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Voice Print: Music to All Ears

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Voice Print, an award-winning band, has as of now established itself as one of the most dynamic and talented musical groups in Sri Lanka. The band was formed when a few choristers of St. Benedict’s College got together to bring joy to people through their singing. There onwards they journeyed to fame winning several awards and collaborating with renowned artistes in Sri Lanka. Another turning point in this journey is the launch of the Voice Print Academy (VPA) which is intended to shape the future of children who are passionate about music. Directors of VPA, Dilan Irugalbandara and Matheesha Udawatte, reveal how they inspire the children who love music through their academy.

Q. What made you launch the Voice Print Academy?

A. The Academy was started in 2017 as we observed that there was a serious gap or lack of good quality vocal training classes in certain areas. We wanted to utilise the knowledge and experience we have obtained in the music industry and create a space for young musicians to find their voice and help bring it out to the real world.

Q. Explain how the Academy has grown over the years?

A. We started one class with about 10 students at the Voice Print Studio in Wattala. At present, we have over 200 students enthusiastically attending a variety of classes at the Voice Print Academy. Even today, our academy at the Voice Print Studio in Wattala remains our main centre. However, we have expanded to Negombo and Colombo, and will be extending further to Kandy this year. We provide both online vocal training classes and in-studio vocal training classes.

We also conduct guitar, piano and drum lessons. We are planning to start music theory classes based on international and local syllabuses along with violin classes later this year. Additionally, we have started online classes for Sri Lankan students living in Australia as well. At present, we conduct classes for toddlers, youngsters (aged 4-7), juniors (aged 8-10), intermediates (aged 11-15) and seniors (age 16 and above). We at VPA believe it is never too early to start singing and it is never too late either.

Q. The recent Covid-19 pandemic affected all areas of life. How do you think music supported the children in that context?

A. We observed that during the early stages of the pandemic, children needed support and an outlet to express and have fun and be passionate – that was exactly what we targeted and aimed to provide to all local and international students. We curated our classes in such a way so that each child was given enough attention as we do not overboard our classes. We were able to keep the students busy and engaged in meaningful musical activities, projects and exercises. We could train kids online to win the World Virtual Choir Games, write original songs and release them, and perform various home music videos as well. Joining our music classes helped the children cope with stress, isolation and unease created due to the pandemic situation.

Q. What kind of exposure do children get through the Academy to grow as skilled musicians or performers?

A. We have multiple projects planned for children to improve every aspect of their music performances. They include Independence Day projects and various other music videos, annual concerts, international competitions such as the Somerset music festival, world choir games, music workshops and fun gatherings for various occasions such as Avurudu and Christmas. We also organise many charity events and activities to give back to society and make a positive impact on the lives of those who come in contact with us. All these events basically provide a platform for all the children to perform freely and enjoy music while learning from the best.

Q. How do parents respond to the training their children receive?

A. The parents are incredibly supportive and happy with our curriculum and the exposure we provide for the students. Our main focus is to get the children highlighted and get them to shine as much as possible. We are merely not training the kids to develop their voices. We focus on transforming them into complete performers and artistes. We also put a great amount of focus to make the children better humans whilst engaging in music. We encourage the students to do good and give back to society using their musical talents via various charity projects we have planned.

Q. What are the achievements and accolades you have received so far?

A. At the Somerset festival, we had two students from the Academy who were awarded as best performers. We also received an award from the Somerset festival for training the highest number of best performers among all the other countries.

In addition, VPA trained the children in a song-writing workshop and guided the intermediate students to write and compose the first original Christmas song that the kids sang and it aired on many local radio stations.

The young musicians of the Voice Print Music Academy trained by us represented Sri Lanka at the third Bandung Choral Society World Virtual Choir Festival 2021 (WVCF 2021) held from April 30 to May 7. The Voice Print Music Academy choir performed a rendition of the all-time-favourite Michael Jackson song “Will you be there” with their own Sri Lankan twist. The Voice Print Music Academy was specially recognised by the jury for their electric performance and thereby received a special award for the “Most Expressive Performance” at the WVCF 2021 in their respective category. They also then received the highest score for the performance and snatched the gold medal and were awarded as the winners of the World Virtual Choir Festival 2021.

Q. What are the future plans of the Academy? How do you plan to develop it?

A. We have a whole bunch of goals and targets to achieve within this year itself. We are planning to expand to more areas in Sri Lanka, while focusing on our overseas classes where Sri Lankan kids in various other countries connect with us to develop their musical talents. We plan to do more charity work and help build young musicians around the country via an islandwide talent search and music workshops. All the events VPA organises will be aimed at giving the students more international and local exposure and will enable our students to release more meaningful music to the world.


Thursday, April 28, 2022 – 01:00

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