Role Of Music In Students’ Life and Career – Q&A With Dharini Upadhayaya, Co founder & CEO, Furtados School of Music

Mental health illnesses are on the rise in the country owing to the stressful lives adults and children are leading. While technology is making advances to get people closer virtually, it is also impacting the mental health of the younger generation – there is a significant rise in the number of anxiety attacks, panic attacks, and other stress-related mental illness’.


Making a tangible difference in this space is Dharini Upadhayaya, Co-CEO of Furtados School of Music. After working as the Product Head at Barclays Bank for many years she established Furtados School of Music in 2010 along with Tanuja Gomes. The school brings organized music education to children across age groups in partnership with leading schools in India. Their latest initiative is to bring quality music learning right at the doorstep of music aspirants.


A music lover, Dharini has successfully combined her strengths to become an entrepreneur with a difference. Art and MBA graduate from Pune University, Dharini comes with 12 years of experience in the banking industry and 8 years in music education now. Dharini aspired to bring music education in our country, that will symbolize quality and consistency and rich curriculum where children will inherit a life of joy by learning music.


Upadhyaya’s passion for music has motivated her to pioneer and standardize musical education in India. Working with 150+ schools across India, she now strongly believes music helps children relieve stress and create well-balanced personalities.


In an elaborate interaction with Baishali Mukherjee of, Upadhayaya shared interesting details and insights about the endeavor.


What was the idea behind launching Furtados School of Music? 


My dream was to build something of impact and bring a difference in our community. I have always been very passionate about Arts and had a dream while growing up to build an arts school which included music and dance. I am blessed that my dream came true and today we are part of the largest music education movement. Furtados, with its 154 years lineage are leaders in the space of music. Together we embarked on this journey to enable the best music learning experience for our students.


Throughout its musical journey FSM has garnered quite a lot of achievements testifying the hard work that stands behind the vision of FSM. Today FSM is spreading the joy of music education to over 75,000 students across 189 K-12 schools and preschools and 15 excellence centres. The school has made it receive numerous awards especially in “Pedagogy of Music education”.


FSM faculty consists of highly motivated and passionate teachers drawn from a diverse mix of experienced and young musicians from India and abroad. The roster of instruments and programmes currently include piano, electronic keyboard, guitar, drums, violin and vocal and is continuously revamped to include demand for new instruments and programmes. Integral to FSM’s success is a world-class curriculum designed by leading educators from across the world. The course is comprehensive and gives equal emphasis to music theory. It combines modern and effective methods of teaching with traditional elements of music learning.


What does the Furtados School of Music do differently?


 The three pillars of FSM are, an extremely passionate team, an award winning curriculum and cutting edge technology. Together we have a unique and differentiated product, enabling an experience which is unparallel to anyone in our industry. We were the first to bring large scale music instrument learning in a curriculum format in schools in India. This exists for over decades in west. We are the first in technology, enabling practise at home, the student can know immediately through software on how they are playing and the areas where they need to practise further.


The Course and the Curriculum


  • Award-Winning Curriculum, agreat blend of modern techniques and traditional principles
  • Singing, sight-reading, listening and composing.
  • Annual performance, is the core of our teaching
  • Examinations, international accreditation, Trinity College, London

FSM Buddy


  • Innovative platformhelps you practice and improvise at every step of your music journey.
  • Practice your instruments in front of the application with lessons that are uploaded by teachers.
  • Use our practice tool regularly and see the difference in playing


Our Partners


Berklee School of Music – Associate Partners
One of the world’s finest institute of contemporary music and performing arts


NMIMS – Curriculum Partners
Degree and a Diploma program in music for aspiring musicians.


Trinity College of London – Accreditation Board
We help prepare our students for such international examinations.


At the Core it’s all about performances


Band It: The biggest inter-school music competition of India

Cadence: Our Annual Day music festival marks the completion of a year of studies at FSM.


Our Teaching Fraternity


We only have the best with us!!

FSM’s music teachers are talented, patient and skilled. In short, they possess all the qualities one looks for in an efficient and effective music teacher.


Workshops and Master Class


Regular workshops & Masterclasses facilitated by inviting eminent artists from the world of Music.


What does it take to be a woman entrepreneur in India today?


When we started our journey, we honestly never felt any different; we were just “entrepreneurs” chasing our dreams. However, we did notice different reactions from everyone. When I quit my high ranking banking job, probably the feeling among colleagues was that I am taking it easy, building something quaint and small. The truth is that this job was far bigger than what I was doing and required a lot of hard work and determination. The seriousness of our dream is today visible to all. One big advantage that I have seen as a women entrepreneur is that focus and empathy comes naturally. We have built one of the best FSM family cultures across our 300+ team members, with pioneering systems and processes.


Where do you see Furtados School of Music in the next five years?

Going by the data that I came across recently, there are more than 1.4 m K12 schools in India. In all these schools, students are learning their regular academic subjects. We want to provide music curriculum/ execution in all these schools. Our dream is that the future generation of learners be given opportunities to learn music, a skill which will help them at the personal level immensely.


What are the possible impacts of this initiative?


Music and society is intimately linked. Both are subjective, non-concrete conceptualizations that are constantly changing and have monumental effects on human behaviour. Understanding the deep connection between the two makes it clear that music education is a crucial part of a healthy society. The two facets to look at are music history and music performance, both yielding distinct benefits. The benefits are both sociological and socio-psychological; that is both group-oriented and individualized.


How are students benefitted through Furtados School of Music?


A number of experimental and correlational studies have explored the interrelationship between learning music and language skills. Listening to music is argued to provide effective experiences for children to hone their listening skills, exemplified by the ‘Mozart effect’. It is proposed that language and music share relevant neural processing mechanisms, utilize similar regions of the brain and during the early developmental years children may actually mentally process language as a type of music. We believe the society will prosper greatly from a more inclusive music curriculum in secondary schools and thus should be a top priority for school boards.


How music is beneficial to children and adults?


Learning to play a musical instrument has so many benefits – whether it’s building your confidence, enhancing your memory or widening your social circle.


Few of the benefits are:


  • Playing an instrument makes you smarter
  • Improvement in social life
  • Relieves stress
  • Playing an instrument gives you a sense of achievement
  • It builds your confidence
  • Practising a musical instrument improves patience
  • It helps improve your memory
  • It increases discipline and time management skills
  • Playing music makes you more creative
  • Playing music is fun!


Need for music education in India to let them free from anxiety and deal with peer pressure 


We have been asked this question a lot of times and each and every time our answer has been firm.  “Music education is extremely important for child development”.Music binds the body and mind working together in harmony. Now imagine this amalgamation of body and mind taking place from childhood. In talking about the need for a well-rounded education and we have been consistently invoking the importance of music education


Using music as a stress management tool is not only great for adults but can be useful for children as well, according to research. The earlier we teach children how to cope with stress and anxiety, the better they will be later on in life. Giving them the tools can help to improve their quality of life and reduce suffering later on.


Using music as a way to cope with stress and anxiety has many health benefits. There are so many different ways to use music as a stress management tool. You can listen to it, create it, or play an instrument. There is also the option of finding a professional trained in music therapy. Whatever form you decide to use music in your life, the effects can be helpful. Stress and anxiety may never go away completely, but you can reduce their effects by using music.


How schools are adding music in their curricula for mental peace


Due to the immense benefits of music education presents, music education should ideally be made a part of every school’s curriculum. We conducted a survey across schools to understand what the teaching faculty thinks about this.


In this survey, we asked school teachers if they think music education is important for child development & if music education should be made a part of the school curriculum. Of the 14,000 who participated in the survey, 92% teachers replied in affirmative and think that music education is very important at a school level and it should be made an integral part of the school curriculum.In fact, a lot of teachers had a unified opinion about making music education mandatory in the school curriculum. Being in the field of education, teachers understand the value of adding music education as a part of the curriculum, because they have learned and realized how music education can positively impact children.We are proud to say that 8 out of 10 schools we meet, the educators want a music programme. We currently have over 180 K12 schools and preschools partnerships.

There are several approaches through which music education can be imparted in schools –


  • Schools can introduce Pre-primary music lessons that help in maximum nerve connection.
  • Schools can take the initiative of adding music sessions to their existing curriculum.
  • Schools can license our music learning programme, which can be executed by their teachers. This is a structured, grade wise progressive curriculum. We have both western and Hindustani music curriculum for schools.


Music as a career and its scope in India at large


Undoubtedly, music is such a universal language, it has the power to transcend all geographical boundaries. I hear a lot of parents question if Music can be a career path? If there is enough scope in India for music. Today with the explosion of data, there are a huge amounts of opportunities to create content and earn a very good livelihood. Music is not just instrument playing, but there are various other opportunities, such as –


  • Music journalist
  • Disc Jockey
  • Radio Jockey
  • Sound Engineer
  • Music events promoter
  • Talent scout
  • Lyricist/composer
  • Music manager
  • Music therapist
  • Instrumentalist
  • Record label owner
  • Playback singer
  • Music arranger
  • Music teacher
  • Musician/Performance Artist


The good news is that pioneering colleges such as NMIMs, now offer a graduation program in music.


You might also like to read the following articles:


A Career in Music

Best Music to Listen While Studying

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