PRSSV Institute of Performing Arts and Heritage

PRSSV was established over 50 years ago in Benares by Pandit Sharda Sahai of the Benares Tabla Gharana with the aim of giving people of all walks of life a chance to experience and learn the performing arts of India. Pandit Sharda Sahai and Ethnomusicologist Dr. Frances Shepherd established PRSSV as a registered charitable trust in the UK in 1987.

The work of the trust focuses on: a) redefining how Indian music and musicians contribute to the musical life of the UK, b) access for students and practitioners of all ages to develop their passion for Indian performing arts and other world music traditions, c) their heritage centre; a living legacy of film, recordings and interviews of Indian music and dance, and d) curating events for spaces ranging from national galleries, arts centres and festivals.

PRSSV is the leading examination board which has for over 30 years been providing graded examinations which support the promotion of World Music and Dance. The subjects students can get qualifications in are Indian classical music (both Carnatic and Hindustani subjects) and Steel Pan. This suite of qualifications includes graded qualifications taking a candidate from beginner to advanced level, with performance and teaching qualifications up to Diploma level.

PRSSV is the custodian of the Benares Baaj Archive in West London. This is a major heritage project that charts the history of Tabla in the UK and has a growing collection of material on the Indian Performing Arts. Educational institutions and students wanting to learn about this heritage of India can have access to this knowledge through this archive.

PRSSV Sangeet College Institute of Music and Dance provides students of all ages opportunities to develop their music and dance knowledge, their performing arts skills, and through that to find new ways of experiencing and making music. We have over 250 students every week receiving professional tuition in Indian instruments and dance both in the community and in schools. Our teaching ethos is “learning through doing” and so our students perform regularly. For more information on classes and other activities please visit


The PRSSV exam board was set up in 1987 to provide accredited qualifications for world music and dance traditions. Our syllabuses are developed in consultation with master musicians and dancers and are true to the uniqueness of a particular culture while taking into account the different social and cultural conditions of the West.

The aim of our exams is to:

  • Inspire achievements in music among students of all ages and levels.
  • Provide recognition for different musical cultures.
  • Provide recognition for teachers.
In December 1987, there were 15 candidates who were examined by an examiner from India. Today there are approximately 1000 candidates appearing annually in approved examination centres and partner institutions in London and other cities of the UK. The examiners are mainly UK based.

In 2006 PRSSV started its international wing to cater for teachers and students in Europe and then in 2010 in Australia and North America.

In 2013 the first batch of Heritage Skills candidates completed their training.