but opt for a jugalbandi next, or a collaboration with a semi-classical or western group thereafter and so on. The style and nature of each piece might vary, thus showcasing the versatility of the artist.
Finally, there are Raga Labs participants who value the opportunity to travel to different cities and collaborate with different musicians. This expands one’s network as well as helps step out of the comfort zone of working with known people. You can talk to the IndianRaga City Partner or email firstname.lastname@example.org to plan out a series of Raga Labs that work best for your interest.
Raga Labs is also best accompanied by the IndianRaga Certification. After doing a few labs, it would be best to take a suitable certification level to get feedback from an international panel of experts to help identify your strengths and weaknesses.
Raga Labs participants of an advanced level who have done a few Labs and demonstrated high ability to collaborate, be creative, and excel at the recording and video experience should consider applying to the IndianRaga Fellowship. Applicants with Raga Labs experience will have a significant and marked advantage over others when it comes to the Round 3 collaboration round.
Q. Why am I paying a fee and what does it go towards?
As a premium brand, IndianRaga invests in high quality resources through the Raga Labs process. Yet the fee is designed to be similar to your monthly music or dance class fee (Raga Labs are designed as 12 sessions over 3 months usually). Within this, we include a facilitator, feedback from our central creative expert panel on the piece, the entire shooting and post production component, along with 2 iterations to ensure the team is happy with the final draft. Your fee goes towards accounting for these costs and ensuring an output consistent with what you see on the Raga Labs channel.
Q. Can I do a Raga Lab as a solo vocalist with my own accompaniment?
No, since Raga Labs as a project is a collaborative experience, not a solo showcase. If there are 6 musicians and the nature of the piece ends up being such that only one vocalist is needed and there is strong focus on instrumentals then it may so happen that there is only one vocalist, but in general we do not allow for Raga Labs projects to be about showcasing one vocalist with the others as accompaniment. The instrumentalists for us play an equal role and are featured prominently. The videos that are most successful are the ones that have multiple vocalists facing off or interacting with each other musically.
Q. Can I produce a video on my own separately and let Raga Labs promote it?
No. To adhere to creative and quality consistency, the Raga Labs team is involved in the entire process for concept to execution, so we do not ‘acquire’ videos and purely market them on our platform.
Q. How much screen time will I get?
There is no fixed quantity of time that we are able to commit to. We instruct the facilitators, and the videographers, to focus equally on all participants. It is a combined team collaboration and you can see examples of our other videos to get a sense of what to expect. However, if you are part of a Raga Lab team and you feel that you are not being focused on enough, please make sure to bring it up to the facilitator or the Raga Labs admin team BEFORE the production so we can address it. If you go ahead and do the recording and video shoot without bring it up, we will assume that you are fine with your role in the piece. Likewise if you think in the video you have markedly lower focus, you can indicate in the video editing comments process.
Q. If I am paying a fee, why am I being asked to come up with creative ideas or learn pieces on my own to get ready for the Lab?
The whole point of this process is for it to be a learning experience. Raga Labs are designed using Action Learning principles, where the learning is embedded in the experience itself, and by encouraging participants to take the lead on certain creative elements or on driving various sub-sections of the project. If the participant is unable to implement, the facilitator is there to support of course, but we would encourage all participants to think of this as a hands-on learning experience more than a paid video production opportunity.
Q. I was told I am not ready for a Lab yet and that I should take the IndianRaga Certification. How will that help me?
Participating in a professional production experience, even at a Beginner or Intermediate level, requires perfect command and grasp over foundational concepts. For music these would be pitch, rhythm, control, dynamics, among others and for dance it would be core technique, balance, rhythm, expression and more.
The IndianRaga creative team is tasked with ensuring (to the best of their ability based on the entry that was submitted) that Raga Labs participants are at a level where they can be part of a production and gain meaningful experience from it. If you are not approved for a Lab, it means there is some more work to be done on your end to gain mastery over foundational concepts. To aid you in this process, we direct you to the IndianRaga Certification, where you can methodically get actionable feedback on your strengths and weaknesses from an international panel of experts in an organized and detailed way. This will not only help you improve and get up to speed to participate in a Raga Lab but also ensure that your artistic journey is built on a solid foundation of quality for any performance in general!