Using Music as an International Language to Inspire
Music producer, composer, music educator, event organiser and musician for 4 different bands in Singapore. Rupak started his career by playing original music at Going Om, followed by performing live Mexican music at Piedra Negra on the streets of Haji Lane. He first ventured into teaching at the Overseas Family School, mentoring students through his personal experience as a musician. Through Verlocal, Rupak now provides private guitar classes for people of all ages, and experience levels. As his music teaching career grows, Rupak continues to gain exposure and hone his skills through live performances. At the end of 2017, he will be travelling with his band Mantravine with support from Singapore International Foundation to play in one of the biggest 5-day music festivals in New Zealand called Twisted Frequency.
1. Tell us about your background: When did you first become inspired to do what you love?
A few years ago I was invited to become a guitar teacher at the Overseas Family International School, where I spent a fulfilling 2 years teaching students between the ages of 5 to 16. Unknowingly, I fell in love with my role of teaching and sharing my passion with others. During the long summer break of school, my teaching came to a halt and I was feeling empty without having students to teach. I came to the decision to create a self-sufficient mechanism of providing private guitar classes so I could continue my passion of teaching music during the holiday periods. Through this, Private Guitar Class was born.
2. Tell us about your biggest achievement since you started your music career.
I never received or was able to afford a formal music education. Thanks to life, my music education has been gifted through learning directly from musical masters in Mexico, India, Singapore, Malaysia, online courses and playing for thousands of people in 6 bands. Over a year ago I set out to make a course on how to read, write, sing and play music scores with a musical master from USA named Seth Rouse. I didn’t know how to read but I could teach and think from the perspective of a student. We used our combined knowledge and expertise to make an affordable online course accessible to all musical instruments and ages. Making this course has been the biggest achievement in my life and I’m super excited make more courses for the community.
3. What was your biggest challenge when you first started your business and what inspires you to continue building your business?
I faced problems finding students for classes at the initial stages of this business. I perservered by constantly learning how to be a better teacher and creating online content. As a result, students kept coming back and referred me to their friends so I’m very thankful that the community put their trust in me. Throughout this entire journey, a never ending drive to learn to be a better teacher and openness to feedback kept me going and hungry to connect with more students. My students have been one of my biggest inspirations. I am extremely lucky to have been given a deeper understanding of patience and time through teaching and guiding my students, a massive reward for being a teacher.
4. Can you share with us what your passion means to you?
“No playing, no progress. I try to teach people to play music rather than practice because practising can feel like a tiring chore but playing usually feels like your falling in love.”
If I'm passionate about something, the fulfilment that I derive from it is infinite. Since I started PGC, it has evolved into a music education platform that helps connect students and teachers to each other. When it comes to turning your passion into, a full-time gig, financial instability to make ends meet can put one off from doing so. Strangely enough, when I went through this, it inspired me to start producing a free online guitar course to help anyone who wishes to get started on learning the guitar. My 1st course turned out to be a catalyst to create the 2nd called “Read & Play Music Rhythms.” This inexpensive resource is designed to help others who desire to learn how to read & play music scores as well as share their musical ideas with other musicians. The passion to keep going automatically fuels itself and I’ve observed that PGC has already become greater than what I could have ever imagined.
5. How has privateguitarclass impacted your community and the people who support it?
Everyone enters the musical journey at different points in life and has different learning capabilities. We guide students in their journey by either allowing them to choose their own path of what they want to learn or providing them with the capabilities to find a path of their own. Whether you’re interested in learning just the basics or a large variety of music styles, we present positive challenges every lesson to cater to your individual needs. We welcome students of all levels as long as you have the passion to learn. Our personalised one-on-one experience is what brings the greatest impact to the guitar community as we recognize that everyone has different needs and do our best to match them. Most importantly, I strongly believe in teaching people the art of enjoying while playing rather than practising.
6. Are there any exciting courses you have in store for the near future?
I am aiming to make my next course on how to be a musical DJ in New Zealand later this year. The inspiration for this course came from a DJ friend named Loom who has taken the art of DJ-ing to a whole new level I've never experienced before. Watching Loom is like watching a psychedelic guitarist play mad solos with a mixer! Another one on the "Course-To-Make List" is aimed at learning slide guitar taught by a locally based master named Isuru Wijesoma who also teaches for us at PGC.
7. What advice can you give to people who want create a business from doing what they love?
To those who dream of starting your own businesses, remember that projects take time to grow. You need to give a project at least 5 years before you can make a fair evaluation of what it's doing for you and for the community. Most importantly, when times are bad, you have to just keep going and believe in yourself. My advice would be for you to make a choice between being all in or all out -- being half-hearted isn't sustainable.
8. What led you to choose Verlocal as your hosting site?
My opinion is that Verlocal is a platform that shares some of the coolest activities you can indulge in locally. As a service provider, it definitely has all the right processes in place to be a super guide. There has been a considerable amount of care taken to meet me in person and to be in constant communication, ensuring a collaborative vision for sharing my activities to the community. From my experience, every other service provider in this league of services lack either of these choices. With rampant technological advances, it's hard to find something so good that's so human. You can trust that you’re in good hands with Verlocal, where a good source of information and the right people are its driving factors.