A passionate educator, Saili serves as the Programs Director at Shastra, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating meaningful, cross-cultural music that connects great musical traditions of India and the West. As an instructor, Saili co-hosts the “Composing with Indian Voice” annual seminar in the U.S., and “Raga Meets Symphony” in India. She is also a Vocal Mentor for the non-profit organization Street Symphony in Los Angeles. Saili also maintains a robust teaching studio ‘SailiMusic’.
Saili is a frequent guest speaker, panelist and workshop participant at conferences and universities across America, including the Composition in Asia Symposium at the University of South Florida - Tempe FL, Smith College in Northampton MA, Kaufmann Music Center, NY, the Butler School of Music UT Austin TX, Salem State University Salem, MA.
A synopsis of the workshops and talks:
Composing with Indian Voice
Hindustani vocalist Saili Oak and composer Reena Esmail team up to co-teach an intensive workshop where the participants
• Receive intensive training in the fundamentals of Hindustani (North Indian) classical music.
• Receive instruction on the best practices for working with Hindustani musicians and incorporating elements of Indian music organically into the music you write.
• Compose their own arrangement of a Hindustani bhajan for Indian singer and string quartet.
• Workshop, perform and record this arrangement with Saili Oak and string quartet.
• Future performance opportunities of your arrangement in the US and India by Saili Oak (a number of past participants have enjoyed subsequent performances of their work).
Raga meets Symphony
Award-winning composer Reena Esmail and Hindustani vocalist Saili Oak team up to co-teach an intensive workshop where the participants get an overview of the fundamental principles of western classical music, receive practical skills for working with western classical musicians and learn collaborative practices in a hands-on rehearsal process.
Architecture of Khayal singing - A methodical approach to Improvisation
The workshop takes a deeper dive into the complex, yet well-designed and disciplined structure of the ‘khayal’ gayaki from the perspective of a vocalist. The participants get to try their hand at singing a composition followed by improvisation in a Raag.
western ART music through Hindustani lens - a collaborative approach
For a hindustani musician, more rigid the musical form, the less creative is their artistry. It is a crucial part of the Hindustani musical training to pull away from the composed/notated music and explore the creative space where they are able to improvise. A part of the collaborative process is all about getting used to this fact which one could otherwise find to be extremely unsettling. The biggest challenge I believe, is the difference in approach towards the treatment of a composition in the two music traditions.