Fine and Performing Arts Academy:
Honing child skills
Furthering one's skills and making use of it to provide a service to
children to uncover their talents is remarkable. The Studio of Fine and
Performing Arts Academy Director Shyama Perera conducts a school for
children in piano, electronic organ, guitar and art.
Her interest in the academy and the manner it offers lessons has made
its popularity grow and increase the number of students enrolling. The
academy gives the child the opportunity to explore their talents under
the theme "a child's imagination knows no boundaries".
She was interviewed by Daily News Business.
Q. What is the type of your business and how did you set about it?
A. I studied the piano from a very early age under the expert
guidance of Mrs Mary Billimoria and completed my Licentiate in piano. It
was much later that I started learning the electronic organ when I was
in Brunei (island of Borneo).
I went ahead with some training and then I was asked to teach in
schools by my employer.
In the early 80's when I returned to Sri Lanka I worked in a private
company that had just received their first shipment of electronic
organs. I also started sitting for London examinations on the Electronic
Organ and completed my Licentiate in Guildhall school of music and drama
having passed with honours.
I also completed the fellowship in Trinity College of Music. I also
performed in many charity concerts in Sri Lanka and also performed at
the national theatre in Singapore. Having qualified in both Piano and
Organ I was able to open the Studio.
At the moment we teach piano, electronic organ, drums, painting and
speech and drama. My daughter Swasha is also a director of the studio
and its operation is seen to by both of us.
Q. How did you balance family life and business?
A. It is time management. I really don't regret working from the time
I left school as I feel I have devoted a lot of my time to my two
My family has been very supportive at all times and I share quality
time with them. I work only in the afternoons as that is the time the
students come after school and I attend to all household chores in the
Q. What were your achievements in business and family?
A. I think I am correct to say in my chosen field my academy is the
largest single institution. We also in addition every year have prize
winners in both London College of Music, London and Trinity Guild,
We have over the last 20 years held many charity concerts giving an
opportunity to our students to gain confidence and giving them the
ability to perform.
Where my family is concerned I have done my best and supported my
husband in every way. My two children have done well and are employed.
They both have been guided by us to be good human beings.
Q. What are the challenges you faced?
A. When it comes to teaching the challenges I would think would be
the responsibilities you take to teach.
It's teaching and also making sure the students are all ready to sit
for their respective examinations. Teaching is a commitment. Preparing
for examinations is very challenging. I have produced many Diploma
holders and I take that as a challenge.
Q. What is your advice to women in business?
A. We have to know the subject we are doing. Be precise, stay in
control and take pride in what you do. Teachers must always think from
the point of view of the student, have patience, and be kind. One must
be passionate in what you do and achieve your goals to the fullest.
children at the academy. Pictures by Saliya Rupasinghe
Q. What are your goals?
A. Although I am confident of my teaching abilities I think it's more
teaching and guiding my staff for them to be good teachers too as the
school has now grown. I now realize the importance of training others so
that while the Academy is going on the standard of teaching is not
anyway compromised. It is my goal to make my teachers the best when it
comes to delivering the service.
Q. As a woman was it an advantage to be in business?
A. Well, where teaching is concerned I think females are at an
advantage. This is something one can do even with a family rather than
an office job. A teacher's time is more flexible when you especially
teach extra curricular activities.
Q. What is your contribution to society?
A. I have been a charter member of Zonta Club 2 of Colombo. I have
been involved in many charity projects to empower women.
Since teaching is my forte I teach music and movement to
differently-abled children. I find it very rewarding teaching them.
I am also the immediate past president of the Past Pupils Association
of Bishop's College.
I am also in the Board of Governors for Women in Need. It's an NGO
providing for the cause elimination of all forms of violence against
women and providing services such as counselling, legal services,
shelter and other services required by victims of violence.
These services will enable a better future for many suffering women
and also a smile on their faces.