Melbourne, February 27: Rithvik Chand has written his name in history books in Victorian Education with first-time perfect score in VCE tabla.

The Lake View Secondary College student completed his VCE music examinations on the tabla at the end of 2018 and achieved a perfect score of 50.

It is the first time anyone has received a perfect score on an Indian instrument in the VCE system.

“In fact, as far as I know, it’s the first time anyone has received a perfect score in VCE music on a non-Western instrument. I am really proud of Rithvik, and also that tabla will go down in history in that role.” says his Tabla teacher Dr Sam Evans.

Rithvik said the course was demanding and required a lot of practice but it was all worth it.

Rithvik Chand and Dr Sam Evans in sync on the tabla

“Of course, I had to work really hard and do a lot of practice, but my skills improved a lot and that feels really great now”.

His final performance recital included Indian classical music as well as multicultural world of music.

“The course was great as I was able to apply all the traditional tabla skills I had developed over the years and also learnt how to play tabla in world music” he said.

For those students thinking of taking up table as a VCE subject, Rithvik suggests having very good support system in place.

It was really important that my class room teacher David Oxley supported what I was doing, as well as my tabla teacher who knows the VCE system and my parents, that really helped get me through.”

Dr Evans agrees with Rithvik; “Having the support of music staff from the students school and having them really on board is critical to students with non-Western instruments proceeding at VCE level.

“I think also another challenge that students face is they need to have more initiative and independence than their peers as for many school music teachers it will be their first time supporting a student in a non-Western instrument.”

The tabla was introduced to the VCE system in 2011 by the Melbourne Tabla School.

“Since then all of the students who have gone through have received very high grades, all in the high 40s, but this is the first perfect score,” said Sam Evans, director of the school.

Dr Sam Evans’ fusion with Indian tabla and western rhythms

“It’s fantastic for Rithvik and also for other students looking to do VCE music. We now know that students can not only apply their tabla skills to contribute to their VCE grade, but they can be also very competitive at the highest level against the rest of the state.” 

Rithvik has now been invited to perform at the prestigious Top Acts program at the Melbourne Recital Centre that presents the best VCE performers in the state.

There is growing interest in VCE music in the Indian community and Dr Evans plans “to get as many Indian instruments into the system as possible so we have a fair representation.”

For those who have spent years learning an Indian instrument, it could soon be when they can take advantage that “Western instrumentalists have had for years”.


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