INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Tabla Forum: *sigh* need some guidance

 

Author Message
Devi
*sigh* need some guidance Apr 03, 2003 10:46 p.m.


The more I play, the more I realize how much I do need a teacher. When I was just learning the names and basic techniques of the bols and some of the tals, it seemed pretty clear what to practice. Now I don't know how to proceed.
I still play alien's bol combinations; those have been very helpful. But how long should I play them? And when I move on to other material, what material should I move on to? Should I just try to play whatever I can find, like the kaidas on the Austin tabla website?
It's hard to disappoint a pessimist.
rod
Re:*sigh* need some guidance Apr 04, 2003 03:22 a.m.


No No No!! Stick to one or two Kaydas and play them for years to come. I have been playing

Dhate tedha tete dhadha tete dhage tinna kena
Tate tedha tete dhadha tete dhage dhinna gena

for over 4 years and just recently I have been able to introduce more kaydas in my practice without any sweat at all(yet still a long way from mastering the kayda above). Choose two kaydas, the one above and

dhatere kitataka dhatere kitataka
dhatere kitataka tinna kitataka

tatere kitataka tatere kitataka
dhatere kitataka dhinna kitataka

will take you a long way. Also play two Mukras and two Moharas and that should be more than enough for the next four years. After mastering that, you will be able to play anything.

Jake
Re:*sigh* need some guidance Apr 04, 2003 03:30 a.m.


I've also practiced without a teacher. One friend of mine has studied with a teacher few years ago and we've gone through the different technics and what his teacher has told him about them.
In my opinion tabla it's hard because mastering technical side with good sound and clarity takes a lot of time and practice. My terekete technic is pretty good, but I don't master dheneghene or dheredhere at performance speed. I concentrate a lot in technic practice. I've done my own way of developing my improvisational skills on kaidas and tukras, chakradars. Technical ability opens up possibilities. There are a lot of beautiful compositions, but to be able to play them well takes a lot of time. I just try to be patient, humble and do the hard work that is needed. I try to keep up the interest by testing new material (am I able to play them at performance speed), practicing old material and developing my ideas further, developing my techic on difficult bol combinations, that I need especially work on. I practice tabla 99,5 % percent of my own practice time. I play congas, timbales, bongos for our jazz/fusion band and cajon and a bit of tabla on our flamenco band. I see my rhythmic improvment on those projects all the time and tabla technic training also develops my technical ability on other percussion.
In conclusion I have to say that there are no shortcuts. One has to practice a lot. I practice every day many hours and developing of my playing is always on my mind. My advice is to try to keep it interesting and fun. Keep up practicing and try to keep up certain image, what you want to be able to do with your tabla and try to do your practice in a way, that you'll get closer to that. Enjoy the developments and be patient. It will come if you keep at it, that's my opinion.
alien
Re:*sigh* need some guidance Apr 04, 2003 07:06 a.m.


I see what you mean. I was self-taught in martial arts. In vain i could run 30 kms in mountains, I had nothing in my hands. I didn't know what to do.
Don't play everything. Choose a gharana or a player and follow the style. Don't play everything from the Austin library or anything else, they are collections of things from the whole tabla culture (less is more).

The combinations given shouldn't be played parallelly, they are built on each other. Moreover, it's a bit hard to play them as given, for months or yearsIt's the same as jogging in the mountains for the good condition but one isn't closer to the goal. They are to be played in different tempi, timing, permutations, maybe talas, ...
You have to develop a sense of the style, a vein for this special kind of "conscious improvisation". They are valid only in compositions. That's why I said one should learn kaidas.
The mind can be almost fully prepared to play tabla by doing kaidas. It's not enough to be able to play them fast, together with the dohra and a couple of paltas. They will be the row material for accompaniment too.
It's here where you learn to play 3 in 2, 4 in 3, tihai, paltas, chand, cadences. If hands would be enough, a robot would win with his steel fingers.
You have to learn the musical role of a bol or pattern. You have to play a peshkar like a peshkar, not a kaida.
And for all those to reach, you have to learn sometimes from a human teacher.
And you should see and hear him playing sometimes, not because your sound has to be identical, rather because then you hear those principles realizing at once, at a time.

Optimal frequency to meet your guru: 12 hours a day. Minimal one: once a year. Try to adjust this value somewhere between the two. Let's say, do your best to see him once in a season.

I don't believe in tele-learning performing arts but if you need some material, I can help you in the first months. The problem is that I'm a beginner myself too. There are much more educated, competent and altruist personalities out in cyber-space than me.

Endurance.

Warren
Re:*sigh* need some guidance Apr 05, 2003 11:36 a.m.


Devi,
I agree somewhat with the other replies here, stick with a few kaidas until you can get some lessons from a teacher or at least from other tabla players. It's no use playing the compositions, even the simple ones on the Austin Tabla website until you have enough training to understand how to play them correctly. What you can do is continue to learn about the tablas and music through the information on all the websites and through training books and videos. One thing I did for the first year before I got proper training was to practice to recordings. This is very useful in helping you understand the music and the role of tabla in Indian music. If you have at least the basic bols and know how to play them you can learn all the thekas (teental, Jhaptal, Rupak etc) and practice playing them along with the music .
I sometimes find tabla students forget that the tabla is a musical instrument and what they are learning is to play is music. Keep that in mind as you are learning and set some goal to figure out how to get some lessons. Plan a trip somewhere. Any tabla lesson with a teacher will open the whole tabla world up and I can't stress how important it is to get lessons from an actual teacher.



Devi (Apr 03, 2003 10:46 p.m.):
The more I play, the more I realize how much I do need a teacher. When I was just learning the names and basic techniques of the bols and some of the tals, it seemed pretty clear what to practice. Now I don't know how to proceed.
I still play alien's bol combinations; those have been very helpful. But how long should I play them? And when I move on to other material, what material should I move on to? Should I just try to play whatever I can find, like the kaidas on the Austin tabla website?
Devi
Re:*sigh* need some guidance Apr 06, 2003 10:53 p.m.


Very interesting...
It's intriguing (in a vaguely frustrating way) how much tabla differs from other musical instruments. I come from a musical background of 4 years on the piano and 8 years of clarinet (school band)... in both of these instruments, volume of material seemed to be beneficial.
Take piano... you get some common beginner piece like Fur Elise and play that until you can play it pretty well (until you plateau), then move on to something else. By no means did you master it... you certainly never played it like a professional player, but no one tells you that you should keep hacking at it for years until you approach "perfection". No... you move on to something by some other composer and see what you can learn from that. You might revisit Fur Elise at a later time and find that the time spent broadening your spectrum with the Tarantella has enabled you to play it better, and perhaps faster than you would have done if you had just stayed with the one piece.
So that's probably where I get the mentality that practice should be made up of some exercises that you do regularly (equivalent to scales on my previous instruments) followed by the one or two pieces you work on until you get to some sort of plateau, then move on.
It's hard to disappoint a pessimist.
Warren
Re:*sigh* need some guidance Apr 07, 2003 12:58 a.m.


I was told recently by someone who played sitar and tabla that tabla was much more difficult . This surprised me but I guess it could be.
Anyway I do have a concern , these recommendations that you just play one thing might be fine for someone who has had lessons but for someone who hasn't lessons it could be a waste if you are playing wrong aside from the boring part , So I recommend again that maybe you should use more of your practice playing to music , in order to at least grow in that sense


Devi (Apr 06, 2003 10:53 p.m.):
Very interesting...
It's intriguing (in a vaguely frustrating way) how much tabla differs from other musical instruments. I come from a musical background of 4 years on the piano and 8 years of clarinet (school band)... in both of these instruments, volume of material seemed to be beneficial.
Take piano... you get some common beginner piece like Fur Elise and play that until you can play it pretty well (until you plateau), then move on to something else. By no means did you master it... you certainly never played it like a professional player, but no one tells you that you should keep hacking at it for years until you approach "perfection". No... you move on to something by some other composer and see what you can learn from that. You might revisit Fur Elise at a later time and find that the time spent broadening your spectrum with the Tarantella has enabled you to play it better, and perhaps faster than you would have done if you had just stayed with the one piece.
So that's probably where I get the mentality that practice should be made up of some exercises that you do regularly (equivalent to scales on my previous instruments) followed by the one or two pieces you work on until you get to some sort of plateau, then move on.
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