INDIAN MUSIC FORUM ARCHIVES: Sitar Forum: Instructor in DFW area

 

Author Message
Billy
Instructor in DFW area Aug 18, 2003 03:47 p.m.


I hadn't really been looking hard for an instructor in the Fort Worth area until now, since I didn't want to even think about getting serious until I had a decent sitar. As soon as I ordered a sitar, I started asking around. I got three recommendations for the same teacher: Vatsal Dave. Does anyone know him? One person told me that he's the "only teacher" as well as the "finest artist on the sitar" in the Southern US. Quite a glowing statement, and perhaps debatable.

Those of you who know about my health (or lack thereof), do you think he would work out for me, or perhaps he's too much a task-master?


Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
Jeff
Re:Instructor in DFW area Aug 18, 2003 06:14 p.m.


Hey Bill,
Just go for it, you'll never know until you try 'em out.
Did you get the Srishti yet?
Billy
Re:Instructor in DFW area Aug 18, 2003 08:10 p.m.



Jeff (Aug 18, 2003 06:14 p.m.):
Hey Bill,
Just go for it, you'll never know until you try 'em out.
Did you get the Srishti yet?

Well, it was supposed to ship out today, so hopefully by the end of the week.

Billy with a Y

(I might mention that "Bill" is a deminitive of "William". Sometimes "Billy" is too. However, my given name isn't William, it's Billy. Its a family name with a history. So I prefer to go by my given name. Nothing Earth-shattering if someone doesn't understand that, its just the way I like it.)


Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
Jeff
Re:Instructor in DFW area Aug 18, 2003 09:53 p.m.


OK,,,,,,,,, Billy.
Jan
Re:Instructor in DFW area Aug 19, 2003 04:23 a.m.



Billy (Aug 18, 2003 08:10 p.m.):
Its a family name with a history.


The Kid?

Danimal
Re:Instructor in DFW area Aug 19, 2003 08:14 a.m.


Billy,

I get a similar reaction from when I try to get a Driver's License, Passport, etc... My name is Dan, just Dan, not Daniel. Whenever someone asks for my full name, I tell them and they say, you mean Daniel, don't you? Then the birth cert. comes out, I have to explain that my Dad liked the name Dan but not Daniel......happens all the time.

Dan

Billy
Re:Instructor in DFW area Aug 19, 2003 09:14 a.m.



Danimal (Aug 19, 2003 08:14 a.m.):
I get a similar reaction from when I try to get a Driver's License, Passport, etc... My name is Dan, just Dan, not Daniel. Dan

Yeah, me too. They always want to make me William. I was in the Army ten years, and countless forms and documents would come to me as William. They even lost a nearly $10,000 bonus payment once that they tried to send to a William Godfrey's bank account instead of mine; took me weeks to get that straightened out!. Of course things were'nt as computerized then as they were by the time I got out. Ever since then, I guess I got a bit of a chip on my shoulder, and always make sure people get my name right. Its not something I'm going to lose sleep over, just a little pet peeve.
Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
Amitava
Re:Instructor in DFW area Aug 19, 2003 10:06 a.m.


Sorry for not being online for a while...it has been busy...and will get busier.

I know Vatsal personally - very superficially. A nice guy. I have not had the opportunity to hear him. I know he teaches a handful of students. He is partial to the Imdadkhani school and is currently a follower of Buddhaditya Mukherjee.

There is also a showcase of non-professionals that his org ICMC/DFW is organizing in Sept. You may get to hear a student of his..or him.

A person by the name of Curtis (from DFW) is going to visit Indrajit in College Station the 1st weekend in Sept. You may also consider that.

A

Billy
Re:Instructor in DFW area Aug 19, 2003 12:26 p.m.


Amitava,

Thanks for writing. Actually, I was thinkingof you when I left the message, I figured you would know who Vatsal was.

Interestingly, I don't know if he knows me, but I pretty much know who he is. He used to work where I work (at the time, Sabre), and some of the people I work with worked with him. I don't recall if we ever worked directly. I talked with one friend here who knows him and recommends him highly.

I am a bit leary of attempting one of those weekend "crash-courses", though I imagine it would be a great start for anyone, especially studying under someone like Injirit, who I've heard a lot about. With a recent heart-attack on top of my previous physical problems, I just don't know if I should attempt anything like this.

Only a few years ago, I would have jumped at the opportunity, and in fact, have taken such courses in other endeavors. I learned Mountain Dulcimer at a five day, six hours-a-day folk camp (of course the dulcimer is a much simpler and easier instrument.)

These days, my young age is catching up with me, and I need to take things a bit slower.

I'm aware of the upcoming concerts at the ICMC, and hope to fit them in. Those, along with the the upcoming Ravi/Anoushka concert should make for an entertaining and educational Fall. I'll try to get to as much as I can.


Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
Billy
Re:Instructor in DFW area Sep 03, 2003 12:53 a.m.



Amitava (Aug 19, 2003 10:06 a.m.):He is partial to the Imdadkhani school and is currently a follower of Buddhaditya Mukherjee.

I got a CD in the mail that I bought off of eBay, it was a "various artists" type of CD called "Sitar After Sundown". It had Buddhaditya Mukherjee playing "Bahar/Gat Vilambit/Gat Drut (Teen Taal)". As far as I know, this was the first time I've heard him playing; my sweet Lord it was good! It was quite different, very dynamic, a style that I'm not sure I've heard before. If Vatsal is a "follower" of Mukherjee, I truly hope I can study with him.

We've already corresponded, and he wants me to come over to his place just to discuss lessons, but I'm really wanting to get my left fingers in condition first. I don't want to start lessons until I can practice long enough daily. His lessons aren't cheap, or at least, its a lot of money to me, and I want to get my money's worth. So I'm working on the sitar daily, just playing up and down the neck, doing meends, with one and two fingers, just really pushing getting calluses. Meanwhile I'm shuffling things around so that hopefully I can fit lessons in my budget. So between my fingers and money, it may take me a while until I can start lessons, but it will be fantastic if it does work out!!!

Meanwhile, I'm going to find some CD's from Mukherjee!!


Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
Russ
Re:Instructor in DFW area Sep 03, 2003 12:32 p.m.


Billy, if I can jump in for a sec...
Buddhaditya is a master of running phrases (taans) which is a defining characteristic of his music. Its a very different form than the alap/jor/jhalla/gat that most of us are used to. His followers practice in the same style.

I had a heart attack not that long ago myself. Kicks the wind out of you, but don't let it mess up your life. I was told to get off my butt, or I would end up staying on it. So I got up, and got back into my first love which was sitar. My back is also bad, but I can sit in position for at least an hour. Maybe for folks like us, that is sufficient. Don't miss a good opportunity when it presents itself. I have missed far too many in my life, and I regret each and every one of them as they will never be back!

So, just a few words of encouragement. If you have a good local teacher, go for it if you can. I'm not so lucky. Indrajit's lessons is a once a year opportunity for me, and a two day drive from here. But I'm heading out for College Station this weekend anyway.

Billy
Re:Instructor in DFW area Sep 03, 2003 01:12 p.m.



Russ (Sep 03, 2003 12:32 p.m.):
So, just a few words of encouragement..

I appreciate it. I already had other health problems even before the heart attack, and ample opportunity to just throw up my hands and wither away. But I've taken quite the opposite approach. I am always seeking new things to do, even when they seem difficult or impossible. I may have to do them differently to accomodate my physical problems, but I plow right in. And if I fail, I shrug my shoulders and move on to something else.

I already realize how hard it will be to learn the sitar, especially since I have problems with pain. But so far, I'm hanging in there. Right now I'm only spending about 30 minutes a day just do scales and meends up and down the neck, trying to build up calluses and tolerance, as well as strength in my fingers. I think I'm doing quite well! It hurts like heck, but I'm getting there!


Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
Russ
Re:Instructor in DFW area Sep 03, 2003 01:59 p.m.


Know how you feel. I haven't picked it up for a while, and have got back into it lately to put some callouses on my fingers before next weeks's lessons. I have blisters on both fingers right now, had to open and drain them last night. Owwwww! But I forge on as they will eventually callous over. Hey, the scales is where you start anyway.
K.K.
Re:Instructor in DFW area Sep 03, 2003 06:10 p.m.


Billy: I understand your wanting to develop some calluses, endurance, etc. before you start taking lessons. One thing to consider though is that you are most likely developing some "not-so-good" technique at the same time. There�s no way of knowing this until you get with a qualified teacher. I would recommend taking one or two lessons immediately. This way you will not only find out if you like the teacher, but he will no doubt point out any bad habits you might be developing. Then you could work out a schedule that suits you.
Matt
Re:Instructor in DFW area Sep 03, 2003 06:39 p.m.


Excellent point, K.K. At my first lesson, my teacher immediately corrected several things, including my posture and the way I was attacking the strings.
Billy
Re:Instructor in DFW area Sep 03, 2003 08:10 p.m.



K.K. (Sep 03, 2003 06:10 p.m.):
One thing to consider though is that you are most likely developing some "not-so-good" technique at the same time. There�s no way of knowing this until you get with a qualified teacher.

I agree, that's a very good point! Thanks for the advice. I honestly don't know if I'll be able to swing it or not, but if I can, I will!


Namaste',
Billy Enigmar Godfrey
Amitava
Re:Instructor in DFW area Sep 03, 2003 09:20 p.m.


Billy. KK's point should be taken seriously - as you are considering. Take a vid tape recorder and record vatsal's (and is possible your) movements. Once lesson - just to hold the instrument properly and fingering/stroking is enough. Practice in front of a mirror (with tape) to correct yourself. it is the most effective way to use your $. You can go back for more lessons later. Vatsal should understand.

A

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