Drum rolls, please!

For Ringphaso Vashum for attaining the High Achiever’s Category in Drums Grade 8, East India Rockschool Exams 2021B.

Ringphaso vashum hails from Paorei village. Born into a humble family of five siblings, his father Mawonshang Vashum and his mother Mercy Vashum are cultivators. Growing up in a society where music is regarded as an unconventional career often subjected as merely a hobby, known to friends as Phaso, his musical journey is filled with complications and financial troubles, sometimes not having a penny to spare. Although the money from his family runs short at times, their love and moral support never do. Taking this opportunity, he expresses his gratitude to her two older sisters for supporting him and helping him out in the most difficult financial situations, supporting his dreams as their own.

Phaso completed his education from preschool up to the 12th standard from Sacred Heart Hr. Sec School in Ukhrul. From there, he went on for his further studies in B.Music in Shillong at St. Anthony’s college after convincing his parents that he would pursue music academically and practice professionally. He spent seven and half years in Shillong doing his B.Music whilst being enrolled in Arnest Memorial Music School, a private music school in Shillong for his drum classes. He graduated with B.Music in 2017 from St. Anthony’s College, Shillong, with flying colours, coming in the top 7 of his batch in B.Music. He has performed with various bands in numerous events over the past 8 years; he has even performed at Shirock and Shiroi Lily International Festival, in 2018.

Besides being an 8th graded drummer, Phaso also holds Vocal – Grade 6 from Rock School Limited. He has taught Vocal lessons at Shillong School of Music in 2019 and Vocal and Drum Teacher at Grace School of Music, in Ukhrul.

Phaso’s is an inspiring story of boldly chasing one’s dream despite the financial and circumstantial obstacles of life.

Ever since he was a kid he has always been interested in music. A thorough self-taught guitarist at an early age, he started learning the guitar at 4th standard, something common in the upbringing of kids influenced with western and pop music culture. Phaso’s musical background was largely influenced by the church. The start of his musical journey began in church Sunday schools and camps when he got the opportunity to play in praise and worship in UBC church.

Talking about his early musical background, he mentioned that he was particularly lethargic about church and Sunday schools when he was a kid and would only go to appease his parents.

“To be very honest, I wasn’t very much into church and Sunday schools when I was young and I only did under parental pressure, but when my interest in music and playing instruments sparked, I took every chance to participate and jump to every opportunity to play any instrument since going to church and Sunday schools means getting to play instruments. So yes I guess you can say, Music drove me closer to God and my religion and if that’s God’s way of calling me to serve him with my gift then I am glad and blessed that it happened. Now that I’ve known the joy of leading praise and worship teams and being a part of the children’s ministry, I have known true joy and I know what I am most passionate about and I know what I’ll be doing the rest of  my life,” Phaso narrated.

Asked on how he got into drums, he reminisced and shared a particularly fond memory from his childhood that inspired him a lot toward drums when he was initially starting with guitar.

“One day I heard that a young boy was going to play the drums in our church. I was so excited that I went to church that day with the sheer excitement of seeing the young drummer who was probably the same age as me at that time, and there I saw him in action. I was delighted and was genuinely impressed with his performance. Later I learnt that his name was Masot Ahum. His performance sparked something in me and ever since has always been a mark of inspiration in my musical journey,” Phaso said. “If that day didn’t happen, things wouldn’t have been the same,” he added.

On being asked how he managed to convince his family to support him in music industry, he replied.

“To me convincing my parents for me to pursue music was long-established, I didn’t just spring up on them one day with the idea, it had been a slow process that’s been stirring since when I was just a kid, the most difficult and important part of convincing is the proving, you have to be confident in what you wanna do and show them your confidence, that you really mean it and that it’s not just a hobby that comes and goes when it came to me, I had already participated and played in several occasions, whether it’s in the praise and worship or band competitions, I remember back in 2014, in a band competition in Town Hall ukhrul. That month itself we formed a band called ‘Ethereal Ministry’ just to participate in that competition, I had given my confidence to my family that our band would be awarded the ‘Best band’ and I will be ‘The best drummer’ in the competition because I had confidence in our capabilities and I never had any doubt, a few bands turned up and at the end of the day, we were the best band and I, the best drummer in the competition that day.”

Phaso is currently working in a musical academy called Chant ‘O’ Chords in Dwarka.

Sharing his ambitions, he told Ukhrul Times, that he aspires to become a great musician and has plans to study abroad and will save up and grab any opportunity. He is currently on the lookout for fully-funded scholarships as studying music abroad requires a lot of money.

“I can’t possibly put my family through such financial constraints, it would be too selfish of me to expect so much from my parents who have supported me throughout my journey,” phaso said.

In Ukhrul resides  a music-loving community with great taste ranging from all genres. Undeniably local artists have dispensed a humongous service to the community and the achievements of Phaso Vashum are an example of how far life can take you if you just keep pushing in the right direction. No doubt his journey would be an inspiration to all the struggling local artists and musicians in pursuing music professionally and making a career out of it.

Those who cleared with High Achiever’s Category were given an opportunity for a concert. However, due to the pandemic restrictions in 2021, arrangements were made for the successful candidates to perform online.

You can view his sublime performance by clicking this LINK

The Grade 8 Drum exam is for candidates who have mastered advanced technical control and have a thorough grasp of extended stylistic techniques. At Grade 8 this is shown through mature stylistic conviction, consummate execution of rhythmic complexity, mature and creative stylistic solo and improvisation work as well as a commanding sense of communication and performance. Rockschool is a UK based school which offers grade exams in ten different disciplines over 40 countries worldwide. They deliver “the most academically rigorous and industry relevant qualifications, designed to support all aspiring musicians, performers, educators and teaching establishments – – Rockschool (RSL)

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