INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Tabla Forum: My lessons with Kumar Bose

 

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Bran
My lessons with Kumar Bose Sep 28, 2002 02:45 a.m.


Hi folks,

I thought I would start a new thread here and use this to write about my experiences here in Calcutta with Pt. Kumar Bose.

I just had my first lesson with him at the beginning of the month, but have so far had the privilege of spending about 25 hours observing him and and meeting his students (my fellow tabla players) at his residence.

I had no previous experience with Benaras baj as such. I came here because my training so far has been pakhwaj sur (Punjab) with Zakirji, and I first started on Mridangam, playing carnatic music when I was a kid.

It looks like he has about 60 - 80 students at any given time, and they are at all different levels. He does morning sessions 3 days a week for the beginner and intermediate students. I can only imagine what kind of talim the senior students are receiving.

His teaching style is very methodic and organized. He gives all his students the same material. It is the Gurukul system, meaning that he hands down what his teachers handed him. The senior students will continue the parampara.

His focus is on technique, sound quality, and clarity. He gives compositions to different students based on where they are. I asked him whether he could give me something that would be suitable for accompaniment as opposed to solo, in Rupak. He laughed and said, 'Everything I am giving you is suitable. It's a matter of playing it at the right time at the right laya. That is the magic of good accompaniment'.

If anybody has questions that you want me to ask Punditji, I would be happy to do so. It will help me learn as well. I will post more stuff in this thread as I keep learning.

Bran
Chatuspati gat Sep 28, 2002 02:53 a.m.


Here is the first gat that he gave me at my second lesson

Dha terikitaka Dha terikitaka Dha terikitaka Dha terikitaka
Tun na ketanake Tun na ketanake Tun na ketanake Tun na ketanake
Taka terikitataka Taka terikitataka Taka terikitataka Taka terikitataka
Dhe re Dhe re kitataka Dhe re Dhe re kitataka Dhe re Dhe re kitataka Dhe re Dhe re kitataka

I was taught a similar thing for mridangam in my early childhood

Ta terikitaka | 4
Thee terikitaka | 4
Dhom terikitataka | 4
Nam terikitataka | 4
Ta laangu terikita takateri kitataka
Ta ka dhit tam kita takaterikitataka
Takaterikitataka tam - |3

Branavan

Jake
Re:My lessons with Kumar Bose Sep 28, 2002 05:05 a.m.


Hello! I just want to know, that does He talk about mathematical aspects of for example kaida variations while He teaches them? Or how He approaches different bols in different kaidas (what parts and how He uses them in variations)? Or is He giving you the variations and concentrating more on your technical aspects of playing? It's very interesting to know...
Warren
Re:My lessons with Kumar Bose Sep 28, 2002 09:21 a.m.


That is a well known rela . It is also supposed to have been written for the train that arrived 1915
The tuna kititaka line is the sound of the whistle.
Shawn
Re:My lessons with Kumar Bose Sep 28, 2002 06:20 p.m.


Strange,

I learned the same rela but in a different order:

khuli
Dha-TRKTTK x 4
TKTRKTTK x 4
DRDRKTTK x 4
Dhin-Na- KTTK Dhin-Na-KTTK Dhin-Na-KTTK Tin-Na-KTTK

and then mundi of course

(Dhin = Ge + Tun, Tin = Tun, as is often the case in Benares baj)

Shawn

Shawn
Re:My lessons with Kumar Bose Sep 28, 2002 06:23 p.m.


Hmm, questions to ask! It would be endless!

Did you learn any Uthans other than the one that starts:

DhaTeTeDha TeTeDhaGe TeTeKTDha TeTeDhaGe
Din-Din- NaNaTeTe, etc...

Or any Bants? Bants are great for solo or accompaniment (they're like kaidas).

I'd be happy for any repertoire you'd like to share.

Take care,

Shawn

Warren
Re:My lessons with Kumar Bose Sep 28, 2002 09:26 p.m.


What is the rest of this uthan is it printed somewhere. Expecting if it is an uthan it would be very long


Shawn (Sep 28, 2002 06:23 p.m.):
Hmm, questions to ask! It would be endless!

Did you learn any Uthans other than the one that starts:

DhaTeTeDha TeTeDhaGe TeTeKTDha TeTeDhaGe
Din-Din- NaNaTeTe, etc...

Or any Bants? Bants are great for solo or accompaniment (they're like kaidas).

I'd be happy for any repertoire you'd like to share.

Take care,

Shawn


Bran
Re:My lessons with Kumar Bose Sep 29, 2002 06:04 a.m.


Hi Jake,
In the classes that I attend Kumarji focuses much more on technique and sound production than on theory (how do you identify the primary bol in a kaida, how do you develop it, etc.). Zakirji used to do more of that, meaning explain the conceptual stuff while he was handing out material.

I think it has to do with the fact that Kumarji is working with a lot of students who come to him on a regular basis while my experience with Zakirji have been in summer sessions. I'm sure that this information is being passed on, but probably to senior students.

Regards

Branavan


Jake (Sep 28, 2002 05:05 a.m.):
Hello! I just want to know, that does He talk about mathematical aspects of for example kaida variations while He teaches them? Or how He approaches different bols in different kaidas (what parts and how He uses them in variations)? Or is He giving you the variations and concentrating more on your technical aspects of playing? It's very interesting to know...
Bran
Re:My lessons with Kumar Bose Sep 29, 2002 06:18 a.m.


Hi Shawn,

Good stuff. I forgot to mention that Kumarji said that traditionally the tun na keta nake comes fourth meaning that is how he was taught the gat, but that for some reason he liked to play it second.

It sounded right being played second for me too so I am practicing it that way.


Shawn (Sep 28, 2002 06:20 p.m.):
Strange,

I learned the same rela but in a different order:

Shawn


Regards

Bran

Bran
Re:My lessons with Kumar Bose Sep 29, 2002 06:30 a.m.


Shawn,

To tell you the truth, I have not even been given that Uthan. My guess is that you have a lot more Benarasi material than I do. Will be happy to share what I get with you as and when it happens.

I am at a point where I have access to a lot of material but what I really need is attention on technique and sound quality. Kumarji said the other day that for the first three years that he played tabla, his father just gave him four things: the Chatuspati gat, the first kaida (Dha dha te te dha dha tun na), a rela to practice ge re na ge and one other thing. He played that for three years, and then everything else was very easy to pick up.

So my perspective is to get my riyaz to a point where I can play these bols to his satisfaction before I go asking him for more stuff than he gives me.

Not sure what a bant is. Is it similar to a tukda?


Shawn (Sep 28, 2002 06:23 p.m.):
Hmm, questions to ask! It would be endless!

Did you learn any Uthans other than the one that starts:

DhaTeTeDha TeTeDhaGe TeTeKTDha TeTeDhaGe
Din-Din- NaNaTeTe, etc...

Or any Bants? Bants are great for solo or accompaniment (they're like kaidas).

I'd be happy for any repertoire you'd like to share.

Take care,

Shawn


Regards

Branavan

Warren
Re:My lessons with Kumar Bose Sep 29, 2002 01:12 p.m.


Bran I know what you mean even though Gourisankar teaches workshops here and gives all these compositions. For me we have focused on dha terekitataka , learning to practise it slow then up to quadruple speed. I know when he comes back I should have that improved


Bran (Sep 29, 2002 06:30 a.m.):
Shawn,

To tell you the truth, I have not even been given that Uthan. My guess is that you have a lot more Benarasi material than I do. Will be happy to share what I get with you as and when it happens.

I am at a point where I have access to a lot of material but what I really need is attention on technique and sound quality. Kumarji said the other day that for the first three years that he played tabla, his father just gave him four things: the Chatuspati gat, the first kaida (Dha dha te te dha dha tun na), a rela to practice ge re na ge and one other thing. He played that for three years, and then everything else was very easy to pick up.

So my perspective is to get my riyaz to a point where I can play these bols to his satisfaction before I go asking him for more stuff than he gives me.

Not sure what a bant is. Is it similar to a tukda?


Shawn (Sep 28, 2002 06:23 p.m.):
Hmm, questions to ask! It would be endless!

Did you learn any Uthans other than the one that starts:

DhaTeTeDha TeTeDhaGe TeTeKTDha TeTeDhaGe
Din-Din- NaNaTeTe, etc...

Or any Bants? Bants are great for solo or accompaniment (they're like kaidas).

I'd be happy for any repertoire you'd like to share.

Take care,

Shawn


Regards

Branavan


Shawn
Re:My lessons with Kumar Bose Sep 29, 2002 06:22 p.m.



Warren (Sep 28, 2002 09:26 p.m.):
What is the rest of this uthan is it printed somewhere. Expecting if it is an uthan it would be very long

Hi Warren,

The Uthan is not very long. It's the typical Uthan taught to all Benares students as their first Uthan. It's published in the Sharda Sahai book, Play Tabla. If I have some time later this week, I'll type it up for you.

Shawn

Shawn
Re:My lessons with Kumar Bose Sep 29, 2002 06:25 p.m.


Hi Bran,

Which rela with GeReNaGe? If it's not too long, can you type it?

About Bant, it's exactly the same form as a kaida. In Benares baj, kaidas tend to be more for practicing, and bants tend to be more for performance. Some people call them "performance kaidas".

Shawn

Warren
Re:My lessons with Kumar Bose Sep 30, 2002 10:44 p.m.


Well here are 3 parts of a 5 part uthan , farrukabad, the sum and tali markers got screwed up in the pasting but I think you can get the idea 200.Uthan

+ 2

|dha-ne, dhe tete, dha terekita, dhetete,| ka tete, ta kerenaka, taketa, dha-|

0 3

|Dha na na, katete, ta kerenaka, ta tete,| dhe tete, dhagena, dha tete, dhetete,|

+ 2

|Ta-tun, tun-, nanana, , natete, | katete, takerenaka, taka terekita, dha|

0 3

|katete, takerenaka, taka terekita, dha-,| katete, takerenaka, taka terekita, dha-,|

+ 2

|Na-,tetetete,kredhatete,tagetete,|katete tane dha, tete kredhatetekena,katete katete kata,kata katagadigena

0

|katagadigenedha, tetekatagadigena, dhagenatagenaga, dhingdhingtetetete,|

3 +

|tetete dhetete dhete, dha dha tete tete, ( gegedhin ta ran -ne, |dha )3x

-taketa dha taketa taketa taketa dha dha-ne dha-ne taketa taketa dha trekre

dhetete kata gadi gena dha dhane taka tereketakatete dhetete katagadigena

(dha tete dhetete kata gadi gena)3x Dha

Branavan Ganesan
Re:My lessons with Kumar Bose Oct 01, 2002 05:02 a.m.


Hey Warren,
I'm with you there.

I am focussing on terikita and kita taka, as my ge re na ge and dhi na ge na (reverse direction fingering) is quite weak. Once I am satisfactorily competent with these bols I will add bols that utilize the ulta bols.


Warren (Sep 29, 2002 01:12 p.m.):
Bran I know what you mean even though Gourisankar teaches workshops here and gives all these compositions. For me we have focused on dha terekitataka , learning to practise it slow then up to quadruple speed.

I am now practicing the chatuspati gat, and the very well known kaida

dha terikita takaterikita dha teri kita taka dha terikita taka terikita

and in Rupak,

dha terikita takaterikita dha teri kita taka dha teri kitataka

Like you, I am working on playing this cleanly at the ati drut laya (4th speed).

Regards

Branavan

Bran
Re:My lessons with Kumar Bose Oct 01, 2002 05:11 a.m.


Hi Shawn,

Lesson is on Saturday,
I will confirm the bols and then post it.

Branavan

P.S Thanks for the clarification on what a Bant is.


Shawn (Sep 29, 2002 06:25 p.m.):
Hi Bran,

Which rela with GeReNaGe? If it's not too long, can you type it?

Shawn


Bill
Re:My lessons with Kumar Bose Oct 03, 2002 12:38 a.m.


Sorry if this gets posted twice - I got a error 'forum shift' message.

Hey Branavan!
Thanks for the posts/updates. Happy things are working out with you and Kumarji.
About sound production, what does guruji have to say about 'Dhere dhere'? Hand placement, shoulder, elbow, wrist, emphasis, practice, application, etc.- anything/everything would bear repeating. (I'm in my third week of daily strict dheredhere riyaz, and I still don't feel it coming with the ease, volume and clarity I know should be there.)
How's the weather in Kolkota?
best wishes, Bill - aanaddha@cox.net - new email address - write me if you get a chance.

Mac
Re:My lessons with Kumar Bose Oct 03, 2002 08:56 a.m.


I think the idea mentioned earlier of just 4 items for the first three years is excellent. I have very little material at the moment but it doesn't bother me. I want to 'perfect' each piece before I learn any more. I am however interested in what this Chatuspati Gat is. Is this the gat mentioned in the Sharda sahai book? I have seen this gat in the book but I haven't attempted to play it yet. If it is one of the key pieces that Kumarji was set then maybe i'll look into it.
I myself focus on these pieces 1) the first kaida dha dha tee te 2) theka of tintal 3) Dha tirekitataka kaida 4) the tukra mentioned above.
I studied in Varanasi for just months and my teacher gave me lots of material. After coming back home i have found this to be an unusual approach. I want to learn more slowly and surely. I asked him to slow down but I kept getting piece after piece.I cannot possibly learn all the pieces that he set me. i am ignoring 90% of what I learnt there. I may therefore be thinking of changing gurus. I hope to return to India again next year for 6 months- 1 year. Can anyone recommend a good teacher in Varanasi who takes things very slowly?
Yours Mac
rod
Re:My lessons with Kumar Bose Nov 21, 2002 05:39 a.m.



Mac (Oct 03, 2002 08:56 a.m.):

I studied in Varanasi for just months and my teacher gave me lots of material. After coming back home i have found this to be an unusual approach. I want to learn more slowly and surely. I asked him to slow down but I kept getting piece after piece.I cannot possibly learn all the pieces that he set me. i am ignoring 90% of what I learnt there. I may therefore be thinking of changing gurus. I hope to return to India again next year for 6 months- 1 year. Can anyone recommend a good teacher in Varanasi who takes things very slowly?
Yours Mac


Hi Mac,

Would I be right if I said that you teacher in Varanasi was Bagchi? He is a cheat !!!! I learned with him when I started and he gave tons of stuff all crap!!! Shardajee told to throw away when he saw it. There is a guy called Chintu at a place called Rythm Point and he is amazing! He is only twenty four but he plays like a master. Great stuff. His real name is Ashwini Kumar Mishra and e-mail is ashwinivns@yahoo.com
There are some other names/people who are older and real gurus/teachers but they would be more expensive depending wheather they want to charge you or not!

if u contact Chintu, tell him I (d'Orey) gave u his e-mail

his guru is Pandit Lachhu Maharaj
there is also Kishore Kumar Mishra, phone 0091-542-451168 (from whom I was having lessons with-he is a disciple of Pt Sarda Sahai )
Chote Lal Mishra
Vinod Lele

a young guy called Kailash Nishad, who is also very good!

Bran
Re:My lessons with Kumar Bose Nov 22, 2002 12:22 a.m.



Mac (Oct 03, 2002 08:56 a.m.):
I think the idea mentioned earlier of just 4 items for the first three years is excellent. I have very little material at the moment but it doesn't bother me. I want to 'perfect' each piece before I learn any more.
Yours Mac

Hi Mac,
Having now spent an additional month with Kumarji, I believe even more strongly in this for myself. I spent 3 months in Calcutta with Kumar Bose, and I am leaving with just 4 things that he has given me, one of which is purely a practice bol. But, in practicing these, and practicing them in a systematic way, I have found that my balance, posture, grip on the head of the drum, hand weight, and stamina have increased tremendously.

He told stories of how when he was starting out, he and his friends would play a particular subject (e.g. di ne ge ne) for 2 - 3 months. They would keep playing it until they were satisfied, and then move on to the next subject or the next set of bols.

The chatuspati gat was one of the first things that was given to him by his father, and he said it was excellent for mastering the subjects
- terikita
- dhere dhere
- tun na ke ta na ka

The idea being that if you have these subjects well under your control, that hundreds of compositions that use a combination of terikita and dhere dhere become accessible to you as a result. You can then worry about the composition, accents, and phrasing, instead of worrying about the subject itself.

I'm sold on the approach.

Good luck with your practice and your playing

Regards

Branavan

rod
Re:My lessons with Kumar Bose Nov 22, 2002 04:19 a.m.


Hi bran,

Sorry haven't been in touch but things sort of were a bit crazy while in India. I have been back and things( and hand) is getting back to nornal. Meanwhile my bayan speed has increased tremendously(I haven't been able to use my right hand) and I am also being able to play the tabla with my left hand. If all goes well, I will be able to play tabla with both hands.
I had a nice meeting with Pt Kumar Bose and he told me that u seemed very happy when you left. We didn't talk of any future plans but he told me about the ways he teaches and what I could expect from learning from him. He also told me about the Saptak festival and few other festivals in Calcutta after Ahmedabad(Saptak) which I am planning to go in January 2004. When finances allow ( and if all is well with my hand ) I have made up my mind that I will give all up one day, tell my boss where to stick his job, and go and learn from him for a year or so and then up to Banaras to continue with my Guruji Pt Sarda Sahai.


And Mac, Kishore Kumar Mishra I mentioned above, he is a senior student of Pt. Sarda Sahai. He is a tabla lecture at the B.H.U(Banaras Hindu University).He is ver good indeed. Chotte Lal is the top professor at B.H.U and I believe he has written one of the best books about tabla(Banaras Baj only?) but they are in Hindi. Vinod Lele is also a lecturer at B.H.U.
good luck.

Bran
Re:My lessons with Kumar Bose Nov 22, 2002 06:52 a.m.


Hi Rod,
No worries at all mate. You had more than your share of things to handle. Glad to hear that you were still able to make a go of it.

I was definitely very happy when I left. He was incredibly generous the last day that I was there, and spent close to 5 hours with me, and solidified a lot of things that he had shown me. I was able to ask a lot of questions about technique etc.

He had just finished his performance at the Sangeet Research Academy a few days back, so he talked about how he prepares for a solo, how he practices, what the essence of a tabla solo should be etc. It was very good stuff.

In any case, I wish you all the luck with your future studies, perhaps we'll run into each other in Calcutta in the future. I too have started thinking about how I can do another six month stint there.

Regards

Branavan

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