As my stay at BSM is going to an end, I would like to share some impressions of one of the last weeks with you – it really has been a busy time. Since January, we had the visits of Cellist Albin Ackermann, Guitarist Lazare Cherouana and Harpist Rahel Schweizer, and also Maria Rapp, Christian Berger and Ranko Markovic who are part of the team supporting this program at ZHdK. Meanwhile on-going was the East-West Music & Dance Encounter, which is a month full of concerts from Western to Indian Classical music and dance – organized through the BSM. You can imagine, how intense and inspiring the past few weeks have been: Full of performances, workshops and encounters in both personal and musical ways.

So – to give you a better impression, let’s zoom closer to one event: The ‘Crossing Boundaries Musically’ – Concert that happened as part of the East-West-Festival in collaboration with Swissnex India (view pictures after the article). It may stand as a symbol for all the collaboration, which has happened lately between the BSM and Zurich University of the Arts. The program involved four different performances as an insight into the musical part of the collaboration:

– Sukrupa Children’s Choir led by Sheba K (BSM) and Bettina Amacher (ZHdK)
– Guitar Ensemble led by Lazare Cherouana (ZHdK) and a Solo Performance by Guitarist Nandini Sudhir (BSM)
– Solo Performance by Harpist Rahel Schweizer (ZHdK)
– String Ensemble led by Alice Yeadell (BSM) and Albin Ackermann (ZHdK)

But the evening was not only meant to be about sharing music and the joy of collaborating in that way, but also about giving insights about how the participants of the project have experienced the collaboration. All the performing artists have shared their personal thoughts and experiences with ‘Crossing Boundaries Musically’, with a tone of big appreciation and thankfulness for the shared time.
As a very reduced summary of my experiences here, I want to share my personal thoughts, which I shared that night, one more time with you in this blog. While organizing the event, I started to think about the title of our exchange-program – ‘Crossing Boundaries Musically’. But what actually represents this word ‘boundary’? At first, looking at the logo, you may think about the boundaries between the Indian and the Swiss culture, or about the boundaries between two institutions. But to be honest, ever since I started collaborating with different teachers from the BSM, I have never felt boundaries between us. Of course, there are differences in the education systems that influence our ways in teaching music – but exactly that is what makes collaboration rich. On the one hand we can learn from each other and enrich our methods and concepts. On the other hand, I have started to reflect my own repertoire of teaching methods much more through comparing different ways. Also, once a discussion about music pedagogy is launched, the participants of different backgrounds really have to go to the essence of what they want to express. This is as a big difference to the everyday life in your own cultural context, where you apply teaching methods without thinking about it, because they feel right in your own context.

So, coming back to the word ‘boundaries’: As I personally understand it, it means the boundaries within myself. Apart from all the discussions with different persons, my time here at the BSM exposed me to many situations I would not have found in Switzerland, for example regarding resources or perception of time. I was challenged to be more flexible and to react differently. I think, it is very important to have an open mind in this process and the spirit, that everybody and every situation you get into can be a teacher and bring you further. Even if you disagree with something – you have to reflect why you do so.

So: Be it through teaching, be it through learning Carnatic singing, be it through chats or be it through the everyday life in Bangalore – My personal boundaries definitely expanded. For that I am very grateful and I want to thank BSM, ZHdK and all its members for giving me the opportunity of experiencing five wonderful and inspiring months!