Aanya Athota - Junior School's budding concert pianist | Aga Khan Academies

Aanya Athota - Junior School's budding concert pianist

Aanya Athota, grade 4K, is currently the youngest student being accepted to appear for the grade 8 musical examination, the highest graded examination conducted by the prestigious Trinity College London. She has also been invited to audition for the world renowned San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) where she intends to interact and tour with internationally famous musicians whilst pursuing her education. Aanya dreams of becoming a global music icon and spreading peace through music to make our world a better place.

Introduced to the piano at the age of five by her mother, Aanya has always been a quick learner and enjoys music immensely. “She took to the piano with such passion and dedication that she progressed in leaps and bounds,” says Aarti Tatineni, Aanya’s mother. “She started performing at several music recitals - notably those conducted by the Synergy Music Studio in Hyderabad. Her teacher encouraged her to appear for the music grade exams conducted by Trinity College London and within a few months Aanya had completed the Grade 4 musical exam at the age of 7, scoring 93% and being awarded a distinction and certificate of outstanding performance. She has also won local music competitions conducted in Hyderabad.”

One of the things Aanya looks forward to everyday at the Academy Junior School is when she has some free time and can rush to the music lab to practice piano with her teacher, Mr. Arshad. Her talents are not restricted to music, however, and Aanya’s favourite subject is creative writing. “She loves playing with words and churning out poems,” Aarti tell us. “Aanya feels that poems help her express her deepest thoughts, concerns and fears in a fun and exciting way. She has written over 25 poems and is currently working towards compiling her first book of poetry.”

Aanya’s love for poetry has been greatly encouraged by her form tutor, Anna Palmetshofer, with whom she shares a special relationship. They spend a lot of time reading together and coming up with quirky poems. “She’s very serious about her piano practice and she can play pieces by Mozart and Bach!” says Anna. “I have amazing conversations with her about music composers and the soothing effects of classical music on the brain, and she’s happy to play classical music for us while we are working in class.” Aanya also loves Ms. Robin’s story sessions which have had a profound impact on her creativity and imagination.

Art has also always been an escape for Aanya, helping her cope with her rigorous after-school schedule. “She can spend hours sitting down with a sketch pad etching interesting scenarios from her everyday life,” shares Aarti. “She enjoys creating abstract art by playing with colours which helps her depict complex moods and emotions with complete freedom.” A true performer, Aanya bagged the “best speaker” award for her skills in public speaking during a leadership camp in the city, during which she delivered a speech on Amanda Vincent, a Canadian marine biologist and conservationist. 

Aarti believes that the Academy, with its focus on holistic development, provides students with opportunities to express and create in a multitude of ways. “Aanya has not only been encouraged to pursue music at school but has also been presented with several other opportunities to stimulate growth and learning,” she elaborates. “Teachers at the Aga Khan Academy Hyderabad believe in making children independent and responsible rather than entirely focusing on learning outcomes and deadlines. This, we believe, will eventually result in children emerging as confident and compassionate lifelong learners.”