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Letter from New Delhi

Trinity exams happen in over 60 countries around the world. We know that exams can be stressful times, so the Trinity team works tirelessly behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly. In this post we hear from Anjli Mata, a vital member of our team in northern India.

My journey as representative of Trinity’s New Delhi Centre began in 1999. Mrs Zohra Shaw, a respected piano and voice teacher in the city, was the TCL representative then and asked if I would like to take over the mantle as she wanted to retire.

Until then I’d only experienced the exams as a piano teacher, sending a handful of candidates for Trinity exams every year. These would be held over a couple of days at the Delhi School of Music — I remember seeing Mrs Shaw sitting outside the exam hall with a flask of coffee and biscuits for the examiner! So I thought: why not? It can’t be that hard! Little did I know that it would be a life-changing experience.

To go back a bit, I grew up in the ‘City of Joy’ — Calcutta (now Kolkata). There I learnt music much against my mother’s wishes, who thought I should imbibe classical Indian art and culture rather than taking up a little-heard-of hobby. Later, I think that she was happy that I kept my resolve.

My work as a rep started in May 1999 when I was handed a single carton containing syllabuses, return sheets and entry forms. Mrs Shaw then retired to the cooler climes of Simla to be with her family. Totally clueless as to what I should do I turned to London and linked up with Abigail McElheron via email (my first foray with the internet) who became my guide, mentor and is now a good friend. With her help I entered my first batch of 45 candidates and was thrilled as I had tripled the number from the year before. I organised my first teachers’ meeting in my living room. From then on there was no looking back!

Today, the number of candidates has grown by leaps and bounds. The area under me has spread to nine centres in North India and we conduct the full suite of exams offered by Trinity in performing and creative arts. The Delhi Centre was the first in India to start the Rock & Pop music exams. The Drama & Performance exams only began in 2001, but now they make up a large chunk of our entries and are gaining popularity in residential schools.

There are several reasons for the growing interest in our exams. Parents are much more aware of the value of certification and the fact that these co-curricular activities act as a stress-buster for children who have very intense academic curricula. Children today want to experiment as much as possible before they narrow down their career options. The availability and proximity of music schools and teachers makes our exams much more accessible. In addition, a large part of the growth and interest in music exams has been due to the fact that as a music teacher I have been able to guide and mentor other teachers, encouraging them to pursue successful careers in music teaching.

Besides representing Trinity, I am also principal of Theme Music Institute, which has almost 1,000 students spread across three branches in New Delhi.

I’ve enjoyed an invigorating and fulfilling 14 years with Trinity. Today, my work profile has gone beyond administration into academic and product development. Last year ended on a wonderful note when I was delighted to receive the Hon TCL award at a wonderful ceremony. As the journey continues, I still feel excited about taking Trinity forward. I’m enjoying every bit of it!

Blog post written by: Anjli Mata, Trinity College London Coordinator for North India

(Photo credit: Meena Kadri)

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