A.R. Rehman & You

A.R. Rehman has practically become a living legend in the music industry. With success following him with every passing year, the 43 year old soft spoken maestro still prayers before every composition and chooses to love in all he is and all he does. With a humble beginning to worldwide recognition at the Oscars, his journey has been the path less trodden. Here is following A.R. Rehman to his stardom and leading you to yours.

1.Train well: A.R. Rehman started playing the piano at age of 4. And ever since he has trained under almost every great musician the industry has had to offer. Be aware that learning takes time, money and above all humility. You cannot expect to earn before you learn. And when you do get to learn, take it to the point of mastery like Rehman did.

2.Go the extra mile when you start: At the age of 19, Rehman used to play the keyboard for Zakir Hussain’s troupe and even after his work, he would stay back in the studio, sitting through other musicians pieces, eyes and ears tuned in, constantly imbibing. How far you want to go in your life is determined by how far you will go in your quest to learn and get better.

3.There is no substitute for experience: Before Rehman composed his first song for films, he had the experience of 300 jingles behind him. And before he composed his first jingle, he had 10 years experience of playing music in concerts, big and small. And before Rehman got his first Oscar, he had 39 years of active music experience behind him. Success is a series of experiences, the more the experience, the closer you are to success.

4.Work comes first, money follows: Even though Rehman’s advertising career was flourishing he accepted to compose music for Mani Ratnam at Rs.25,000. It was a sum that he could make in three days composing ad jingles. But he did the project for the sake of expressing his talent and not for the money. If you want to make a new start, focus on your work, the money will follow.

5.Work your options well: Rehman was a well trained musician but before starting something new he worked his options out well in advance. Before he quit advertising to take up music composition for films he learnt driving so that he could at least temporarily survive as a driver in case the film world ended for him.

6.Have a work philosophy: Rehman has a very strict work philosophy, “Rather than making money, I believe in making people happy; all other things are secondary.” If your work makes people happy, you are in business and on the path of progress.

7.Treat others with dignity and importance: It is every singer’s dream to work with A R Rehman because he makes you feel like God. His singers even go to the extent of saying that he makes you feel as if you are AR Rehman and he is just an ordinary fellow. When you treat people with importance you put them in a state of peak performance. And when your team, department and colleagues perform well, overall you stand to win too.

8.Get the best out of your team: Rehman tries to extract something extra from every one of his musicians as well as his playback singers. He believes in their additional input. And with that he makes a point to improvise, every single time. Getting the opinions of those involved in your project is the smarted thing one can do to in order to project a master piece to the world.

9.Work with people: According to Rehman his best music comes when there’s an exchange of ideas, when there are stories that inspire him. Connecting with people and his team and picking their brains keeps his creativity to the highest.

10.Learn to say no: Rehman’s philosophy is simple, “To achieve something you have to take the risk of offending someone by saying no.” He can only do so many films and can compose only so many songs and has to turn down others because he just can’t do it all. Saying no is important to remain in the business of quality.

11.There is no burnout in work: Rehman believes that a burnout occurs when one is not happy with what he is doing. If you are doing work out of family pressures or financial hassles, keep your eye rested on your passion, and follow it with the first opportunity. Because if you enjoy what you do, you will never want to take a break.

12.Success is a start, not an end: On winning the Oscar’s, which is a lifetime achievement for many, Rehman was humble enough to say “It’s a starting point in my career”. When you succeed, you have only started. The true journey of responsibility and creativity begins here on.

by – Priya Kumar, THE ONE MINUTE COACH