INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Sitar Teacher Search

 

Author Message
Bob
Sitar Teacher Search May 10, 2002 12:40 p.m.


I have been playing the sitar since last June (got it from Buckingham Music -- great place!). I am looking for a teacher within a couple of hundred miles of where I live in Cincinnati. Nearby cities are Dayton, Columbus, Louisville, Lexington, Indianapolis. Does anyone know how to go about finding someone to give me a few lessons?
Lars
Re:Sitar Teacher Search May 10, 2002 09:29 p.m.


Hi Bob,
Don't know for sure but a good place to ask would be the following newsgroup.
rec.music.indian.classical

Or check www.batish.com, I think Ashwin has a sort of database of teachers there called guru/shishya.......

And of course there's a lot of online info to help you too, books, etc. Would be happy to make some recommendations if you like?

Lars

peterc
Re:Sitar Teacher Search May 11, 2002 06:11 p.m.


Hi Bob.
Try your local college's music department. Professors usually have a network, so if they can't answer you right away they may either put you on the right track or ask you for a little time while they inquire.
Also look for a local Indian music appreciation society... any concerts, etc.
Or , if it comes to it, check out Indian stores of any kind, especially grocers, restauratnts, etc. to get a line on the community and what it's doing.
As a last resort ask any Indian person you may come across. Most are proud of their Indian culture, be glad you're interested, and will do their best to give you a line on something that may lead to what you're looking for eventually.
Hope you're enjoying your sitar.
Best, Peter.
Russ
Re:Sitar Teacher Search May 11, 2002 10:45 p.m.


Hello Bob;
Welcome to the newcomers sitar family. What kind/model did you end up with? How did you come by your interest in sitar? Always curious to ask people as many of us have a common background it seems....
Anyway, I took a fast look on this very site and noted a sitar teacher in Westlake Ohio named Hasu Patel. Is she anywhere near Cincinatti? Anyway, I've just recently started my sitar training, and it is beginning to change my life. Have fun!
Russ
Re:Sitar Teacher Search May 11, 2002 10:48 p.m.


Oh, I should say. I'm not taking lessons from her! I live in New Mexico. But she is the only one I noted in your state.
Bob
Re:Sitar Teacher Search May 13, 2002 02:47 p.m.



Russ (May 11, 2002 10:45 p.m.):
Hello Bob;
Welcome to the newcomers sitar family. What kind/model did you end up with? How did you come by your interest in sitar? Always curious to ask people as many of us have a common background it seems....
Anyway, I took a fast look on this very site and noted a sitar teacher in Westlake Ohio named Hasu Patel. Is she anywhere near Cincinatti? Anyway, I've just recently started my sitar training, and it is beginning to change my life. Have fun!

Russ -- Thanks for your kind message. I've liked sitar music since I saw a Ravi Shankar concert more than 30 years ago, but I always had heard that it was nearly impossible for someone who didn't grow up in the tradtion to learn. I was also put off by what I was hearing about 22-note scales. Last spring I happened across some sitar sites (Buskingham, Ashwin Batish, etc.) and got the feeling that maybe it would be possible to play after all. Before I went ahead I got Daniellou's "The ragas of Northern India" from the library and learned that while there are 22 notes (or more) but no 22-note scales to master. So I went ahead and ordered a used Calcutta model from Bukingham. Now I have played classical guitar on and off for quite a while so I do have some finger independence and musical background, etc. I have to tell you that it has been an absolute thrill having the sitar to play on. It seems so wonderfully exotic in every way. I have been learning some of the short raga themes from Daniellou's book and just messing around with it in general. It's a real pleasure to be able to tell you this as no one I know gives a hoot about the sitar. I will try to find Hasu Patel on this site. But unfortunately, I broke my right hand pinkie finger last night when I tripped on the stairs so it will be a couple of weeks before I can play. Doc says it should heal up just fine though!


Bob
Bob
Re:Sitar Teacher Search May 13, 2002 02:47 p.m.



Russ (May 11, 2002 10:45 p.m.):
Hello Bob;
Welcome to the newcomers sitar family. What kind/model did you end up with? How did you come by your interest in sitar? Always curious to ask people as many of us have a common background it seems....
Anyway, I took a fast look on this very site and noted a sitar teacher in Westlake Ohio named Hasu Patel. Is she anywhere near Cincinatti? Anyway, I've just recently started my sitar training, and it is beginning to change my life. Have fun!

Russ -- Thanks for your kind message. I've liked sitar music since I saw a Ravi Shankar concert more than 30 years ago, but I always had heard that it was nearly impossible for someone who didn't grow up in the tradtion to learn. I was also put off by what I was hearing about 22-note scales. Last spring I happened across some sitar sites (Buskingham, Ashwin Batish, etc.) and got the feeling that maybe it would be possible to play after all. Before I went ahead I got Daniellou's "The ragas of Northern India" from the library and learned that while there are 22 notes (or more) but no 22-note scales to master. So I went ahead and ordered a used Calcutta model from Bukingham. Now I have played classical guitar on and off for quite a while so I do have some finger independence and musical background, etc. I have to tell you that it has been an absolute thrill having the sitar to play on. It seems so wonderfully exotic in every way. I have been learning some of the short raga themes from Daniellou's book and just messing around with it in general. It's a real pleasure to be able to tell you this as no one I know gives a hoot about the sitar. I will try to find Hasu Patel on this site. But unfortunately, I broke my right hand pinkie finger last night when I tripped on the stairs so it will be a couple of weeks before I can play. Doc says it should heal up just fine though!


Bob
Bob
Re:Sitar Teacher Search May 13, 2002 02:55 p.m.



Lars (May 10, 2002 09:29 p.m.):
Hi Bob,
Don't know for sure but a good place to ask would be the following newsgroup.
rec.music.indian.classical

Or check www.batish.com, I think Ashwin has a sort of database of teachers there called guru/shishya.......

And of course there's a lot of online info to help you too, books, etc. Would be happy to make some recommendations if you like?

Lars


Lars -- Thanks very much for your reply! Ashwin's site was one of the first sitar spaces I came across. I e-mailed him and he said he didn't know of anyone in my area or nearby who taught. I'd love any recommedations you could make. Before last year I wasn't even sure you could buy a sitar in thic country. I had liked sitar music from afar for a long time, but I assumed that was almost impossibly difficult to learn to play unles one started as a child. During one of the rare idle moments at work, I searched for "Sitar" on the Web and was surprised to come up with several sites that sold them and encouraged people to try to learn to play. I ordered a used Calsutta from Buckingham and has been enjoying it tremendously ever since. Of course, I have a lot to learn and I know full well I'll never play it like an advanced student, but that's fime with me. Again, I appreciate any recommednations you might make!


Bob
Bob
Re:Sitar Teacher Search May 13, 2002 02:59 p.m.



peterc (May 11, 2002 06:11 p.m.):
Hi Bob.
Try your local college's music department. Professors usually have a network, so if they can't answer you right away they may either put you on the right track or ask you for a little time while they inquire.
Also look for a local Indian music appreciation society... any concerts, etc.
Or , if it comes to it, check out Indian stores of any kind, especially grocers, restauratnts, etc. to get a line on the community and what it's doing.
As a last resort ask any Indian person you may come across. Most are proud of their Indian culture, be glad you're interested, and will do their best to give you a line on something that may lead to what you're looking for eventually.
Hope you're enjoying your sitar.
Best, Peter.

Peter -- Thanks very much for your reply! These sound like some great recommendations and I will follow up on them! -- Bob


Bob
Russ
Re:Sitar Teacher Search May 13, 2002 03:59 p.m.


Bob; A few thoughts.....
Recommend you wait until your right hand is healed. The proper outward (ra) stroke requires almost a full hand extension. That would hurt with a broken finger!
A 22-note scale? A combined ascending and descending full scale shouldn't contain more than 14 notes tops. The full Indian octave has 12 notes.
I asked my teacher just last week whether he thought I was too old at 48 to ever amount to a halfway-decent player since I'm starting late to formally learn this. He seriously said its never too late to start. Best if you start early of course, but your age (and hopefully maturity) may actually work in your favor. Playing ability is directly proportional to the time you put into practice (plus your natural musical ability).
I must say also as a guitarist, that you will have to drop some of your guitar technique as it will hinder you when learning sitar bols (strokes). That's been my experience.
So, hope this all helps.
Lars
Re:Sitar Teacher Search May 13, 2002 07:38 p.m.


Hi Bob,
I've wondered about that book by Alan Danileau..........is it worth it?? Does it contain info on Rag Khamaj? Another good one is "A comparitve Study of Selected Hindustani Raga's" by Patrick Moutal.
Also several books on sitar I would recommend:
Techniques of Sitar by S. Bandyopadhyaya (very thorough, a little hard to follow at first and also very expensive but much cheaper if you order out of India)

Ravi Shankar, My Music, My Life.......has good basic exercises in it but is out of print, try Ebay.....

The Sitar: by Manfred Junius.....the article on jawari is worth the price of the book alone.....available at Peters shop.

My Sitar: by Bhagwat Sharar Sharma....very hard to find but soon to be available from Peter I think.......has fantastic info on putting together Alap, Jor, Jhalla and especially a lot of info on Gat structure, do get this one.......

I think ultimately some time spent with a teacher would be best if you can find one. There aren't any here in Seattle so I've become quite the info-seeker and doing OK but taking some lessons from Indrajit Banerjee in Texas in a few weeks.......hope this helps? For the expensive book by Bandyopadhyaya try: www.firstandsecond.com
They're in India but I've never tried them but should be able to purchase it for about $30 with shipping......

Bob
Re:Sitar Teacher Search May 14, 2002 12:21 p.m.


Wow -- What a lot of great info! I'll follow up on this. RE: Daniellou's book, I like it very much. Has a good section on Indian music theory and lots of ragas boiled down to their basic essence (per the author's statement) and written out in Western notation. There is a Kamaj and it is one of the ones I've been practicing. I also just got The Raga Guide which includes four CDs. (Good deal for $75)It's informative but I have had trouble using their non-measured notation. I'm sure there's nothing wrong with it; just takes getting used to. So far, I've gotten more out of Daniellou but Raga Guide does appear to be a very fertile field.
Bob
Lars
Re:Sitar Teacher Search May 17, 2002 12:42 a.m.


Hi Bob......yes, I have the Raga Guide also and like it. I especially like the sarod player Buddadev dasGupta.
Do try to get the "Techniques of Sitar" book........very thorough. It has a couple of typos in it but if you get it I would be glad to help you via email.......
Also, I've just discovered that a professor/teacher named Sanjoy Bandyopadhyay has online lessons with a 5 year program.......he certainly is qualified, I have his book in electronic format. Anyway, it's $50 a month for weekly lessons and you communicate via chat/mic/videocam.
You can find out more info here:
http://www.geocities.com/sitar_sanjoy/

If you don't have a teacher nearby, this looks like a good way to learn!

Russ, I think the 22 note scale referred to was including the microtones?


Lars

Russ
Re:Sitar Teacher Search May 17, 2002 09:26 a.m.


OK Lars....including all the swaras. I think somewhere in BandOGypsies Book, he names all of them. Yeah, there are a bunch!
Stephen
Re:Sitar Teacher Search May 24, 2002 06:16 a.m.


Bob,
We're almost neighbors, I'm in Louisville, KY.
Get in touch if you would like to get together and "trade licks". I have searched for over a year for someone fairly local to take lessons from. As I am leaning more to music in the Dhrupad vain, my closest (and most perfect) option is Imrat Khan over in St. Louis. I'm hoping to get over there later in the summer to correct all of my bad habits that I am certainly teaching myself. Unfortunatly, the lady in Westlake, OH seems to be your closest answer. But on the upside, are you aware that your javari work can be done right there in Cin City? Check this site out: http://www.schneiderguitars.com/Pages/IndianRestoration.html.
let me know if your ever down Louisville way.
Stephen L. Bradley
Bob
Re:Sitar Teacher Search May 26, 2002 10:47 p.m.


Stephen - I wrote you a reply on Friday, but now I don't see it posted. Maybe I'm just looking for it the wrong way. Anyway this is the gist of what I said: I occasionally go to Louisville as part of my job and would love to get together if possible.
Bob
Stephen
Re:Sitar Teacher Search May 29, 2002 11:28 a.m.


Bob,
Yes, anytime you are planning to be in the Louisville area, let me know so that we may get together. My E-mail is sbradley@pdreng.com or if you forget that, a link to my e-mail is on the "Friends of Buckingham Music" page.
Stephen L. Bradley
Stephen
Re:Sitar Teacher Search May 30, 2002 09:27 a.m.


Hey Russ,
Shouldn't the enlightened student of sitar learn the sargams in Hindi as well? Manny's book has the translation. There are some engravings in Allyn Miner's book with annotation in Hindi or Sanskrit that are nice "eye candy" as well.
Thanks for the compliment.
Stephen L. Bradley
Russ
Re:Sitar Teacher Search May 29, 2002 04:08 p.m.


Hi Stephen;
Saw your graphic on sitar parts and nomenclature on Peter's "Friends" gallery. Very nice work. Lots of info there. There is a similar one in the "Techniques of Sitar" that Lars recommended, but that puppy is in Hindi! Didn't help. Thanks for your work.
-Russ
Russ
Re:Sitar Teacher Search May 31, 2002 10:18 a.m.


Sargam...yes, my opinion is the "enlightened" sitar student should dispense with staff notation and use the sargam only. In fact, that was a stumbling point for me in taking lessons, as the whole thing was done using sargam only. Like everthing else, will take time and practice.....
Had an Indian friend at work translate the Hindi in the "Techniques of Sitar" book for me. I think all the other references you mention compare favorably with those.
Lars
Re:Sitar Teacher Search Jun 01, 2002 10:09 p.m.


Hey Stephen, ditto on the sitar graphics compliment, very nice!!
I have a few books on Raga that only put the notes in Devanagari script. Not real convenient but not too hard to figure out with a half hour of studying. As far as the other hindi stuff, it's a bummer I can't understand it.......
Lars
mash2
Re:Sitar Teacher Search Jun 11, 2002 07:04 a.m.


Hi russ..for some time now i've wanted to voice an opinion on this site..Being of indian origin myself, it is such a shame that there are very few indians interested in ICM as you guys..I think the indians are too busy setting up corner shops and getting degrees..very few of them realise how much music, especially classical music can benefit them..It also appears to me that you guys are far superior in your knowledge of ICM than many of my indian friends..I take my hat off to all you guys..you are the real saviours and heroes of ICM and sincerely hope you never give up in your quest..cheers mash..
Russ
Re:Sitar Teacher Search Jun 11, 2002 10:15 a.m.


Hello Mash
Wow,what a complement! Thank you (I'd say it in Hindi if I knew how, but I'm ignorant). Speaking only for myself, I was first "captured by the muse" when I was only 13. I'm close to 50 now, so obviously ICM is not a passing fancy for me.Its just odd that this happened to me in this rather plastic "made-for-the-moment culture" here in the US.

Unfortunately, I am locally experiencing a reverse form of racism. I know of a local classical sarod player, a university international student, who will not even speak to me as he believes a "white boy" from the west can not ever play or really appreciate ICM. That hurts. So, I guess it cuts both ways.

From what I've seen, most Indians in our country are here to get a high degree and the big paying job. There are many doctors, lawyers, engineers, scientists, etc here. There are even quite a few less-educated business owners or entrepreneurs. But all seem to be ignorant of their own culture. They don't value it because it doesn't pay well. Damn, there is more to life than money!

Better get off my soapbox before a crowd gathers. Mash, saying what you wish if what these forums are for. As long as people don't act like complete jerks, this is a good place. You'd be surprised how many people think as you do! OK, that's all.
-Russ

Stephen
Re:Sitar Teacher Search Jun 11, 2002 10:59 a.m.


I have found the same thing too, although none of the Indian nationals that I have spoken with think that I'm not capable of learning to play the music of India or it's instruments. Most don't really know the difference between a sitar and a sarod. I guess if we're not allowed to pursue the classical music of India then someone like Yo Yo Ma shouldn't be allowed to explore western classical music. Furthermore, what is a sarod player doing in this country with that attitude?
Stephen L. Bradley
Russ
Re:Sitar Teacher Search Jun 11, 2002 01:18 p.m.


Hey Stephen;
Why in this country? Getting an advanced degree, perhaps one not available in India. Unfortunately, the attitude(baggage)comes with him. But I think this is getting way off topic? I don't want to start a flame war here!
Lars
Re:Sitar Teacher Search Jun 12, 2002 12:21 a.m.


Nice comments Mash..........this music belongs to everyone and is endless. That's why it appeals to a lot of us I think. Also a spiritual thing for me, music got much more fun when it was no longer goal oriented.......you know, gotta get a CD out, etc. blah blah.
It's all about sitting in your practice and along comes "THAT NOTE" you know?
My experience with Indian musicians in general has been really positive. Have heard a few refer to some western players that were quite good as 'just OK'.....but haven't run into sarod players with attitude yet......heh heh.
Hey, Russ........perhaps he's just insecure you know? Or arrogant.
Also could be jealous because as you know it takes 3 lifetimes to become a good player and you must have already been one sometime in the past?

And as for the race thing if it ever comes up you could remind him that India was the original 'melting pot' long before anyone ever came over here and that includes people from our 'tribe' as well as persians, turks, etc.

Kind of reminds me of Miles Davis and his attitude about white players in jazz....and then he went and hired Chick Corea.......hmmmmmmmmm?!?

Nothing new under the sun...........

mash2
Re:Sitar Teacher Search Jun 12, 2002 03:05 a.m.


Hi russ and Lars and everyone else out there who shares our commitment..it is very often said that Hinduism is not a religion, but a way of life..i believe in this completely..a small part of Hinduism is the gift of ICM..people don't often realise that Icm has developed over many years and has taken influence from the many cultures that had invaded India since time immemorial..it seems that each culture has left a mark on ICM..Traditionally, ICM was developed from Folk Music etc..however, in this respect people forget that ICM is just music..and nothing more..at least at grass roots level..You DO NOT have to be born an Indian to become a great ICM artist..the music is already within you..the artist is waiting to come out..you decide what form you express this music out..it could be the piano, violin or sitar or sarod.Music is the only constant here, and it is a shame that people descriminate against anyone who does "NOT BELONG"!..If you look at the real greats, Ie Ravi, or Nikhil Banerjee, I'm sure that they'll agree..Music is beyond the boundaries of skin colour and, caste and culture..It is above the limits of human understanding and part of the Divine..How can we, mere mortals, even begin to speculate its true nature..All I know is that music and especially for me ICM has made me a better person, a better Father and Husband and has often brought me close to the Divinity that lies within the depths of each one of us!1 Therefore, go forth and play you sitar, sarod, violinn or piano..follow the true musicians and look only to them..mash..
Stephen
Re:Sitar Teacher Search Jun 12, 2002 09:56 a.m.



Russ (Jun 11, 2002 01:18 p.m.):
Hey Stephen;
Why in this country? Getting an advanced degree, perhaps one not available in India. Unfortunately, the attitude(baggage)comes with him. But I think this is getting way off topic? I don't want to start a flame war here!

Sorry if I sounded like I was flaming. I don't want to do that. It goes both ways, many (most) westerners don't know anything about western classical music either. I do feel that if one is in a country other than their own, they sould consider themselves a diplomat from that country, willing to aid anyone with an interest in that culture. I'd like to extend an invitation to the sarod player to come to the Bluegrass Jam at the Lighthouse in Louisville, KY if he'd like to get a feel for our local music. All of these guys will readily admit that anyone can pick, just gotta come on down.


Stephen L. Bradley
Russ
Re:Sitar Teacher Search Jun 12, 2002 10:19 a.m.


Hi Mash;
I think you are right on the mark! There's no need to add to what you've said. I like your point of view.
Hi Lars;
My overall experience with Indian musicians is also quite postive. Once I showed an interest and a little bit of knowledge, I was quickly taken into "the fold", especially when I was in Austin. Felt right at home! But a number of students here have told me that the younger generation of Indians really don't care about ICM or their own culture in general. So, this could be a generational issue. Previous lives? Hmmmm....hadn't thought about that one. Who knows....
Russ
Re:Sitar Teacher Search Jun 12, 2002 11:20 a.m.


Hey Stephen;
No, I didn't mean you were flaming. I just mean I don't want to "polarize" people on this issue. Not worth it! I doubt this guy would go. He's graduating soon and probably be gone anyway. Bluegrass huh? I'm a bit of a bluegrass picker myself from way back. Lived in Georgia many years and jammed on guitar with a bunch of "local boys" who could play like nobody's business! Ahh...I do miss those days!
K.K.
Re:Sitar Teacher Search Jun 12, 2002 05:40 p.m.


Hello Friends:
I�ve been enjoying your posts very much. You guys have said it all very eloquently. I have something I�d like to add, regarding Russ� statement:
�Unfortunately, I am locally experiencing a reverse form of racism. I know of a local classical sarod player, a university international student, who will not even speak to me as he believes a "white boy" from the west can not ever play or really appreciate ICM. That hurts. So, I guess it cuts both ways.�
In my (limited) experience dealing with musicians/artists, I�ve found that most attitudes or prejudices, whether it has to do with race, culture, level of musicianship, or whatever, stem from their own insecurity(s).
Last month I went to a recital of one of Pt. Ravi Shankar�s disciple�s, Kartik Seshadri. Kartik is a visiting professor at the University of San Diego. After the concert I had the pleasure of talking with an up-&-coming sitar player who was there with her family. (I won�t mention any names, but you can check out her website at: www.anoushkashankar.com) Anyway�..she was completely down to earth, absolutely no ego at all. When I mentioned that I, (a �white boy from the west� as Russ puts it) was learning the sitar, she was enthusiastic and supportive. Quite the opposite of Russ� university international student�s behavior I might say.
A week later, at a �home concert� put on by the Center for World Music, featuring another of Pt. Shakar�s disciples, Gaurav Mazumdar, I sat with Kartik and discussed the possibility of attending his classes at the University. I mentioned that if I (a �white boy from the west�) were 40 years younger, I would move to Calcutta and search for a sitar guru. He said, �Hey, it�s NEVER too late to learn.�
In the end, The Music doesn�t care what color you are, where you come from, or how �good� you are. In Nikhil Banerjee�s interview (downloadable at Peter�s website) he quotes an old Indian saying:
�I cannot touch or see Him, but my music touches his feet.�
Russ
Re:Sitar Teacher Search Jun 12, 2002 06:24 p.m.


Thanks KK. I would imagine you're right.
I don't know, I'm hoping its just a local thing here, this negative bias I sense. In any case, I know what I'm capable of and I know my limits too. I have heard many times that Anoushka is "just folks". No arrogance there. Hey, I met Kartik Seshadri and talked a bit with him backstage at a recital of his 4 years ago, here in New Mexico. He does his guru proud!
Stephen
Re:Sitar Teacher Search Jun 13, 2002 09:35 a.m.


Jeeeez, I'm glad we're moving on. I agree that Kartick is a fine diciple of Pandit Shankar. I had the opportunity to see his show at University of Kentucky last year and was impressed. The CD that we purchased at the show is even more impressive. And a big ditto on the "up-and-coming sitar player". I met her (and the rest of her family minus Nora Jones) after her performance with Dad in Chicago last Thanksgiving. What a way to learn the sitar, to have your guru place the instrument in your hands for the very first time. No time was wasted "unlearning" all of the bad habits that I'm sure some of us without guru teach ourselves. It shows that she is under the tuition of one of the masters.
Stephen L. Bradley
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